I wonder if this isn't possibly the beginning of a trend: 3D printer manufacturers making smaller versions of their machines with smaller build volumes that still can use complex 3D printing technologies. This one's aimed at a the growing number of AM labs in various universities for R&D, but also to train the next generation of engineers in the technology. And the fact that this university is a member of NAMII, which aims to bring together academia, government agencies and commercial interests to further the technology, seems significant to me. What do others think?
This smaller printer would be useful for model builders (including model engines) if the price is right. Of course, 3D service bureaus would be an option. I see news today that Stratasys plans to grow by acquiring companies that make 3D metals printers.
78RPM makes an interesting point about metals printers and service bureaus. Right now, these machines/processes and their materials are probably way too pricey for that. They were developed to serve high-end applications in industrial, military and aerospace markets, so pricing is on a very different scale from anything aimed at consumers. This is an important point to keep in mind about 3D printing/AM--there are two very different ends of the industry.
@Ann - all devices come in small sizes with same or better performance, I think the same concept applies here. 3D printer manufacturers making smaller versions of their machines with smaller build volumes that still can use complex 3D printing technologies
@David – I think we should give it few more days for the product to establish its self in the market and automatically the prices will fluctuate with the competition. I am sure it would not be a monopoly or oligopoly, as there are many manufactures waiting to enter into the market.
@78RPM - Yes model builders will definitely find this very useful; it helps them save their time. Now it's just a matter of designing the 3D model and the printer will do the rest for you, whereas sometime back you need to craft the object.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
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