Thiruvananthapuram: A group of girls has come up with their version of an open source RepRap 3D printer from scratches as a part of their final year B.Tech project. Ammu Prakash, Chithira M.G., Darsana A.S, and Gayathri Prasad J.S., all eighth semester students of electronics and communications students at the city-based Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Technology for Women (LBSITW), developed the device with the help of Breakthrough Labs, Kesavadasapuram, a local hackerspace, under the guidance of assistant professor Sivaprasad R.S.
Principal K. C. Raveendranathan said the open source printers are "far from perfect," and collaborators around the globe tweak the designs constantly. "Handling of larger sized prints has always been a challenge due to various reasons ranging from uneven heating to sub-par quality of printing materials causing warping of prints," he said.
"These students have tried to tackle the same with a unique heated enclosure for the print area with automatic temperature control which has produced much better results." The team claimed that they were able to address some of the critical yet overlooked problems of 3D printing.
They assert that these changes have increased approachability for starters. They envisaged an enormous growth potential in the 3D printing industry in the coming years, especially in small and medium industries. These printers will not be a replacement for traditional manufacturing processes but will act as a method for rapid prototyping which can significantly shorten the development lifecycle.
The team added their own custom modifications making it more reliable, robust and in the process, they have reduced the amount of tweaking and calibrations needed for its operation. They have added an automatic bed levelling feature which automates one of the most cumbersome parts of 3D printing. Their design involves an aluminium print bed for a more even heating surface....