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Engineering Materials
Metals 3D Printer Gets a Smaller Footprint
6/25/2013

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Optomec's original, large 850-R system is used for making final production parts or prototypes, and repairing metallic components, such as this casing.   (Source: Optomec)
Optomec's original, large 850-R system is used for making final production parts or prototypes, and repairing metallic components, such as this casing.
(Source: Optomec)

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Cabe Atwell
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Re: Pricing of the 450
Cabe Atwell   7/31/2013 7:20:02 PM
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It will be interesting to see what the private sector does with this technology. Very informative piece!

rick oleson
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Re: Start of a Trend? -- No
rick oleson   7/5/2013 8:33:09 AM
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I'm reluctant to plug a commercial service, but have any of you looked at www.shapeways.com? It's an online 3D printing service where you can upload STL files and they mail you your part - in an amazing variety of available materials.  I recently had a camera part made in stainless steel for a fraction of just the material cost to make it by machining from bar stock.  There may be other similar things out there, but this is the one I've happened to come across.

NadineJ
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Re: Start of a Trend? -- No
NadineJ   7/1/2013 5:48:49 PM
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Ann-thanks for the link to your other article.  Intersting stuff.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Start of a Trend?
Ann R. Thryft   7/1/2013 11:42:55 AM
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eafpres, I had a similar experience after writing my first metals 3D printing article several months ago: it seemed like suddenly I saw media coverage of similar manufacturers everywhere. Of course, there are always way more service bureaus than manufacturers of the technology. Good to know the service bureaus are available.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Start of a Trend? -- No
Ann R. Thryft   7/1/2013 11:39:22 AM
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78RPM, those snake and worm robots are fun, aren't they? The idea of their self-reconfiguration ability makes them even more interesting. And yes, things are moving awfully fast in these design areas. It often feels like the future is already here.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Start of a Trend? -- No
Ann R. Thryft   7/1/2013 11:36:29 AM
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Nadine, to clarify again, I don't find my article more compelling, I find the concepts discussed in it of self-assembling and self-reconfiguring robots and methods more compelling than the lego-like so-called "digital materials" in the MIT paper.
Anyway, too bad what you heard about isn't findable anywhere online. If you ever do find links, please let us know. It sounds a bit like MIT's so-called 4D printing, which is actually self-assembly combined with 3D printing. I wrote about that here:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=260118



NadineJ
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Re: Start of a Trend? -- No
NadineJ   6/29/2013 3:52:24 PM
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@Ann: based on that, I can see why you find your article more compelling.   I mentioned what I heard about in a comment below--

The "lego" assembly that you're referring to isn't what I heard about in Dublin.  But, what was discussed may not be online.

It involved using 3D printers and assemblage to have machines create machines from data.  It was more Matrix 3/Animatrix than Transformers.

eafpres
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Re: Start of a Trend?
eafpres   6/28/2013 8:36:06 PM
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After reading and commenting on your article, I started seeing 3D metal printing services everywhere.  A full page ad in this months Medical Design magazine caught my eye, for Fineline Prototyping:

Fineline Concept Laser Mlab

I also came across other vendors, such as GPI Prototyping and Manufacturing Services:

GPI Metal 3D Printing

and Axis Rapid Protyping:

Axis DMLS

I'm sure there are many more.  Good news for designers and specialized needs!

78RPM
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Re: Start of a Trend? -- No
78RPM   6/28/2013 4:09:34 PM
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Thanks, Ann,

I want one of those Transformers. I've seen other Design News articles about robotic snakes and the like. It will be really useful when snake robots can crawl through small spaces, then reconfigure to lift a fallen piece of concrete rubble or take out a firehose or whatever the need is. The future is really being invented very fast, isn't it?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Start of a Trend? -- No
Ann R. Thryft   6/28/2013 12:48:58 PM
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78RPM, the self-assembly and self-reconfiguring concepts in my other article are definitely more futuristic. OTOH, this Transformer-like robot is pretty here and now, if still small: http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=256018

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