We use microwaves to cast aluminum from 3D printed [PLA] objects. This gives us the ability to cast high quality 6040 aluminum pieces using a 3D printer and commercially available consumer microwaves.
We manufacture microwave safe kilns for melting aluminum. We create microwave transparent molds that allow us to burn out plastic without heating the mold itself there[by] creating a quicker method of accomplishing the lost PLA process.
Julia‘s process is being developed as a contribution to the larger FOSSCar initiative, which aims to use an open source production and development model and recycled materials including refurbished and repurposed off-the-shelf technology to fabricate a road-worthy car.
The TEDtalk description for “The self-organizing computer course,” describes Shocken’s experiment in open learning:
“Shimon Schocken and Noam Nisan developed a curriculum for their students to build a computer, piece by piece. When they put the course online — giving away the tools, simulators, chip specifications and other building blocks — they were surprised that thousands jumped at the opportunity to learn, working independently as well as organizing their own classes in the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). A call to forget about grades and tap into the self-motivation to learn…”
At HacDC, we have a RepRap available for use (and volunteered hacked improvements), and our members and friends own a good selection of the fabrication tools mentioned in the article. Some of them are perfectly willing to take orders with enough lead-time. If you are interested in learning more about this general trend and participating, feel free to stop by HacDC whenever we are open!