This new 3D printing tool from three Californian engineers could be a potential game changer for those looking to create hardware prototypes. While, generally speaking, 3D printing allows users to create objects in layers of a single passive material, such as ABS or PLA, the Rabbit Proto add-on takes things to the next level.
This open source print head plugs directly into your 3D printer and allows you to create prototypes with conductive and capacitive features in a single print operation. A 10cc syringe-like extruder places circuits inside plastic objects, meaning interactive items can be fired off with much improved ease, speed and flexibility.
The process is simple. Say, for example, you want to print a plastic object with a conductive pattern inside. The printer will create the first half of the plastic enclosure then print the conductive element before closing off the object with the rest of casino spiele the plastic. You don’t need to break off printing midway or tinker with production after you push ‘print’ – the Rabbit Proto will take care of all that for you.
Below you can see the Rabbit Proto in action, creating a working games controller.
It also allows you to print directly onto uneven surfaces, giving the CAD designer a whole new level of versatility. The Rabbit Proto was tested on a Rostock Max and a Mendel Prus V2 and should work on any RepRap printer that has a dual extrusion board. It can print in conductive material and bare conductive ink, which prints capacitive touch sensors. Tests were also done with silver filled silicon RTV, which is also conductive but far, far more costly.
The guys over at Rabbit Proto also point out that it’s not just handy for circuits and plastic, as exhibited in the video below, where they create a chocolate and peanut butter treat.
Do you want to add a Rabbit Proto to your additive manufacturing tool-kit? A basic model can be pre-ordered from the website for a mere $350 (that’s about £210), while the Super Rabbit version, which comes with a 1.75mm filament extruder and a syringe extruder, can be snapped up for $450 (£270). Both come with an estimated July 1st delivery date.
Perhaps you’d prefer your very own fully assembled 3D printer fitted out with its own Rabbit Proto? You can order one of those for a very fair $2,499 (£1,487). Meanwhile, the project source code, documentation and example designs can all be found over at GitHub.