More on this later.  Yes, we said that with a straight face.

It could be said that personal 3D printing as we know it today is a direct result of Adrian Bowyer's original RepRap movement, because many personal 3D printer manufacturers have roots in the open source community. Today's freely shared innovation is often tomorrow's commercial feature, as those wanting to see 3D printing propagate though improvements in accessibility and ease-of-use hack code, torture motors and devise new ways to build a better mouse trap – a trap intended to get new people as hooked on the technology as are those who can't stop trying to improve it.

That spirit continues in earnest around the world. In the United States, individuals who spend their spare time in Seattle's Metrix hackerspace have developed an undeniable reputation for bleeding edge invention and generosity. Three of these open source leaders will be on hand at the 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank, Calif., Jan. 31-Feb. 1, sharing their work, discussing theory and making predictions. They will also be producing a custom delta 3D printer specifically to be given away to some lucky Expo attendee.

By day, Johann Rocholl is a site reliability engineer for Google. By night (and weekends), he is the Father of the Deltabots, something of a RepRap legend. The first popular delta-style 3D printer is named after Rostock, the former East German city where Johann was born. He wrote the Marlin patch code that converts Cartesian coordinates to delta coordinates. After the Rostock proof of concept project, he designed the Kossel, a deltabot he continues to improve and revise today with features such as a futuristic bed detection probe and matching software for automatic platform calibration. Rumor has it the custom 3D printer this team will be giving away at the Expo will be a prototype based on the unreleased Mini Kossel.

Terence Tam was born in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. In addition to having some patents under his belt, he works as a mechanical design engineer at Life Technologies. For fun, he actively develops open source hardware. Terence has successfully funded two Kickstarter campaigns. In 2012, he designed and funded OpenBeam, a low cost construction system based on 3 mm building blocks, including standard M3 nuts and bolts. These aluminum extrusions are commonly used in 3D printer frames. More recently, Terence funded the OpenBeam Kossel Pro, developed in conjunction with Johann Rocholl, Matthew Wilson, Mike Ziomkowski and others at Metrix Create:Space. The unit is currently undergoing engineering validation and testing, prior to an expected March delivery date.

Rounding out the trio of living reasons to remember immigration's role in the success of the United States is Mike Ziomkowski, a senior electrical engineer for JDSU. Born in Szczecin, Poland, Mike designs electronics for handheld fiber optic inspection microscopes and line testers. In his free time, he works on the recently debugged and functional Brainwave II – a fully integrated, 4 axis CNC controller board for use with OpenBeam (and other) 3D printers and CNC machines. We are under agreement not to disclose further information on the Brainwave II at this time, but additional details will be forthcoming on the OpenBeam web site.

3D Printer World is proud to include these three brilliant and benevolent members of the open source community as speakers and exhibitors at the upcoming 3D Printer World Expo. They can be met at the OpenBeam exhibit on the show floor, or in the Saturday educational sessions, Innovations in Desktop 3D Printing and Crowdfunding Roundtable.