3D Printers or Fabricators are on the border of wide distribution at the moment, a system that allows for the precise construction of more or less arbitrary three dimensional objects point by point. The possibilities of these systems are only now beginning to be explored.
Together with Christian Haas and Christian Müller we started to get seriously involved with Rapid Prototyping. Based on RepRap (Replicating Rapid Prototyping) Mendel we started in April designing our own 3D-Printer. In June already we are celebrating our first "proper" print-outs. And the next step will be the production of a 3d milling machine, which again is capable to produce parts which are needed for the 3D Printer to rebuild itself.
We already have and will most certainly find many boundaries where our frustrations will become apparent (strength of materials, accuracy of construction). Still, we are convinced we need to access these tools and experience in order to utilise these systems. In particular we are interested in the possibilities of unusual structures, such as the flexible textiles built from small interlocked parts that we have encountered; we are also interested in the merging of traditional hand-crafted and machined parts, mass produced parts and the possibilities of custom built parts from the fabricator that merge these effectively.