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.
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.
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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