If you've been following my blog for a while you've no doubt picked up on my interest in 3D printing and the open source fabber called the RepRap. It seems that I'm not the only person who's been keeping a sharp eye on this particular technology. The Gada Prize (formerly the Kartik M. Gada Humanitarian Innovation Prize in Personal Manufacturing) has been announced to advance the state of the art in 3D printing and personal manufacture by putting up $20kus to the person or team whose project meets certain criteria by 31 December 2012. The prize appears to be aimed squarely at the RepRap because some of the things that winning projects need to do are inherently part of the RepRap operational model. The winning fabber needs to be able to print with no fewer than three different forms of feedstock (one of which is electrically conductive), toward the end of being able to fabricate circuit boards from scratch. The deposition platform needs to be easy to replace and must last at least twenty print runs. The cost needs to be $200us or less, with at least 90% of the components printable using another personal fabber. It also needs to be able to print out copies of all of its parts inside of ten days without outside help and only one print head jam.
There is also a grand prize which involves creating new techniques and technologies for recycling waste material into feedstock for use with a RepRap. The grand prize is not yet funded but it's been set at $80kus. The criteria include a price of feedstock less than or equal to $4us per kilogram and the fabber needs to be able to replicate itself within seven days. All entries must fit the definition of open source: all designs, schematics, CAD templates, source code, and documentation must be available under an approved open source license so that anyone may make use of them.