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Lindsey R. ‘16 — Portable 3-D Printer

The Project: Design and build a portable 3-D printer

Goal: While 3-D printing is a cutting-edge technology, one capability the printers currently lack is portability. Lindsey is trying to change that; her aim is to create a printer that can be easily transported without compromising the apparatus’ build volume. “My hope is that a portable printer could be used almost anywhere. Someone could even hike out to a rural area and print something like custom prosthetics for people in need.”

Process: Lindsey, who expects to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, put together her first 3-D printer from a pre-built kit when she was 13. As part of an independent study early in her junior year, she constructed her first 3-D printer from scratch, based on her own design. That experience helped her figure out that she was interested not only in using the 3-D machine but in improving it. “I started thinking, ‘What if I could fold it and get rid of the space that is the build area?’ That would allow it to be easily transportable while maintaining a large build area when printing.” Over the course of Junior Workshop, she designed and built a portable 3-D printer with an easy-to-collapse mechanism.

The Value of JW: Junior Workshop provided Lindsey the freedom to undertake her ambitious project. "the positive feedback I received has given me the encouragement to continue working to improve and perfect the design.

What's Next: When the design is perfected, "I'd like to make it publicly accessible through open-sourcing—sharing it with as many people as possible.”