The 3D printer, "Rusty Huxley".
In my opinion the open source free 3D printer is one of the more fun projects anyone can take on, talk about Rewarding!
Not only will you learn tones of stuff in the process but you'll get to print other projects, some free and incredible like ROFI. a biped robot!
Or if you'd like something a little more simple try searching Thingiverse for a little biped, It's highly recommended that you buy some printed parts and build the printer yourself rather than just buying a completed Printer, this way you not only learn about the electronics, and mechanics, but you'll experience less frustration in the long-run because you'll understand why the printer isn't printing when things go wrong.
After you build a 3D Printer you can print more printers, sell them or give them away to other people you know, you can print modifications like a smaller extruder or maybe a rail systems instead of the belt drive. The material can be recycled and used for the same purpose over and over, and the additive material is generally inexpensive.
Do you need a 3D nozzle? You can make one or several if you know the proper size drill bit to use. Here is a Drill Chart/ Index to help you along 3D Printing: The 3D printer has been used for a number of years for the use of rapid prototyping.
Having the ability to prototype an idea in a short amount of time is a real benefit to anyone trying to design something, unfortunately in the past having a 3D printer in the living room was very unlikely given the average price for a machine, in fact the average price for an industrial 3D printer today is still about $56,000 USD.
Fortunately there is an alternative that sells for much less and promotes a hobby, the Rep-Rap project provides everyone at no charge the plans to build your own 3D printer and for little money. The Rep-Rap 3D printer can be purchased already assembled in some cases for under $1000, alternately you can assemble a machine using stuff you find for much less, it really just depends on your skill level and amount of money you want to spend.
The process for printing is a little different and the resolution varies a little from the $56,000 machine to the $1000 machine.
The 3D printer in the video below is a Rep-Rap Prusa 3D printer. In terms of electronics the hardware used is Generation6, and the software is SPrinter. The RepRap has been called "The free 3d printer", not because it really is free but instead because all the plans you need to make your own can be found online for free, even the Gerber files needed for the electronics can be found at no cost.
Since the plans are free from the frame to the electronics, they also evolve, as people make progressions the printer changes. In terms of construction material and the frame, most of the parts can be found locally, however some material has to be purchased online.
The frame consists of Bar-Stock and Fasteners. The printers have been named after a biologist. Like all other real Rep-Rap printers this printer was printed using another printer making it self replicating, hence why it was named after biologists and evolutionists.
You can find a Drill chart on this website for the extruder nozzle and find any other information related to construction, like how expansion plays a part in how plastic evacuates the nozzle. Find out what you need to know about the 3D printer heat-bed, why it's important, how to wire it, what you can get away with, and how it's assembled. Wonder how the frame goes together? We have that covered too! Maybe your parts look a little different, don't hesitate to ask we will get you started down the proper path. Are you mechanically inclined?
Maybe the electronics aren't a strong suit and programming isn't your thing, no problem! We have you covered, find all the components needed to build your electronics and see how they all fit together. Programming is a snap too, everything can be found here and is explained in detail. Programming, don't worry anyone can do it, but if you have problems or would rather not spend the time most printers just simply work, if you need to adjust things and need help, just email the website administrator.
Another good Build-Guide and some kits visit http://www.makerfarm.com/index.php/build-instructions/ Ready to start printing? Need some drawings? https://github.com/Intrinsically-Sublime Need Plans and Free STL files for your printer?
http://www.thingiverse.com Maybe you are more interested in automating some lights this season, here is how anyone can do it even if you don't have a great deal of time. Find all the programs you need here, along with a simple box that only requires you plug it in. You can program it from your phone, the web, or by plugging it into a computer.
You can load C language or use the interfaces provided with the product. Automate your house using a simple box, just plug the USB end into a computer and upload the code provided, and plug the three pring plug into the wall. It's that simple.
Here are a few useful Arduino links:
Xbee, ethernet sheild and arduino stacked.
That's it! Your appliances will now do what you program them to do.