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Slideshow: Content Creation Tools Push 3D Printing Mainstream
9/5/2012

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My Robot Nation made its initial debut with the mission to give people with no experience or knowledge of 3D CAD tools the ability to easily create their own designs that can be output by 3D printers or 3D printing services. Now part of 3D Systems' content creation portfolio, the technology will no doubt be folded into the Cubify.com community to help orchestrate the movement toward 3D design and printing for the masses.   (Source: 3D Systems)
My Robot Nation made its initial debut with the mission to give people with no experience or knowledge of 3D CAD tools the ability to easily create their own designs that can be output by 3D printers or 3D printing services. Now part of 3D Systems' content creation portfolio, the technology will no doubt be folded into the Cubify.com community to help orchestrate the movement toward 3D design and printing for the masses.
(Source: 3D Systems)

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naperlou
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Blogger
Looks like fun
naperlou   9/5/2012 9:23:50 AM
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Ann, these items look a lot like the Mold-A-Rama toys we used to get at the Muesems in the Chicago area.  These are injection molded plastic toys.  I really like them, but my wife was always wanting to get rid of them.  It was fun to watch them being made. 

On the other hand, I can see one problem with all this personal manufacturing.  These are, of course, novelties.  We used to collect small toys that were dropped off at a resales shop.  They were great for target practice.  (did I say that?)

richnass
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Re: Looks like fun
richnass   9/5/2012 9:31:09 AM
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Note that we have a feature story in the works on 3D printing. Written by our own Ann Thryft, it will be posted shortly.

Rob Spiegel
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Open source comes to 3D printing
Rob Spiegel   9/5/2012 11:46:21 AM
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Terrific slideshow, Beth. It looks like open source software is coming to 3D printing. It's wonderful to see the technology moving away from specialists and going out to the great unwashed budding design engineers.

Charles Murray
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3D for novices
Charles Murray   9/5/2012 5:30:23 PM
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Great slide show. Image 10 hits on a subject that will be important in the long run. By making 3D modeling systems for novices, Dassault will open the venue to kids who might later become engineers, industrial designers, or architects. In ten years, we'll have a whole generation of up-and-coming engineers who will be ready to use these systems for tasks we can't even imagine yet.  

Cadman-LT
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Platinum
3D Printing Software
Cadman-LT   9/5/2012 7:38:47 PM
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I enjoyed the slide show Beth. I figured I would see Autodesk in there.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: 3D Printing Software
Beth Stackpole   9/11/2012 7:42:24 AM
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@CadmanLT: You're absolutely right. Autodesk should be in there and is as this is a big focus for them. Check out the slides on Autodesk 123D Make and Autodesk Catch.

Cadman-LT
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Platinum
Re: 3D Printing Software
Cadman-LT   9/12/2012 12:50:13 PM
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Oh I did, pretty amazing stuff.

RPLaJeunesse
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Iron
Yet another free tool
RPLaJeunesse   9/6/2012 10:34:36 AM
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Don't forget FREECAD at http://sourceforge.net/projects/free-cad/. It would be interesting to see this compared to the commercial 3D packages that sell for under $1000.

kf2qd
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Platinum
Re: Yet another free tool
kf2qd   4/5/2013 9:28:39 AM
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As with any other technology, you must use the correct tool/process to get good results. The one who commented about the funnel, due to the constraints of the process, a funnel is probably one of the worst products to make using this process. Large work envelope and the finished product has a very low volumn of material for tha space it occupies. Similar to turning that same funnel from a solid piece of alluminum. Lots of empty space.

It is a prototyping medium. As such, anything made by this process can be made cheaper in volumn. There are some parts that will turn out to be cheaper by this process, and it may not always be obvious which parts are the best for the process.  As a macinist I had some simple parts that could be made very profitably on the 1 CNC machine we had. Other simple parts could be made cheaper on a manual machine. We had some complex parts that were much cheaper when made on the much higher cost per hour CNC machine. Others that came off the more expensive process becasue the results were better.

The one thing this procees makes availbla is the ability to make a part without having to have a shop with a variety of expensive machines that require aexperience to run. It can be done by reltively unskilled people on a desktop. Now they just need to learn some of the other engineering that helps them understand the limitations of the process and products.

PGillaspy
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Gold
Not quite consumer ready
PGillaspy   9/6/2012 10:50:42 AM
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I went to a online site for consumer 3D printing, sculpteo.com. They provide software online to design your object. I wanted a custom funnel shape with 6 inch wide mouth and 5 inch length.  After going through the design process using their software, cost was $274 quantity one made from the cheapest plastic material they had to offer. I would have to say that 3D printing is not consumer ready.

etmax
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Gold
Re: Not quite consumer ready
etmax   9/10/2012 9:31:33 PM
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I bought myself one of those "cheap" 3D printers from Cubify (~$1300), and have been using Alibre (personal version ~$200) which is as easy to use as non-Google Sketchup, and was able to create an object 130mm circular at a height of 25mm for around $6. That to me is difinitely consumer ready given many consumers have an $800 iPhone and $900 iPad or some Android equivalents. I had a little trouble with some designs that had wide shallow sloping angles, but the chess pieces were brilliant

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Not quite consumer ready
Beth Stackpole   9/12/2012 3:31:21 PM
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@etmax: Good point about comparing the cost of these printers to expensive smart phones. Once you cross the $500 price point, you are definitely on par with a lot of equipment people are already buying.

MartinStevens
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Iron
Designing in 3D
MartinStevens   9/6/2012 12:22:14 PM
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There are several ways of designing in 3D. The most common one to date is 3D CAD, but that limits 3D computerised design to those who are 3D CAD proficient, which is a tiny percentage of the population.

For everyone else, at least for those who might like to design, the alternatives are:

1. Cheat - just download someone else's design from Ponoco, Shapeways etc.

2. Use some of the free design packages such as Sculpteo and Google SketchUp (or is without the 'Google' now that it has been sold?). Limited capability but interesting for some applications. SketchUp does not produce brilliant .stl files for printing so far, I have been told.

3. Use our products!

At A1 Technologies, we offer two ways of creating 3D designs, which are low cost, quick to learn, easy to use, and powerful in that they can do and deliver.

You can get a laser scanner for around GBP450 which enables you to create a virtual 3D file of a physical object. This can then be replicated (reverse engineering) or the file an be used as the starting point for a new design.

We also offer a hapticated (force feedback on the mouse - virtual sculpting) 3D creative design package for under GBP600. The youngest user has been 3 years old, and the oldest 85! Teenagers have told us it is "cool". What higher praise is there?

We do not claim that our products are the ideal solution for every application, but for our target market, which is schools and colleges, they hit the spot, and allow youngsters to be creative, and to turn their concepts into 3D modles, which they can then turn into physical models using our Maxit £d printer (under GBP1,000) or our 5 axis CNC mill (under GBP9,000). But you do not have to be a school or college to benefit from a unique portfolio of 3D tools.

Martin Stevens

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