We contacted Joris Peels, one of the founders of the Origo 3D printer for Kids
and also a long-time friend of Fabbaloo to find out more about this interesting venture. Here’s our interview:
Fabbaloo: Why kids?
Joris Peels: Artur and I both want to let anyone make anything.
Making is an ability but not one that people learn later on in life. Rather, it is something we forget as we grow older. As we acquire more skills and knowledge simultaneously our capacity for uninhibited creation subsides. The ability to look at the world and imagine only what could be, what could become, what could be made. The unbridled curiosity to explore and create. Makers are people that have recovered their involuntary memory for making, and are but a small subset of the population currently.
Kids have not yet lost it. They are still natural makers, and there are many of them. They sketch, draw and dream without limits. They lack only the tools to execute their whimsy. Origo was conceived as that tool to let kids make whatever they want. It is aimed at kids precisely because they are the most likely to be able take advantage of 3D printing.
Fabbaloo: But wait, 3D printers are complicated! How can you expect a child to successfully operate one?
Joris Peels: We’ve currently reduced the complexity of the prototype software and device UI to a level where we feel the final device should be as easy to operate as a DVD player or Wii. 3D printers are mainly complicated because they break all the time. The main challenge for us will be to engineer it in such a way as to increase reliability to such a degree that this will not be a problem for the kids using the machine.
The fact that we are designing and engineering the device for ten year olds actually aids us in working towards this challenge. By being forced to reduce complexity to a degree so that kids can comfortably operate the machine unsupervised we hope to be forced to make the right choices that lead us to reliability as well as ease of use.
Fabbaloo: When will Origo be available? How much will it cost?
Joris Peels: We currently estimate that it will take us 18 months. But, no plan survives its execution. Also, we have yet to secure financing so this may become a roadblock for us. We estimate that the retail price of a working Origo will be less than $800. We don’t expect to be able to make the recycling pod right away.We will have to leave that until we’ve completed the Origo.
Fabbaloo: Can you tell us a bit more about the technology inside of Origo?
Joris Peels: Currently we are working on a technology that is similar to but distinct from existing Fused Deposition Modeling tech as used by Stratasys and the RepRap. We’re evaluating a wide array of materials and other technology choices. A lot can still change though in this area. Especially with regards to safety and certification there are a lot of hurdles for us.
We expect to turn to making the recycling pod once we’ve completed the Origo.