Before there was a Nova Labs there existed an ache, a yearning in the hearts of several eventual-founders to build a 3D printer. Undertaking the effort individually was likely to result in frustration over a long period of angst and eventual abandonment of the project. That was the outcome we could foresee of going it alone; that was result we wanted to plan to avoid.
For a variety of reasons we decided that the answer was to build printers with others. As believers in makerspace values we knew that a collaborative and supportive community would help guard against failure. Furthermore, by choosing an open hardware design we could get lots of help from the extended community and that by synchronizing our buying we could reduce costs. Also, by getting into a rhythm of regular meetings we could push each other forward toward the finish line and make friends in the process. In theory, a win all around.
Build group #1 was a rag tag effort which predated but continued within Nova Labs. As interest swelled in both 3D printers and in our makerspace, enthusiasm grew in starting another class so build group #2 was started. The second effort was particularly useful in bringing discipline to the process. Since then enthusiasm hasn’t ebbed. These efforts have proven to be beneficial for all concerned. More than 20 printers have been started and are in various stages of completion. Time for build group #3? Apparently!
The core idea of the RepRap 3D printer initiative is that people should be able to cheaply build their own printers using plastic parts made from other 3D printers and buying parts that are readily sourced (nuts, bolts, rods, etc.). As an established group we have working printers which we can tap to produce “plastics” for new build groups. As an established group we have the sourcing experience, the process discipline and building knowhow to crank start the build group machinery and move another class through the process. After a new group is formed, the next steps are buying supplies and building kits.
Tonight was all about building kits from purchased parts and printed plastics.