Low-cost 3D printers have empowered individuals to create customized printed parts, but they have yet to be as user friendly as a vending machine. The purpose of this research project is to develop an autonomous, low-cost, 3D printing "Vending Machine" that would increase access to this technology. This research with 15 students is divided into two teams. One team is responsible for the design concepts required of an additive manufacturing vending machine and the other team is responsible for printing and prototyping the parts using a low-cost 3D printer. The teams have produced printed objects from original designs using kits they built, implemented basic communications, developed design concepts for the vending machine and training strategies to increase access. This multi-disciplinary research provides educational opportunities for students to pursue their interests in the emerging field of additive manufacturing emerging field of additive manufacturing and it addresses critical challenges in wide-spread implementation of this technology across campus."
Russell, C.; Beck, C.; Coroneos, S.; and Schweisinger, T., "The development and application of autonomous, low-cost, 3D printers" (2014). Focus on Creative Inquiry. 59.