Ann, like all in one printer and PC, 3D printing technology is also get integrating with other add on services like fax, copier, scanner etc. Thanks for the technology for enabling such things, but the question is when it will be available for common man use.
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.
"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"
Ann, my question is whether its readily available in nearby shops, atleast in US or Europe.
Thanks for the clarification Mydesign. As we state in the article, this only just got funded on Kickstarter, shipping won't begin until next year, and these are being made more or less one at a time, not in high volumes for distribution in multiple locations. I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of this type of machine design, in 3D printing and other types of manufacturing and design tools. The model is more like downloading music or ordering a CD from an artist's website, instead of going to a store to buy a CD.
I would like to submit that the judgements about 3D printing I see here are premature. My experience is that it takes about 20 years for a technology to truly become mainstream. I have seen this happen time and time again over a 37 year technology-dominated career.
Like most radically new technologies, there is an incubation period during which many "unintended" uses for the new technology are identified. I call it the "law of unintended consequences". Often it is the "unintended" consequences that come to dominate the application of the technology. The internet provides an outstanding example of this. The original developers never dreamed of the applications that have come to dominate internet technology. They never dreamed of how fundamentally the internet would change the world we live in. I also remember reading and hearing about how the internet would never become ubiquitous - there was no need of it, it was too complicated for the average person to understand, it was far too expensive beause there was no infrastructure in place that could accommodate it, etc. 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. 3D printing is still not mainstream, in the sense that most people do not understand how the technology works, or what problems it can solve. I expect this to change rapidly in the next 5 years or so as more and more industrial and consumer printers find there way into the market. Once the number of machines being used in both industrial and consumer applications hits critical mass, you will see new and exciting uses for this extremely flexible technology - which I predict will enable it to become a mainstream technology with impact only slightly less than the internet.
Give it some time for the cost of the equipment to come down, the quality and ease of use to increase, and for people to think about what it can be used for!
@Bob, I agree. I visited a local manufacturer of hand-held devices. They are contoured to be held in the hand and thus, are difficult to fixture when assembling. The engineers use 3D solid modeling software and their 3D printers to make fixtures for assembly. They can run off a half a dozen in a few hours and if they break, print off some more. The cost is insignificant compared to having a more permanent fixture designed and built.
Their use of 3D printing was not the use intended by the manufacturer of it but never the less, when you have the equipment in-house, you find other ways of making it pay off.
I think the device highlighted in this article will be used in ways most of us would not think of.
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.
bob.shomo, thanks for your comments. 3D printing began in 1988 as a rapid prototyping technology. That's now more than 20 years ago. So it does take time for a technology to become mainstream, but it depends a lot on the technology--or cluster of technologies--and other variables. The process rarely occurs at a steady pace. It's also the case that what's happening now is a very intense period of R&D that we haven't seen in this field for several decades, as shown by the Zeus and other innovations (stay tuned). And it's important to continue distinguishing between whether it will ever become mainstream for consumers--which is what all the hype is about--or whether the mainstream will be engineers and companies, which is what the more likely reality is about, and where most of the effort is going.
"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.
Ann, this 3D printing is interesting, but I wonder if it is a wave that has already broken. As far as home use, I find that we seldom use our printer. I am also buying more on-line books for both personal use, work and school. I discovered long ago that I did not need a music device. Between my PC and phone I had all I needed. One of the best things about digital information is the lack of weight. Once you have the device, the weight does not change as you add more stuff. So, I have lots of stuff. To give an example, I recently bought a tutorial on a programming language I have been using. As I did I was presented with an ad for the complete Shakespeare for $1.99. I have two hard copies, but I bought this one anyway.
As for 3D printing, this current generation of "home" devices is just a novelty. We have lots of Mold-A-Rama stuff around the house. The museums around here all seem to have the machines. My wife keeps trying to get rid of them, but I always retrieve them. There is a place for 3D printing, but this might not be one.
Lou, I disagree entirely. I know some people are feeling overwhelmed with the 3D printing "craze" and think it's just a fad. It's not. And home usage simply is not where the main changes will be, although that's where much of the press focuses. There are combinations of technologies and functions coming--like this for instance--that at least have the potential to change everything in manufacturing. I've been writing about technology for 25 years. I haven't seen anything this major since wireless communications in the 90s and before that, the internet.
It's fun reading and seeing all the hype on 3D printers, but it always leaves me wondering where the value lies. Do these 3D objects provide something that's worth the cost to produce them? Seeing a little kid send a duplicate of a clay snowman to his dad at work is cute and it triggers emotion, but how much did the two machines cost? How much did the material on the duplicate snowman cost? How does this cost compare to dad going home and holding the original snowman? These presentations never include the full cost of making a reproduction, so you can't determine the value. I can't see this market growing significantly until they start showing actual real value.
jhankwitz, you've spelled out a major problem, one that Lou alludes to. The problem is, the real value is to manufacturers, not to consumers, but most of the press about 3D printing is consumer-oriented. I suspect this is mostly because most of it's being written by people not familiar with any of the technology, or with the entire world of industrial manufacturing. And all they can conceive of are the examples you mention.
It would be nice to see one article showing how 3D printing has provided a viable cost-effective component for a manufacturer. If any of these devices have been sold to an actual manufacturer, they should be able to get endorcements showing their benefits. If they can't, that may be why we don't see any of these articles.
jhankwitz, your conclusion is incorrect, apparently based on a misunderstanding. The reason there aren't any such articles yet isn't for want of trying. It's because so many companies don't want to talk about what they're doing to get a leg up over the competition. It's especially a problem in the very industries that *are* using 3D printing/AM for component production, specifically aerospace. For example, in this article http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=258652 mentioning Lockheed and it use of AM for F-35 parts, I managed to get a photo but not detailed identifying info about what the object is, for exactly that reason. This is an ongoing problem across multiple technologies and industries.
Thanks Ann for posting such an informative thing its really great that technology is going so ahead that a 3D printer with a copiers, fax machine and scan is all in one machine but to some extend jhankwitz i agree to you that spending soo much on 3D printed item is it worthfull or not . Because according to me no doubt 3D printing is becomming very popular but to some extend there can be certain limitation in its usage for example in development of large projects and so on. 3D printing will never be eradicated however in future it can become the want of people instead of becomming the need as there is a vast difference between want and need .
Limited Material is one of the issue of 3d printing although technology is a breakthrough but still material used is very limited . Usually people use plastic and different forms of plastic but every thing cant just rely on plastic adding different materials to the technology will result in higher costs. Initially 3d printing was used only for prototypes that is making test structures in those structures accuracy is very important because on the basis of those structures engineers decide to take final decisions but still there are certain accuracy issues in it . Size limitation is also one of the major factor , practically its easy to use small size printers that easily fits your desktops however to manufacture large objects we need large printers that result in increased cost as well
The main reason of mentioning above issues is not to point out something but to realize that with every technology there are advantages, disadvantages and limitations.
Deberah, I'm glad you liked the article. Don't forget that there's an entirely other set of materials--metals and ceramics--used in 3D printing and other forms of additive manufacturing. We've covered them extensively in Design News. That said, there's definitely a need for a wider range of materials that can be used with a given printer.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: I could see a market for toy manufacturers here. I recall my kids playing with plastic action figures (specifically, Ghostbusters toys) that routinely got lost. I could imagine a toy manufacturers selling the action figure product as software to a consumer who wants to keep building new toys to replace the Ghostbusters that got lost in the daily shuffle. There must be thousands of action figure products at places like Toys R Us that could use this business model.
Chuck, that does make a lot of sense from the consumer's standpoint. But already, copyright and intellectual property issues have arisen around 3D printing and its application through the cloud, which is being called distributed and/or remote manufacturing. I can see those being a big problem for companies like Mattel. It's a lot like the whole digital rights thing about music and movies online.
I can see this system being used to reverse engineer older, non-CAD designs for a company's older product lines. Many companies still have parts that are only on paper drawings or just in 2D CAD. By purchasing this system, not only can they scan in older design into 3D, but they can also reprint them out and test fit them again to make sure that they assemble (and work) properly.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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?"
Elizabeth, I think Smartphones is the latest addition. Before that All in one printers are in place, which have a printer, scanner, copier, fax and phone.
Elizabeth, we may have think in the same way that the 3in1 printer came in to the market, now AI has come in the play where it can scan and re edit the Scand doc without hassle and re print. I feel that the 3D printer will also go through the same way.
Yes, Pubudu, I agree. Combining features into one product seems to be a cost-effective and efficient way to ensure new technologies become mainstream. As in my previous example, it did wonders for the mobile device market and actually changed people's lives (I speak from experience) when Apple introduced the first iPhone with integrated features.
I can see a lot of very interesting possibilities for a package such as this one. BUT it is not clear that it would be that very durable, based on the pricing of a number of coordinate measuring systems presently on the market. Those machines cost several orders of magnitude more, and only provide a bunch of dimensional data. So it seems that either this package is a real breakthrough, or that the other devices may be a bit overpriced.
But the applications for being able to reproduce a model that is a close dimensionable representation of the original, at some distant point, is certainly a sort of game changing thing. Now it would be possible to send a supplier a model so that there would be very little chance of misreading a drawing. And that is just one immediate potential use.
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.
Several posts seem to suggest that this technology won't expand beyound the corporate manufacturing realm. I disagree in one regard. While I don't expect "Joe Sixpack" to run out to BEST BUY to get his $1000 3D printer, either now or in 5 years, I'd be willing to bet that a lot of "home" engineers would invest in one for a lot of reasons, including advancing an idea for some new product by being able to fabricate the mechanical components in the privacy of their workshop/spare bedroom, etc.
Interestingly, recently I went to the NEWSDAY newspaper site. At the top of the home page appeared an advertisement for a TEKTRONIX MDO oscilloscope. Now, WHY would that appear in a general circulation newspaper? My only guess is that there is a cookie file in my PC which picked up on the fact that I recently went to the TEKTRONIX website. I'd be hard-pressed to know that this TEK ad appeared across the board to everyone who dialed into NEWSDAY on that particular day....
OLD_CURMUDGEON, I think you're spot on about tools like this one assisting and even enabling smaller and independent businesses. Regarding your second comment: yes, that ad's appearance is the result of a cookie. This is part of the "tailoring" experience--which uses website visitor tracking--now common in Google searches and web navigation. I especially notice it right after I've bought something online: ads for that website start appearing everywhere, often in incongruous contexts.
Ann, etal: That's ONE reason why as soon as I finish w/ a group of websites, I ALWAYS run CCLEANER. In case you're not familiar with this program, it's available as freeware or a "professional version. The freeware version works fine for me. Essentially what it does is to go through all the "temporary" folders, etc. and remove the contents. Seems to work pretty darn good for me, although the PCs here are still all WINDOWS XP PRO, so I can't vouch for WINDOWS 8. I had AVG TECHNOLOGIES also loaded, but it slowed down processing to such a crawl that I removed it. Ditto for SPYBOT.....
CCLEANER does a good job of deleting ALL cookies, although I recently noticed that they give you an option to retain the ones you want. WHY anyone would want to retain cookies so that the "owning" software can spy on a user, I have no idea, but evidently they got a sufficient # of complaints so they added it in.
IF ONY we could have MS-DOS ver 8 now........... Wouldn't that be a wonderful world????
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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