Dreambox: A 3D printing vending machine

Could a vending machine model improve 3D printing accessibility?

While some researchers are looking to bring 3D printing to the masses with milk jugs , one company is looking to another common fixture in our everyday lives: vending machines.

That's right, 3D printing on demand.

Dreambox, the company behind the product (of the same name), says it came up with the product idea while at the University of California-Berkeley where they were running into problems with inaccessible 3D printing and slow turnaround time from online 3D printing services. The hope with the vending machine model is that everyone has convenient, affordable access to 3D printing.

"Having an item 3D printed with a Dreambox is as simple as uploading or choosing a design online, clicking the “Print” button and retrieving the item once it’s ready," the company says. Ordering your printed designs can be done online or designs can be unloaded using a USB stick at the machine.

The theory, of course, is that making it easy and accessible to 3D print custom designs would be a boon to innovation. As the company puts it: "3D printing will enable every human on this planet to design, customize, and create products to solve problems - from the slightest household annoyance to global issues."

The first 3D printing vending machine will be on the UC-Berkeley campus, but the company hopes to place its "hyper-local automated manufacturing facilities" throughout the United States. Take a look:

And here you can watch the Dreambox printing its orders.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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