A Mechanical 3D Printer


3D printers, many would argue, are in the process of revolutionizing how things are made. The ability to download a file, and simply print out the object at your house or place of work is certainly convenient, but some, like Daniel, would question whether or not you can claim “ownership” of the final product.

His solution to this dilemma was to build an entirely mechanical 3D printer. It’s powered by a 15 kilogram weight, and is controlled by a series of gears and chains with a bent rod as the “program.” Daniel is intimately connected with his print both by “programming” the device, and lifting the potential energy power supply several times to complete the creation.

As you can see from the video below, his printer is a bit more limited than a modern model you would buy off the shelf. It seems to only be able to produce rotary creations, at least for the time being.

That’s not to say it’s not awesome. The printer itself is a work of art, and, given it’s rotary nature, could even be described as some sort of automatic potter’s wheel. The base spins as it’s lowered down, allowing for the printing medium to squeeze out onto the table layer after layer. I’m almost tempted to search and see if Leonardo da Vinci came up with something similar.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook