Yes, it sounds like the opening pages of a techno-thriller where everything winds up going horribly wrong, but there’s something undeniably awesome about the idea of a 3D printer that can print other 3D printers. That’s the concept behind Dollo3D: a new Kickstarter project aimed at producing an affordable, modular 3D printer which uses fewer off-the-shelf components (and a higher percentage of 3D-printed components) than most other DIY printer projects, such as those under the RepRap umbrella.
“As far as we are aware, Dollo3D is the first scalable self replicating machine,” says Ben Engel, half of the father-son engineering team behind the project. “When you get a Dollo3D, you can print your own upgrade parts which allow you to print larger 3D prints.”
While both Engels are deeply immersed in the engineering and tech world, building the Dollo3D should be an approachable prospect for makers of all skill levels. That’s because it snaps together with all the ease of a LEGO model, requiring just 15 3D printed parts and 24 screws — with an approximate “build time” of just one hour.
To Dollo3D’s creators, 3D printing is the perfect bedfellow for a platform like Kickstarter. “One of the most revolutionary ideas of self replication is how manufacturing can be bootstrapped and allow very quick delivery of products,” Ben continues. “We think that this is a great approach for crowdfunded manufacturing. We will be using the product to manufacture more product. Since there is a geometric growth to the manufacturing capabilities, we can generate manufacturing volume, while testing and delivering products to backers in a very short time.”
Speaking of short time periods, the project currently has 26 days left to raise its stated $50,000 goal. Kits start at $250 for an electronics-only kit, while a fully-assembled version will set you back $500. If Dollo3D sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can head over to Kickstarter to find out more!