The Third Way: A ‘Snap Together’ 3D Printer

On one side of the home 3D printer spectrum are self-assembly from the RepRap and Fab@Home projects, on the other are the MakerBot, Ultimaker and kin’s range of pre-assembled commercial printers. Putting a self-assembly 3D printer together is possibly not something most people will do outside of education: it’s not easy. Finding a third way, where the cost and learning benefits of self-assembly take a step towards the plug-and-play ideal of pre-assembled printers could be a breakthrough. Possibly fulfilled by Snap 3D. Let’s take a closer look.

The printer’s looks are dictated by its key innovative trait: no fasteners are needed. Assembling a RepRap is a process awash with washers and nutty for nuts, something that is a fantastic learning experience but a headache for those not interested in, or able to put some time into learning the skills required.

Let’s not overlook that the main interest by the political establishment in home 3D printing is just that very notion, that making skills are manufacturing skills, and manufacturing is at a deficit in many service-based and information-based economies. Whilst a MakerBot in every school in the US is a wonderful aim with many benefits, it’s not going to teach the skill set that a self-assembly printer could. The snap-together design by Snap3D thus has pertinence beyond mere convenience.

The significance explained, onto the printer.

Snap3D has a wonderful looking 3D printer. Whilst the amazing machines that were the first RepRap printers looked a little like an electronic Frankenstein to many (although personally I think they look great), Snap 3D has created a form that resembles pretty much what the generic stereotype for a home 3D printer now is: a tidy cuboid frame with internals open for the world to see. … (Read more)

Snap 3D Printers


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