One nice thing about using aCAD program to "print" 3D images on your home 3D printer is that you can "fix them up" before printing them. Another nice thing is that you wouldn't have to bring home souveniors, you could just take a picture (lots of pictures) and print them later. Lots lighter on the luggage.
What a novel idea (and I don't mean it sarcastically): printing your own souvenirs from your vacation pix, after touching them up in CAD. Or for that matter, taking pictures of things around you (like redwood trees or other objects in nature). That gives me ideas for new materials and I wonder if anyone's working on them for 3D apps: ones that resemble natural substances, like wood or stone, and less like plastic.
I bet all the 3D printer and 3D content creation tool providers will get a lift just listening in on the exchange going on in this community. They're betting that once the tools make the technology more accessible, enthusiasm will be infectious and the applications endless. From the looks of the small burst we've got going here, they might just be on to something.
@Ann: Love your idea of the materials developments. I'm not so sure the ones you mentioned are developed yet, but they would sure get some good traction.
Beth, another reason I'm wondering about more natural-looking materials combines with the souvenir idea. I'm an ancient history fan, and many replicas of ancient statues or other art objects are being made in plastic resins now, instead of the older reconstituted concrete and stone materials, which I prefer. So I wonder if there's any research being done on non-plastic, non-metal 3D materials. Not sure what any other apps for those might be.
@Ann: There's definite activity in that area. Take a look at this slide show we did on 3D printing--there's some work being done to create museum-quality sculptures with 3D printing and new materials, including this bust of Thomas Jefferson.
Thanks, Beth, I remember that one now. According to the caption, though, it's made of the materials I'm trying to avoid: thermoplastics, although it's cleverly finished to look like bronze. I'm suggesting versions of the older materials that used to be used in museum replicas from the Smithsonian and the MOMA, for example, which were essentially reconstituted bronze and stone. Those replicas were a lot less expensive than cast bronze, but more expensive than the thermoplastic versions made now. Some of them mixed plastics with clay. I don't know what the manufacturing processes were. I can also conceive of something like them using wood.
Cadman-LT, I don't see why not, either. Except that's apparently a more expensive process. I didn't mind paying more for better quality statue and artifact reproductions, but apparently the museums and some of the third-party vendors decided to make them a lot cheaper with plastics. I don't know if the plastics they're now using for cheaper statues, etc. are made with 3D printing methods. In any case, the materials used with those machines must be designed for them. So that's why I'm wondering about how likely it is that new materials based on natural ones could be designed for 3D printing.
Now this isn't for replicas, but it would be good for sculptors. If they had a 3d medium to work in, maybe like a 3d hologram. They could have haptic feedback so it feels like clay(or whatever medium) and sculpt the hologram. Then just export that to a file nd print it out to a 3d printer. It's years away, but I bet it's the future.
Cadman-LT, the materials for making marble replicas look like marble, and stone like stone, etc. already exist. They were used for decades to make replicas--but not used in 3D printers. So I'm wondering whether it's possible to invent new materials like those for this purpose that can be used in 3D printers. Two reasons for wondering this: a) the older, more authentic looking and feeling materials that produced medium-range-priced statues, etc. are no longer in favor. Instead, much of what I've seen are made with resins that produce cheaper replicas with finer surface detail, but with a Barbie doll feel. b) 3D printers do such a good job of replicating detail quickly and are becoming less expensive all the time. a) is the problem, b) might be a solution.
Thank your for telling us about these services. I have stock in two leading 3D printer companies because I believe this is a huge growth industry that surprisingly few people know about. 3D printers combined with the services you report get us very close to what science fiction fans know as a Santa Clause machine. One can wish for a sailboat or any other fantasy and have it manufactured. Some work is even being done on printing biological organs and tissues.
I was just messing with photoshop. PS does make it a lot easier to do creative work, but it doesn't remove the artist. What I mean is, I am no artist, and no matter how good PS gets, I never will be one. It takes an artist to make art. What they are doing with CAD though...apparently can take the CAD designer right out of the picture(so to speak). Makes you wonder why you spent all of that time learning something that now just anyone can do.
The 3D printing revolution seems to have a knack for quickly moving technology ahead by way of collaborative effort and even a little friendly competition -- all of course in the name of scientific advancement.
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