Early 3D printers were highly complex and very expensive, targeting only the largest manufacturers that could afford their several hundred thousand dollar price tags. Not anymore.
The first platforms primarily served as rapid prototyping machines, used judiciously to build late-stage mock-ups of parts and, in some cases, manufacture full product designs. While a breakthrough in terms of reducing the complexity of building physical prototypes, 3D printing had limited impact given its still narrow customer base.
Then a series of advances pushed 3D printing into the mainstream. Improvements around materials, support for color, faster build speeds, and higher accuracy ensure that 3D printing can now be applied to a greater variety of applications and diverse product groups. Sticker shock has abated, with mid-level 3D printers under $30,000 and entry-level pro options less than $15,000.
A recent wave of home printers and service bureaus are opening up the technology to "makers" and consumers who want to flex their creative muscles, prototyping everything from food and fashion to artificial limbs.
Click the image below to see our slideshow of how 3D printing is evolving:
The N12 Bikini shows what's possible with the intersection of high fashion and 3D printing: a ready-to-wear bathing suit printed from Nylon 12 material.
Metro Rapid Prototyping is celebrating its 25th anniversary of providing customers with high quality, rapid prototyping services. Starting with one of the first stereolithography and prototype machines in the mid 1980's Metro Rapid Prototyping has expanded its service bureau to include five 3D machines. These machines produce models 24/7 to meet our customers' rapid prototyping and 3D printing needs.
Metro Rapid Prototyping has perfected the art of rapid prototyping.
Here is how we do it:
We work closely with you to insure accurate data transfer.
Your model is built on machines calibrated for accuracy and consistency.
Our experienced staff of skilled model makers cleans your stereolithography models with precision maintaining the close tolerances you expect in each part.
Multiple parts are produced from specially designed silicone molds.
Physical properties, color and texture that meet your design specifications using a large variety of urethane materials.
Insert molding, 2 shot molding, blow molding and extrusion models can be produced quickly without expensive tooling or long lead times.
Custom color and graphics to meet your most demanding requirements.
Casting patterns and investment cast (quickcast) patterns.
· We understand the importance of on time delivery and consistent excellent quality.
Although its not extremely new technology and has been around for quite some time it is very new to the mass market. Our company www.make-parts.com has have been around for about 5 years now and we are excited to see what the future holds. We see a time where a 3d printer could be as common in a house hold as your everyday inkjet printer. Only time will tell!
Good overview of how the big commercial companies (Zcorp, Stratasys, etc.) have opened their eyes to the lower end, price sensitive portion of the market. Companies like MakerBot Industries, Bits from Bytes, Fab At Home, etc. have been moving up a bit from the hobbyist realm. The two commercial paths will eventually meet; it will surely be interesting.
1) In response to Jack's comment, I can only quote a psychiatrist friend who often testified to a person's sanity in court "What's normal?"
2) Does any one at DN ever look at the page layout?
Click next, drag page up so you can see the picture & text, Click next, drag page up so you can see the picture & text, ...
Can the pages be laid out so that you don't have to continualy move the page to see it on a 19" screen, how about a 15" laptop wide aspect screen? That should be easy and normal for a high profile org like DN.
Those of you fascinated by this technology (as I am) should consider attending the annual RAPID conference, usually in Chicago, but Atlanta next year, May 22-24. You'll be *blown away* by the advances you never thought possible. Pure Star Trek.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.