back to article Multi Jet Fusion: THAT's HP's promised 3D printer, not crazy 'leccy invention

A year and eight days ago, The Reg was in the room when HP CEO Meg Whitman promised the company would deliver a 3D printer that service providers could wield by the middle of 2014. On Wednesday the company made a lie of that claim by revealing the Multi Jet Fusion printer it says won't go on sale until 2016. “Multi Jet Fusion …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait....

    ..to see the price of the "ink" cartridges

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: Can't wait....

      Yes, the printer will cost £50 and each cartridge £5000. And they will make sure ONLY HP will work on it by deliberately knobling it with a patented chip.

      1. Ralph B

        Re: Can't wait....

        Not a problem. You'll be able to print yourself new cartridges, won't you?

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Good News!! ...and Bad News!!

      Good news!! They'll be offering cartridges especially intended for the 3D Printing of our long-delayed Flying Cars.

      Bad News!! Being a printer cartridge, each car will cost sixty-four trillion dollars.

      1. Vic

        Re: Good News!! ...and Bad News!!

        our long-delayed Flying Cars.

        I was sent this earlier. It looks ... interesting ...

        Vic.

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      How to Sanity Test the over-hyped BS claims made by 3D Printer vendors

      Vendor: "Blah blah blah, advantages, better, faster, cheaper, etc."

      Skeptic: "So, I assume that you hand-built the first 3D printer, and all subsequent 3D Printers are actually 3D printed?"

      Vendor: "Ah, no."

      Skeptic: "How many parts are in this new 3D Printer?"

      Vendor: "57,142."

      Skeptic: "How many of those parts are 3D Printed in volume for the production runs?"

      Vendor: "None. But we did use 3D printing for the engineering prototype, but 3D printing is way too poor, slow and expensive for production purposes."

      Note to fan boys: Every bald faced lie about technology eventually becomes true. But they're still bald faced lies at the time.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: How to Sanity Test the over-hyped BS claims made by 3D Printer vendors

        Sanity Test?

        FFS. You choose the method of manufacture that is most economical for the quantity of part you are producing. Injection moulding produces parts to incredible tolerances, and does so very cheaply - once you have invested in your tooling.

        The major reasons one would use Additive manufacturing are:

        1. Prototyping. Ten years ago, additive manufacturing was only ever referred to as 'Rapid Prototyping'.

        2 Small production runs. CNC machining often sits in this space as well.

        3. To produce parts that have a geometry that is difficult/impossible to manufacture by other means. Say you wanted a sponge-like shape made of aluminium - perhaps to use a catalyst substrate. You couldn't machine the inside, 'cos you couldn't get your cutting tool in there.

        Your comments are akin to asking "How many components of your injection moulding machine are injection moulded?". Answer, next to sod-all. That doesn't invalidate injection moulding as a process.

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

          Re: How to Sanity Test the over-hyped BS claims made by 3D Printer vendors

          Perhaps you're not holding the idiotic 'fan boy' opinions (e.g. "Someday soon EVERYTHING will be 3D Printed!!") that are being ridiculed.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: How to Sanity Test the over-hyped BS claims made by 3D Printer vendors

          Fair play Jeff - the "3D Printing will revolutionise manufacturing and change the world!!!" crowd do puzzle me too.

          Personally, I think a laser cutter - even a modest one only capable of cutting 12mm ply - in every garage/shed/den would be more likely a 3D printer, and a better fit for the scale of projects around the home - shelves, wine racks, stencils, jigs for routing work-surfaces etc,.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: How to Sanity Test the over-hyped BS claims made by 3D Printer vendors

            I guess 3D printing has evolved product design more subtly in the last few years, since the it has allowed smaller players to develop products. However, it should be taken into consideration with:

            -Cheaper, more affordable and more mature CAD software and workstations.

            -3D printing aiding the development of prototypes

            - 3D printing reducing the cost of tooling for product manufacture

            -Crowdrunding for start-ups.

            -Cheaper SoCs, and near off-the-shelf electronic components.

            1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

              Re: How to Sanity Test the over-hyped BS claims made by 3D Printer vendors

              Some of the RepRap owners have literally responded to my recursive ridicule by claiming that they "...DID, in fact, 3D Print..." their new 3D Printer.

              Upon further discussion the obvious truth is revealed. They bought a $700 kit of parts off eBay (full of circuit cards, stepper motors, wires, connectors, nozzles and metal bars), and then they added some actual 3D printed plastic bits worth about $0.50, but that cost about $15 in printer goop.

              It's a fantastic technology. But it'll never replace mass production methods. Except perhaps in some very distant future where the future 3D Printing has nothing to do with the present technology.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: How to Sanity Test the over-hyped BS claims made by 3D Printer vendors

        I have not seen 3D printing being touted as a replacement for traditional methods for mass-production. I use a 3D printer, but only for one-offs, prototyping, proof-of-concept or making marketing mock-ups. For those purposes it is great - from CAD design to physical object in hours rather than weeks, and with no tooling or other charges, and all carried out by a single person. When everyone is happy with the design, big money is handed across for tooling and the production runs use traditional methods. However we are now far more confident than we used to be that the first production prototypes will work first time without costly modifications.

  2. PleebSmash

    coming soon

    Another exciting and revolutionary innovation from HP... in 2 years. Maybe. Along with memristors.

    I read the hype about this printer yesterday. It seems very capable and a real effort in making HP not just a leader in 3D printing but making the plasticky goods that come out of it useful. I want to be less skeptical than Simon but HP talks big (memristors, "The Machine") yet the company has been cleaved in two since. Tom's Hardware claims that "Those competitors are not so much the consumer-grade MakerBots of the world, but more like Stratasys; which is to say, this technology is aimed primarily at commercial applications." I'm eager to see more ceramic/metal/circuit/cellulose extrusion in the future so we can move beyond plastic, chocolate, and pizza printers.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: coming soon

      "Another exciting and revolutionary innovation from HP... in 2 years. Maybe. Along with memristors."

      It appears that memristors and other alternatives to flash are slowly creeping out in embedded applications - and panasonic announced an eval kit consisting of a processor and ReRam (arguably a form of memristor) a couple of years back:

      http://www.memristor.org/electronics/807/panasonic-reram-nonvolatile-memory-microprocessor-kit

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done HP

    Another partial success.

  4. James Micallef Silver badge

    New Technology??

    "HP Multi Jet FusionTM technology starts by laying down a thin layer of material in the working area. Next, the carriage containing an HP Thermal Inkjet array passes from left-to-right, printing chemical agents across the full working area. The layering and energy processes are combined in a continuous pass of the second carriage from top-to-bottom. The process continues, layer-by-layer, until a complete part is formed."

    So, how is HP's 'new' technology different from any currently available 3D printer???

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: New Technology??

      >So, how is HP's 'new' technology different from any currently available 3D printer???

      Strewth.

      Okay, normal Fused Deposition Modelling printers (almost all of the cheap RepRap, Makerbot etc machines) work by extruding plastic out of a nozzle. This plastic forms the model.

      This HP method lays down a layer of powder across the entire bed, then selectively bonds it with 'glue'.

      The bed shifts down a notch, another layer of powder is applied, the process repeats.

      After all the layers have been 'printed', the loose material is removed and the model is cured with heat.

      The use of powder is akin to Selective Laser Sintering, and the shared advantage is that one doesn't need to print a support structure for overhanging features. An additional advantage of this HP method is that the binding agent can be varied across the model, either to colour the powder or to adjust material properties such as elasticity.

  5. CaptainBanjax

    Expensive refills

    Thats almost certain. However, we should also expect pretty solid drivers.

    I cant remember a time I had problems with HP drivers (except for a one off usb laser printer that wasnt actually made by HP).

    I expect solid build quality and easy maintenance too.

    Ive got a Laserjet 4050, had it forever, it has never failed. I only change the toner once a year and I stocked up 5 years ago for 10 years!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Expensive refills

      "Ive got a Laserjet 4050, had it forever, it has never failed. "

      Their early kit was like that.

      You're in for an unpleasant surprise if you expect that kind of performance from their more recent kit.

      (My first HP: DJ500. Then DJ970, which lasted longer than its 2nd owner. But a couple of generations after the 970, the consumer stuff had become AWFUL, and stayed that way till I'd lost interest)

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Expensive refills

        Recent HP printers are also reliable, if you avoid the mistake of buying the cheapest they make. The really cheap ones are designed down to a cost, then sold at a loss, to cause sales of very expensively packaged ink. So, do spend a bit more on the printer in the first place to get a quality product, and you'll find the running cost per page is *much* lower for anything except tiny usage.

        We've been using HP Officejet Pro printers since the K550 and have enough of them to know that we aren't just lucky. They have 3 year warranties and regularly last for two or three times longer if lightly used, or for many 10Ks of pages if heavily used. In any case the cost of the printer expressed per page printed is negligible compared to the cost of the ink, so one treats an out-of-warranty printer failure as a consumable. And before you say that the ink is the killer cost, it isn't. HP advertise these printers as cheaper to run than a laser, and by and large it's true. For mostly black text on a white background (but with some colour), running them works out about 1.5p/page, including the occasional replacement printers.

        (Yes, you do have to persuade users not to print A4 photographs, which cost up to £1 in ink ... each! The fact that these printers are not photo-quality (nor sold as such) is a distinct advantage on this front. Quality is about what you'd expect from a colour laser printer. Maybe better if you use the special HP shiny paper instead of standard copier paper).

  6. Denarius Silver badge
    Meh

    really now

    they expect to be still operating in 2016 ? Will have downsized themselves to a Korean chabol for a dime by then.

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Sprout

    I'm sure the Reg is working on article about HP's 'Sprout' PC that was announced alongside the above 3D printer. One popular technology website completely missed the point in its coverage by describing it as merely a mouse and keyboard replacement, whereas it is a combination projector, virtual keyboard, 3D/2D scanner and 3D gesture interface... the devil is in the implementation, but the concept sounds very useful for blurring the line between hardcopy (take a newspaper and use your finger to select an article to scan, or trace an image with a stylus), or place a 3D object in front of it and scan it in.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will cartridges will cost more than virgin unicorn blood?

    That's the key question.

    1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

      Re: Will cartridges will cost more than virgin unicorn blood?

      My Boy, have I got a deal for you. Almost genuine unicorn blood (slightly used virgins) at a knockdown price. You can even refill each Virgin....

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

        Re: Will cartridges will cost more than virgin unicorn blood?

        Oi, your 'Unicorns' are just sheep with a horn stuck in the midddle of its head.

        My one gave birth soon after UPS dropped it off -- the 'Virgin' bit seems slightly off.

        (but the roast lamb was superb)

  9. Pypes

    "Thermal Inkjet Array"

    As in thermal (not piezo) heads?

    Well done on integrating a technology nobody in industry should be touching with a fully extended, telescopic, carbon fiber barge pole.

    There are only a handful of firms making piezo heads, and AFAIK HP isn't one of them. So I'm assuming this is a decision to keep it in-house, and consumers be dammed.

  10. J 7

    like most HP printers, the hardware will be robust and the software overblown useless fluff which is problematic to install

  11. etmsreec

    Re: coming soon

    "Tom's Hardware claims that "Those competitors are not so much the consumer-grade MakerBots of the world, but more like Stratasys; which is to say, this technology is aimed primarily at commercial applications." I'm eager to see more ceramic/metal/circuit/cellulose extrusion in the future so we can move beyond plastic, chocolate, and pizza printers."

    I think I'd trust Stratasys more in this business than HP. The latter may have a long track record with printers, but Stratasys has the longer and better track record on RP machines and "3D Printing." They were, after all, one of the original RP companies, along with the likes of 3D Systems and EOS.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: coming soon

      HP and Stratasys were in bed together a few years back.

      http://investors.stratasys.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=697147

      "August 1, 2012

      Stratasys and HP to Discontinue Manufacturing and Distribution Agreement"

  12. ecofeco Silver badge

    If you only knew...

    If you only knew of the incredible intellectual property HP has created your jaw would drop so hard it would break.

    That they've pulled a XEROX with it all in the last 15 years is even more stunning in its waste and stupidity.

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