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Here’s one for all of the naysayers out there that think 3D printing at home is nothing more than a fad since people have yet to create anything useful. A 3D printing enthusiast that goes by the handle “Sublime” on YouTube has created a working wood lathe out of PLA plastic parts that he designed and printed on a small 3D printer that he himself invented as part of the RepRap project. If you don’t want to take my word for it, check out the video posted above and see for yourself.

3D printed lathe

Sublime, who is also known as Brad (which is also a Sublime reference), has been fascinated by 3D printing since the first time he laid eyes on the scene after reading about the effort to create a self-replicating manufacturing machine. He immediately began work on creating his own version of the RepRap, on which the lathe was printed.

Called the Tantillus, Sublime’s machine capable of printing parts that you design without needing to have a computer attached to it. He claims that this smaller, more hardy version of the RepRap is the closest anyone has come to making a device that can print duplicate copies of itself because the case and other parts can be fabricated very easily.

Tantillus

As mentioned above, the printed lathe was created using PLA plastics, a substance that is derived organically from renewable resources, such as corn and tapioca roots. As a result the parts that make up the tool are totally compostable after they wear out or break, a fact that Mother Nature is sure to appreciate. The device is run by a drill motor and while it seems to be very wobbly in the video below, it does complete the job it was intended for quite well. Sublime stated in a video interview that he has used the lathe to create other objects for everyday use.

With the number one criticism of 3D printing being the fact that no one has been able to create anything useful out of consumer level printing devices, Sublime’s work in this area is a welcome development — having created a demonstrably useful tool with a printer that he developed himself should be enough to silence the the most snarky of remarks. It’s going to be exciting to see what gets created as more people get their hands on low-cost printers and start to create with them.

If you want to get your hands on your very own Tantillus to be able to print out useful woodworking tools, you can contribute to current Indiegogo project that is currently looking for funding right now. For a $390 donation you will get all the necessary parts you need to build your very own portable 3D printer.

[via Geek]

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