BY BRANDON DOYLE & NATALIE RUBINO
FEB. 13, 2012
ITHACA, NY- Hod Lipson, director of Cornell University‘s Creative Mechanics Lab, is giving the final touches to Model 3 Fab at Home a 3D printer that will cost around $1,000. Professor Lipson began developing the first 3D printer in 2001. Jeffrey Lipton, a PhD. student, helped develop the newest model.
“One day the story goes, that you’ll walk into a hospital completely healthy and get a back up copy of yourself made. They’ll take samples of your cells and a blueprint copy of what you should look like internally. Then, when you get injured they’ll just print back the missing parts,” Lipton said.
According to Lipton, in 2001, former graduate student Evan Malone created the first 3D printer, which cost over $30,000 to build.
“Evan and Hod came up with the idea to create a cheaper machine that undergrads would be comfortable using. So they created Fab at Home 1, which won the popular mechanical break through award, and cost around $3,000 when it came out in 2007,” said Lipton. “The Fab at Home 2 printer was designed and created entirely by undergrads and master students,” he added.
[Click hereto view a
slideshow of Hod Lipson’s engineering lab.]
Lipton has worked in the lab with professor Lipson for four years.
“I was working in the particle accelerator and I thought that was the coolest job on campus. Then one of my fraternity brothers said, ‘hey come work with me in Hod’s lab, its like a toy shop.’ So I came in one day and said that’s it, I have to work here, and I’ve been here ever since,” said Lipton.
Professor Lipson chose not to patent the 3D printer in 2001 and has put the blueprints for all his models online. According to the professor, the release of Model 3 will help 3D printing become commercial.
“You are already seeing plastic printers out there that people could buy which is nice, but no one has really found the right application for it,” said Lipton. “We think printing food and living tissue will be the two killer applications of the 3D printer.”
Another one of professor Lipson’s projects is to create Fab at School, a program that will help elementary students with science and math. He is pursuing it with the University of Virginia. Lipton hopes the newest 3D printer will inspire children to perform well in math and sciences.
“If you look at how computers were used in the classroom, it was poorly. They were such a waste for so many years and we wanted to avoid that with 3D printing. So we’re working with people at UVA to figure what will make 3D printing viable to both the students and the teachers,” he added.