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Roll your own…anything

I subscribe to 2 Google alerts: “prime numbers” and “slime mold“. Both are hobbies of mine. When this gem came in, I realized that slime mold is more than a hobby…it’s how I learn about the coolest stuff out there.

Science Daily reports on the Open-source Replicator: a home-built 3-D printer that could launch a revolution. Want an iPod? Imagine being able to buy the files from Apple, download ‘em and fab your own at home with the Fab@Home DIY maker. Brings a whole new meaning to online commerce.

How does it work?

“A 3-D printer has a small nozzle that scans back and forth across a surface, depositing tiny droplets of quick-hardening plastic. After each scan, the nozzle moves up a notch and scans again until it has built up the complete object, layer by layer. With multiple nozzles or a means of swapping supply cartridges, the machine can create objects made of many different materials.”

A few are up and running and being used for important purposes… like making cake decorations and chocolate sculptures. (oh, and a fully working battery, complete with case.)

The link to slime mold? Biologists at Rockefeller University are using the Fab@Home to deposit slime mold cells to see how distribution influences their ability to form colonies.

Awesome.

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