The Objet1000, the world's largest 3D printer as of December 2012, has a work envelope of 1,000mm x 800mm x 500mm at a 16 micron resolution. This image shows the scale of the Objet1000, definitely not something for the living room hobbyist.
Just read an article today elsewhere about the expanding 3D printer market. The gist of it was that a main area of expansion will be manufacturing contract shops that would invest in the printers and materials and then become the go-to place for people / companies that have the need but not the resources for the equipment. Sort of like a Kinko's / contract manufacturer combo. It seems like this would be a good product for a business like that.
The more durable plastics for 3D printers--used for auto and airplane parts, for example--generally go with the higher-end very expensive machines, since they're aimed at industrial apps, not at individuals or prototypes.
A Tokyo company, Miraisens Inc., has unveiled a device that allows users to move virtual 3D objects around and "feel" them via a vibration sensor. The device has many applications within the gaming, medical, and 3D-printing industries.
While every company might have their own solution for PLM, Aras Innovator 10 intends to make PLM easier for all company sizes through its customization. The program is also not resource intensive, which allows it to be appropriated for any use. Some have even linked it to the Raspberry Pi.
solidThinking updated its Inspire program with a multitude of features to expedite the conception and prototype process. The latest version lets users blend design with engineering and manufacturing constraints to produce the cheapest, most efficient design before production.
MIT students modified a 3D printer to enable it to print more than one object and print on top of existing printed objects. All of this was made possible by modifying a Solidoodle with a height measuring laser.
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