It’s often the case that we set out to inspire our kids, teach them, and encourage them to do things in the world, but when we give them the tools to work independently, they end up turning the tables and inspiring the older generations with new ideas that can be very surprising, and even startling with innovation and relevance. Kids’ brains are still new, much more open, and not yet quite so worried about what an academic or peer set will think of a ‘crazy new idea’ for something that just might work — or change the world altogether. It’s during this time of intellectual malleability that we want to give them the best tools possible — as well as to everybody else. If the whole community can share and work together in learning, even better.
With the open-source Bolt 3D printer, Edu3D.org wants to give communities and schools a more self-reliant way to attain amazing new tools and propel innovation further. They aim to spread the word about and offer the gift of 3D printing technology with a 3D printer that can be easily constructed, and shared by and with everyone — while offering high quality 3D printing with a good support mechanism in place.
As strong proponents of an open-source community, inspired by RepRap, Edu3D.org wants to take complexity and price down a notch with a more adaptable and affordable 3D printer that can more realistically be easily distributed to schools and communities. Edu3D.org realizes this requires organization — and a good product. They offer an open-source product — in allowing everyone to customize and tweak a product that works for them, but the main focus in ‘sharing’ is that they ask that everyone print out a complete extra set of parts and share them with someone else. They offer support to everyone who builds the Bolt, and offer complete kits and assembly instructions to the public.
Edu3D.org is enouraging the public to take strides with new technology by way of a massive team effort. With their Bolt 3D printer, they have every intention of starting an innovation revolution, beginning with their Indiegogo campaign to raise $15,000 by Christmas. With the funds, they plan to be working toward educating and giving affordable 3D printers to schools and libraries, as well as communities, getting everyone involved in the process. The process encourages everyone to make use of the open-source platform to build out their own Bolt 3D printers, share them, and begin to spread the technology far and wide. Edu3D.org also hopes to use the extra capital to get better prices on components and thus lower the price on the already affordable printer, making it even more accessible.
Rewards for those who pledge to the campaign include a variety of parts for their MK1 Bolt as well as the MK2. Those who pledge at the higher levels have the opportunity to receive entire kits for building the 3D printers themselves.
Edu3D.org is well aware they need to be producing something unique to make an impact, as well as garner any attention at all for the project and the Indiegogo campaign. It would appear they have met that goal with a 3D printer that can propagate itself over and over, and evolve into something better as well, as users make improvements and customizations.
The Bolt is also a 3D printer that can be driven by either a belt or lead screw across the X and Y axes, and can support CNC milling operations due to the option of print head removal for the attachment of a Dremel or light to medium duty spindle. The design features a build area of 6x6x6 inches, which can be increased with replacing the bed and use of longer rods.
While it’s important for the adults to have the best working tools available, when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education, we need to set the kids up, working as a whole with today’s inventors, as well as tomorrow’s. It’s also important to teach kids, and everyone, that often it’s not about waiting to get something — you can put your brain to work to find a way to make something and share with the world — working as a catalyst for change.
Would you consider building out one of Edu3D.org’s Bolt 3D printers with an extra set for a friend? What do you think of this idea, and what are the implications of an idea like this for the future of technology and manufacturing? Share your thoughts with us in the Edu3D.org Bold 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.