HOUGHTON — “It’s an octopus,” says Open Source Hardware Enterprise team member Ian Peoples, holding up a previously finished model as a nearby 3-D printer nozzle continues to lay down
heated plastic filament in precise, fractional increments.
Fellow team member Lucas Wilder proffers a blue bust of Yoda, further evidence of how 3-D printer stock, fed wirelike from spools, builds layer upon layer to create three-dimensional objects.
The members of the Open Source Hardware Enterprise at Michigan Technological University are using filament made from relatively uncommon poly-lactic acid plastic. A one-kilogram reel runs about $30. But now, thanks to a $25,000 Ford College Community Challenge grant, there may soon be cheaper, more readily available printer filament on campus and in the community. Wilder, Peoples and fellow team members Andrew Schaub and Peter Gorecki are using the grant to incorporate local recycling initiatives into the mix.