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back to article WTF is... 3D printing

Head along to London's Design Museum and you'll find a remarkable shoe on display until August. Called the Melonia Shoe, it’s perhaps not what most Reg Hardware readers would wear, but it is remarkable, not so much for the design, but because it was printed by Belgian product prototyping company Materialise and Sweden-based …

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Candy FAB

http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/candyfab

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May be repeating myself

Can't see my first comment, and I'm not sure if I actually posted it. So just a short one.

The kinect camera is being used by everyone and his dog as a cheap 3d model producer.

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subtractive vs additive tech

My dentist tried this for a time, but has gone back to making a 3d model of the stump with a scanner/camera but sending off for the crowns. So it's back to a 2-treatment system for them. I never bothered to ask why they stopped, it may be cost.. or it may be that having longer to prepare the replacements results in a better prognosis.

Please note, however, that this is a subtractive process, starting from preprepared blanks and removing material. 3d printing (as per this article) is additive.

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Anonymous Coward

you can see the process in action in this video

is it just me?

What video?

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Video now added

Sorry - link got missed out inadvertently.

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but, the price of the cartridges will be the killer

Sometime in the next few decades, the people who brought us the "You wouldn't download a car." anti-piracy advert are going to look very, very silly.*

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* Well, a bit more than they already did.

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Indeed they will

HP's website lists the price of a spool of black ABS at £650 plus VAT. Based on the specs, that's roughly £1 per cubic centimetre.

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And....

Makerbot lists a Kilo of ABS filament for $43-55.. I imagine there is some difference though.. The Makerbot printers are pretty low resolution, small object printers.

No doubt, the big printer manufacturers will eventually bring out consumer models..

But the question is.. Can they pull the same "Gillette" model for that business? Especially when they start selling printers that will possibly be able to print out cartridges for the filament?

I have an inkjet printer.. I pay at most, about a fiver for a set of inks. I think the first few generations at least, will be the same kind of people.

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Anonymous Coward

heh

This will sure change the anime figure industry~~~

*awaits the day when layouts for delicious railgun are published on share*

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Food

When I can 3D print myself a hamburger with the lot that still tastes good, there is no point in any further human technological advance. That is the pinnacle.

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3D printing inconjunction with Kinect

Utilising this with the equally cheap and accessible 3d scanner that is Kinect, I'd guess replication of a lot of different, simple, household objects could be achieved. Or of course, scan your own foot, and use that as a digital mould for your own printed shoes. Etc etc.

Fun and games :D.

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Paris Hilton

its already done...

There is a video floating around youtube where 3 hacked kinects were attached to a pc and were used to model people and print out a mini statue of themselves........

just wait until the porn industry gets hold of this technology and you can download and print the appendages of your favourite porn stars... for her pleasure! (or his as the case may be)

paris for obvious reasons...

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Next wave of copyright hoo ha...

http://www.shapeways.com/ is a pretty neat idea - you can put your models in a gallery for other people to print and they also offer a full colour ceramic-ish printing. Reasonably priced too if you are making hollow models.

Looking forward to desktop models with built in laser scanners being as cheap as colour laser printers. Parts photocopying will bring with it loads more industries complaining about copyright... sit back and enjoy the fun!

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Joke

Hasn't this been done before?

I'm sure those two geeks did it in Weird Science and printed Kelly LeBrock!

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Joke

Improved technology

Those two geeks were simply at the forefront of the technology wave. Now, thanks to modern engineering techniques, it is no longer necessary to wear a bra on your head.

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@Ilsa

It might not actually be necessary, but would wouldn't want to?

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Surely...

the challenge to aim for has got to be a self-replicating 3D printer?

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RepRap

That's partly what RepRap is about (and indeed what the 'Rep' in the name stands for). It can print all its own plastic parts, and has also been used in the creation of some PCBs, though of course things like the motors are a bit tricky.

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Self replicating?

Reprap can print all its plastic parts already.

As the design is open source, many owners do this to recoup their costs.

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Terminator

BAAAD idea

Icon should say it all.

Dunno why some miserable twunt downvoted you though - humour in short supply today is it?

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Flame

Direction?

The only downside of course to 3D Printing structures is those that intended to have anisotropic mechanical properties, like, oh, I don't know EADS airframe parts.

There's a reason why we still forge metal.

With heat, and everything.

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Boffin

Direction, yes

Well you can have expoxy glue loaded with metal particles, it's expensive glue to make but it's conductive and can be very strong.

There are 3D printers that should be able to work with it without much modification.

Who knows what the future may hold.

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Downside, but a small one

The downside of not being useful for absolutely everything isn't that bad.

And yes, we should continue to make planes out of stronger stuff!

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title here

For smaller parts, there are printers that use a wax to make originals for lost-wax casting. Still takes another step to get the metal part, but allows easier production than traditional methods.

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JDX
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porn

Imagine being able to print a **** or maybe a ****. Or even, a copy of your favourite model..

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hmmm...

gives a whole new meaning to Rule 34

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Good idea

Now if we can just fix those airport scanners to work as an input...

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Anonymous Coward

Dear god no....

I've been working at an airport today and believe me, the mouth breathers who pass through those scanners.... No, just NO.

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this is news?!?

Jay Leno (American comedian/talk show host) had a feature on this several years ago. He is an avid collector of classic cars, one of which is an ancient steamer. He needed to replace a part for which there is no longer any replacement available. Rather than pay exorbitant sums for a custom piece made using traditional methods, he went to a local shop that had a 3d scan/print device. The old part was scanned by the computer, then the printer spit out the part within a few minutes. Granted the part was plastic and would be used for the purpose of making a proper casting mold, but it was an exact replica that fit perfectly.

Video of this bit, which was shown on his TV series, is available from the usual sources. The most interesting bit for me was at the end when they "printed" an adjustable spanner - complete with the proper moving parts.

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Dead Vulture

No its not news

I remember seeing 3d printing being demoed at Strathcylde University in September 2000.

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Seems to me...

I remember reading on these very pages a couple of years back about an 'Ozzie gel' who'd invented a way to print solar panels.

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WTF?

what is 3D printing?

Eh? This is suppose to be a technical site guys.

We all know what 3D Printing is!

You'll be tell us what 'CPU' and 'RAM' is next....

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Pint

Equipment Price

Evidently a lot of the patents covering the lasers-in-powder printing methods will expire in about 4-5 years so the price of equipment should drop around then.

The only downside is i don't see the size of the equipment shrinking significantly as the trough for the medium has to be as big as the object you want to make (in 2 dimensions at least).

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Reminded me of an old story

Xerox having to recall their new "Reprotron 5000" 3D copiers...

http://moobunny.dreamhosters.com/cgi/mbmessage.pl/general/10292.shtml

(Thumbs up - you'll see the reference in the story)

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rapid prototype engineering around a while

I recall a golf club company around 1999 cutting layers of paper with a laser, bonding them together to create prototypes for wood driver head designs

a couple of years ago seeing a method of building by laying down layers of cement to make walls ..

did not Ford have a commercial some years ago showing a laser hardened polymer part rising up from the goo tank ?

it's a great subject though .. should be brought up more often

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@Sculptor35

I have no idea how it compares to using a kinnect to capture a 3D object but another way to do it is with david laser scanner http://www.david-laserscanner.com/

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But what if...

What if it suddenly tells you "PC Load Letter", then what? Take it to a field, with a bat, ...?

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Anonymous Coward

Other Uses

It wasn't mentioned in the article, but one of the main advantages of the technology is its ability to produce parts that can't be made by traditional means, one of the best examples I've seen was a transparent castle tower, complete with spiral staircase but formed out of a single piece of material. Novelty items aside it opens the door to producing items that, until now were impossible to make.

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3D printing with paper

MCor Technologies has an interesting take on this: 3D printing with regular paper as the working material:

http://www.mcortechnologies.com/

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Boffin

BTW f1 teams are meant to be using this for their gears

At first it was plastic cores for lost wax casting but progressed to laser sintering of metal gears.

Note this was some years ago. It should either be common practice or abandoned.

One thing that surprised me on seeing my first stereo lithography part was that it could make cylindrical parts at right angles to the direction of *travel* of the head which were pretty smooth. I'd expected to see grains like expanded polystyrene, but nothing was visible.

There was also a British Gas project to make fuel cells using a modified ink jet printer (as specialist gear did not even exist at that time).

Key challenges seem to surface finish and the ability to manufacture "power" components IE conductive/strong enough to handle the prime mover or the forces their operation will generate (the F1 gears *transmit* forces, are axisymentric and operate in compression)

A subset of this is the apparently limited ability to do semiconductors, which are obviously a key part of integrating more control components into a finished system-in-a-part.

I think people may be focusing on these systems as a *total* solution to making a part instead of a key part of a "think making" system.

While delivering a part that performs multiple functions can be *very* satisfying a design of multiple parts (possibly all made together) processed and assembled *after* manufacture may deliver a faster solution (which maybe *the* critical parameter for some people).

Not smooth enough?

Consider electro-polishing or "Liquid honing"

Too tough to release part from support?

Consider adding perforations around it to cut the part out with a saw, etching or electrochemical machining? Or build in flexures so most of the block is part and not filler (so less filler to strip) and then fold over the relevant joints to give the component. Consistent, reliable flexure design is considered *very* tricky so not for the feint hearted.

It is *highly* unlikely this will ever be a mass production technology but for short run (or *unique*) mfg purposes this is still near the *start* of the art. Your own unique laptop//iphone/mp3 case? Protective sports equipment that fits you like it was hand made?

In 1997 John Woo opened Face/Off with a color matched ear being built in a tank using stereo lithography.

If we can't do *all* of that by now (I'm guessing color is likely to be the problem) then the next research project already exists. Temporary (convincing) prostheses which fit *properly* should absolutely be a target application for this.

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Tea.

Earl Grey.

Hot.

No? Don't want one, then.

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Joke

3D printing of concrete.

I've seen that one. Ok, the nozzle in the printer head wasn't exactly small, but nonetheless, the wall was seamless. Bonus for all the cuts and voids that would be soon filled with piping, wires, etc... avoiding to break the thing after built.

In fact, the equipment is the same used in shotcrete, except there was an encoder and drives guiding where the nozzle should spit the concrete.

Now that cartridge ain't cheap.

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Boffin

pitty...

its a pity that the author used a picture of reprap 1 (Darwin) instead of reprap 2 (Mendel)...

after reading this article and doing a little goggling on the subject, I cant wait for my reprap kit to arrive... it has to be the most geeky tool to add to my collection...

I have planned to build a custom PC built into a desk for a long time. this will be the perfect tool to make prototype bezels and custom mounting brackets....

and can we have proper geek icon please !!

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The Diamond Age

Anyone else read William Gibson's The Diamond Age? I remember thinking when I first met a 3D printed object in 2001 (a spanner) that it sounded just like the first generation of machine that would end up as the "matter compiler" of Gibson's 1995 book...

I know these things take time, but most of the stuff given as examples here doesn't seem terribly far advanced over the parts I met 10 years ago, and it was obviously not new technology then sitting, as the spanner was, in a post-grad's desk drawer up (near) Sheffield...

M.

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FAIL

The Diamond Age

Totally thick, me, I said William Gibson. Should of course have been Neal Stephenson.

Sorry.

M.

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