Both printers also feature MakerWare, new software for driving the Replicator printer. Touted for its simple GUI and ability to load multiple STL or OBJ files simultaneously, MakerBot officials said it's easier to get more models printed faster, while also simplifying the process of choosing print settings and moving, rotating, and scaling models as they are readied for printing. In addition, MakerWare's new slicing engine is up to 20 times faster than its predecessor -- another capability officials said will facilitate the output of 3D models.
Besides the new printers, MakerBot launched an interesting twist in its marketing and distribution strategy -- one it hopes will help make the consumer case for 3D printing. The company opened a flagship retail location in Manhattan, where it will not only sell 3D printers, but also 3D printed gifts and accessory, in addition to providing demonstrations and packaging up what it calls "the full MakerBot experience" as a way to get more people introduced to the ins and outs of 3D printing.
And MakerBot isn't alone is trying to mimic Apple's wildly successful retail strategy and put 3D printing on the map for a wider audience. Diego Porqueras, the maker of the Bukobot open-source 3D printer, just opened the doors to Deezmaker, a retail store in Pasadena, Calif. Deezmaker, set in a local strip mall, will sell the Bukobot and potentially other 3D printers along with parts and other 3D printing-related products. Porqueras is hoping that his location, within walking distance from CalTech and a short drive from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, will do a lot to help his 3D printing cause.
Jim, I noticed the same things about the article. I included the link as an example of what's out there. If you Google "PLA and 3D printing", you''ll come up with a lot of other sources, some of which have a very different take. Beth's article says "PLA was chosen because of its strength and ability to make very large prints without cracking or warping."
Gosh, Ann – That article is less than encouraging as an endorsement for PLA. It actually says it is best used as the support-structure for the primary material being ABS; that the PLA will degrade away, leaving the host ABS in place. The article is about 2 years old. I'm hoping that if MakerBot has invested their product line on this material as the primary building block, that it has rugged, stable material characteristics. Guess the Jury's still out.
Beth, I notice that the Replicator 2 uses bioplastic PLA, not ABS. This appears to be an emerging trend in additive manufacturing, at least at the higher end. Do you know of any other 3D printers that use bioplastics?
Siemens released Intosite, a cloud-based, location-aware SaaS app that lets users navigate a virtual production facility in much of the same fashion as traversing through Google Earth. Users can access PLM, IT, and other pertinent information for specific points on a factory floor or at an outdoor location.
Sharon Glotzer and David Pine are hoping to create the first liquid hard drive with liquid nanoparticles that can store 1TB per teaspoon. They aren't the first to find potential data stores, as Harvard researchers have stored 700 TB inside a gram of DNA.
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