Mario Pirrello, a senior Mechanical Engineering student at West Virginia University, is leading the charge for a new concept in 3D printing’s accessibility. Pirrello, who says he has helped run 3D printer labs at colleges and built many of his own, admits that he loves the technology.
3D printers, at least right now, just can’t do it all. Therefore, with a 10-person team, Pirrello has launched a Kickstarter campaign for what he has dubbed the 3D Print n Pack.
Intended for both brand new and experienced 3D printer users, the idea behind the 3D Print n Pack is simple: Pirrello’s team will supply “everything the printer can’t print.” Using your own 3D printer, you print out what you can for a project, and receive the rest in the mail. More than just a parts supplier, though, 3D Print n Pack “is about the whole project.”
Involved from the start to the finish, 3D Print n Pack offers not just electronics or engine parts, but also instructions and .STL files for your printer to read.
“We will supply you with the plans and instructions right after ordering your project. It will include the .STL files and a .PDF with step by step instructions. As you print we ship. We Packing and send the parts you need to finish the job. After it arrives simply follow the rest of the instructions and assemble. We take the headache out of 3D printing by giving you a simple way to get everything you need to know and have, with out going from to shop to shop, paying for shipping and parts that may or may not work with the parts you’ve already purchased. We give the beginner or experienced 3D printer the ability to print and make complex projects with ease,” says the description.
The process is, at a glance, pretty straightforward.
First, select your project. For now, 3D Print n Pack offers five project selections, ranging from the relatively simple to the fairly complex. Through the Kickstarter campaign, you can order the plans (and parts!) for one of these projects:
- Bottle opener
- Google cardboard headset
- Computer head tracker
- 3D printer
There is, clearly, a pretty wide range in these projects. While the necessary part for the bottle opener to be completed is only a metal opener tool, the quadcopter (in one of two configuration options) requires a battery, propeller, motors, and much more.
Second, choose your print bed size. Any project can be completed on your personal 3D printer, so long as it has at least a 4″ bed; bed sizes to choose from for the projects are 4″, 6″, or 8″. Choosing the right bed size is critical to the best configuration.
Third, start printing your parts! You’ll receive the .STL files and PDF with instructions pretty instantly, so you can begin when you’re ready. The intent behind this process is that by the time the parts arrive from 3D Print n Pack, you’ll have the printed pieces ready to assmble.
Fourth, put it all together. Follow the step-by-step directions to combine your 3D printed parts with the provided components. 3D Print n Pack makes its members available via email or forum discussion for any questions that might arise. Pirrello notes that the Kickstarter funds will help with ordering parts on a large scale, thus keeping overall costs low. The aim is to be competitively priced, and in fact being less expensive than the competition where possible. The campaign is running through December 22, 2014.
“I saw what was holding back the average 3D printer owner from making some really cool projects. My team and I are invested in making the process of making these harder builds easier for the average user,” stated Pirrello.
Though there are a few typos throughout the Kickstarter page, it seems clear that the team behind the 3D Print n Pack concept are dedicated to seeing their project through — and what a project! It’s not just every day you can print up a working quadcopter in your work area. With their parts and assembly instructions, you can customize your quadcopter’s design to meet your specifications. What do you think about this campaign? Have you backed it? Let us know in the 3D Print n Pack forum thread on 3DPB.com.