The 3d printing processes we all use today have high cost and low cost options available, but what a 17 year old engineer just did raises the bar on low cost.
Going by the username Vulcaman on Instructables, the 17 year old released blueprints and building instructions for an SLS (selective laser sintering) printer that produces reliable 3d prints.
"Most SLS-3D-Printers are very expensive and only available for industry. So I built my own printer," he writes.
The project is fully open-source with a complete list of materials and model files ready for download, and the materials used are standard in the making of DIY 3D printers, including Nema17 stepper motors, Aruduino Mega 2560 and a Raspberry Pi for the RAMPs controller board.
The build instructions are mostly about the assembly process since it is quite a complex process. Slic3r is used to create the gcode for print files with particular modifications needed to take into account the powder material that is essential for SLS 3D printing.
With some grammatical issues, Vulacman explains the thinking behind his project.
"In this Instruction, I want to show you how to build a DIY Selektive-Laser-Sintering (SLS) 3D-Printer. I am 17 years old and made everything by myself. Since 6 month my big dream was to build up a working SLS-3D-Printer, but there is a problem. The most SLS-3D-Printers are very expensive and only aviable for the industry. So I build my own printer. Often I was disappointed. Especially with the material, but after a month of experiments I found the right powder for a test print."