While low cost 3D printers are entering the market (Makerbot, Printrbot, Portabee, eMaker, etc) they require extruded plastic filament that costs about $40-$54 per kg that is 5-10 times the cost of the raw resin pellets. The Desktop Factory Competition is seeking to fund an opensource filament maker for all you owners of these FDM type machines. The competition is a partnership between business competition aggregator iStartand online Fab supply storeInventables. The contest is offering $40,000 for the first filament making machine to meet their criteria. I an addition to the cash (from theKauffman Foundation) the winner will also receive a "Desktop Fabrication Lab" (3D printer, FS Laser Cutter, & Shapeoko CNC Mill). I'm hoping the winning design is made of all printed parts
This caught my attention - it's a big prize. However, I am skeptical.
Went over to istart and inventables to try get more information. They claim that the judging is objective, but there are a lot of details that remain undefined about what the machine must do. Numerous comments on the Inventables blog to that effect.
Further, I went to the Kauffman Foundation website where they list the grants that they are giving in 2012, and there is no mention of Inventables or iStart, or anything to do with a filament extruder.
I hope this is real, but plan to dig deeper before investing time or money, or shipping an actual machine to Inventables (as they require for the contest!)