Frustrated by the lack of access to 3D printers at their school, three recent graduates from UC Berkeley have installed Dreambox, the world’s first “3D-printing vending machine,” on their campus. Dreambox gives everyone access to the 3D printer for a small fee, allowing them to print objects from their own designs or from an online store. The creators hope that it will help democratize 3D printing and help more people realize the technology’s potential.
Dreambox CEO Pavid Pastewka told CNet that only grad students, researchers and PHD students have access to the few 3D printers at UC Berkeley, and sometimes they would have to wait more than a month to use one. Dreambox not only gives everyone on campus access to a 3D printer, but they only have to wait about 24 hours to pick up their object.
After registering with Dreambox, users can either upload their own design or print something from the Dreambox store. Popular objects include figurines from video games and TV shows. Prints tend to cost $15 or less, and users can pay with PayPal. Within 24 hours, users will receive an email with a code that they enter into Dreambox to unlock a drawer and pick up their object.
Dreambox only prints small objects — nothing larger than a loaf of bread — with plastics. It can actually get most prints done in less than an hour, but a steady stream of orders has led to the 24-hour wait time.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!