Mydesign, thanks for clarifying your earlier comment. Saying this machine is designed for most people's use is a very different statement from saying it's already available in mass quantities at your local big box store.
bronorb, thanks for saying "I think the device highlighted in this article will be used in ways most of us would not think of." I think the combination of technologies is what's most interesting about this development, not just this specific machine. I think we'll see this combination applied to higher-quality machines in the very near future.
The Designist, I, too, found it amusing that the Zeus description on Kickstarter said objects could be faxed. I guess that depends on one's definition of object. Anyway, to avoid Star Trek-like implications that's why I wrote that the *files* can be faxed.
Yes, of course you're right, Mydesign. Usually devices that feature a single function initially eventually evolve into multi-functional devices. Smartphones are a fine example of this--remember when we had a device just for talking on the phone? Or just for listening to music? Or just for sending email (ie, a computer)? Or just for providing GPS? Now a smartphone does it all.
"I takes time for any new technology to become part of mainstream life. Part of the reason for this is the typical learning curve and optimization that any technology goes through. A major reason, however, is that it takes time for any technology to gather more and more applications as people start to really understand the potential of a technology to solve their particular problem. "
Bob, you are right. It may take years to get flourished the new technology and for implementing it at various level and for all applications. More over it can take years to transfer the technology from high end solution provider to the normal peoples dealing with day to day activities.
"I thought all of these machines separately were impressive enough--all in one is quite something else altogether! I'm surprised how rapidly the evolution of products in this space is moving. But it's great for people who can afford these products and are into this sort of thing."
Elizabath, All in One is like the optimal way of using the technology by integrating different functionalities to a single device. So the device becomes multi functional.
The article corrects itself, but I almost laughed aloud at the initial inclination of "faxing" 3D scans from one device to the next, imagining the loss of fidelity actual faxing would entail and the sheer silliness of the requisite phone line that word conjures in the mind of anyone working before 2000 and the proliferation of on-line faxing services. Images of unsolicited 3D adds popping out of my printer came next, followed by the thought of what sort of "mean" scans kids, disgruntled co-workers, former significant others, etc. might choose to send one another.
<Tongue removed from cheek> I think the technology has legs, especially if security is paramount and controllable solely by the owner. The idea of printing objects remotely through purchase of digital designs, e.g. the toys previously mentioned, is quite alluring to me, but I also agree with comments on cost effectiveness. First, I doubt the average consumer will think about cost effectiveness when making the purchase in the first place, so here's to hoping a vibrant used market opens for people that do. Second, I doubt the manufacturers of the toys, etc. will really make inroads any time soon. They won't be willing to provide what will ultimately be an inferior product (at first) at a price savings that many consumers will be willing to pay. Couple this with having to provide assembly instructions to consumers for complex items and probably no warranty on products printed and assembled at home by "untrained" persons, remember the lawyers have a say in the success of these products too, and I doubt that you will see a quick consumer success, but I'd love to be proven wrong.
In the end I thought perhaps the resolution of the device is the telling bit. It is low res, thus perhaps "faxing" is correct after all.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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.
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