3D printer and other creative projects on display at Maker Faire
Close to 300 makers will take over Union Station this weekend for Maker Faire: Kansas City ― doubling the size of last year's event. The Faire brings enthusiasts of all stripes together to celebrate anything people make themselves, including new technology, food, goods and art. Many of the exhibitors will have interactive displays, and there will be music, speakers and presentations throughout the weekend.
Billy Zelsnack, of Iowa City, invented Printxel, a 3D printer that will be on display this weekend. At $300, it's one of the lower-cost 3D printers in the market (3D Systems released a model for $1,299), and Zelsnack's Kickstarter project secured funding to send the printer to beta testing at that price point.
We caught up with Zelsnack (below) via email Thursday about Maker Faire and his hopes for the project.
Silicon Prairie News: Where did you get the inspiration to make this printer?
Billy Zelsnack: I wanted a 3D printer for quite some time so that I could make better parts for my robotics projects. I bought an early Makerbot and at that time they were not quite baked and it took a quite a lot of time and work to get it to work right. At some point my robotics projects turned into designing a 3D printer.
My Makerbot showed up January 2011. I've built several working designs and the Printxel is the latest.
SPN: What challenges did you face?
BZ: I have a bit of a background making things, but my main background is software development. With a software product you can distribute additional copies trivially. With hardware you're only just beginning once you have your product is ready to sell. I appreciated that aspect of software in the past, but I REALLY appreciate it now.
SPN: Long term, what are your plans for the printer? What do you want to develop?
BZ: The market for 3D printing is set to explode in the next few years. At this point I think I am in a good spot to get a foot in the door. My next design will work towards an even lower price point as well as leverage my software background. I think price and especially much more user friendly software is the path to getting a 3d printer into the mainstream.
SPN: What are you looking forward to at Maker Faire?
BZ: I have a table at the event and I'm mostly going for the opportunity to interact with other people that hold similar interests. I also think that's the main benefit.
For more on Maker Faire, check out our post, "Maker Faire: Kansas City makes return to Union Station June 23-24".