The 3D printing scene is just getting weirder and weirder as more and more 3D printers get out into the wild. Today’s 3D printing development is a series of extendable clamps that allows the MakerBot 3D printer to print larger objects. This is not particularly strange on its own. The weirdness: The clamps can be printed by MakerBots.
The clamps were an entry in a contest specifically for MakerBot modifications that could be printed out on a MakerBot. Other entries included modifications to the print head and troubleshooting tools for various common 3D printer “jams.” The contest was held at Thingiverse, a site for sharing designs for objects that can be printed out on 3D printers. There was also a slightly less trippy sister contest for printable objects utilizing rubber bands won by a cool rubber band-powered gear assembly.
The 3D-printed 3D printer-improvement isn’t entirely without precedent. MakerBot Industries has been shipping out new kits for building their two 3D printer models with plastic parts printed by previous generations of MakerBots. In other words, every new MakerBot 3D printer was, at least partially, made on a 3D printer.