Design Hardware & Software

3D Systems Brings 3D Printing to Masses

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Rob Spiegel
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It was bound to happen
Rob Spiegel   1/13/2012 12:22:00 PM
But I didn't think it would happen so quickly. Nice Wow of an article, Beth. This will reach a pretty high-end market. But then personal computers were high end toys for a couple decades. Maybe this is the next generation's Erector Set.

Ann R. Thryft
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So this is how they target the consumer
Ann R. Thryft   1/13/2012 2:53:33 PM

Thanks, Beth, for the great article. This is the kind of low end use of 3D printing aimed at the home market that I was wondering about: what will consumers do with this technology and how will it be packaged for them? Here's the answer.

Charles Murray
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Charles Murray   1/13/2012 5:27:00 PM
This is really cool. It's one of those products that consumers find their own uses for, and then it just grows on its own. I'd like to think that it will inspire a lot fo young engineers.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Inspirational?
Beth Stackpole   1/16/2012 8:21:26 AM
I think that's a great point, Chuck. With products like these easily within reach of kids with a curiousity and interest science and engineering, there's no telling how far they can go. Prices still need to come down, though, but it's a definite compelling start.

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MakerBot watch out!
RoboKaren   1/16/2012 9:41:06 AM
Wow, that's an amazing price. Even the hardcore DIY hobbyists who have been using the $1099 MakerBot (http://store.makerbot.com/thing-o-matic-kit-mk7.html) will be tempted at the $1299 ready made package.

The good news is that these things will only get cheaper over time -- and more and more models will be easily downloadable from the web.


We live in exciting times!



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3D Printiing for the masses
bdcst   1/16/2012 10:16:28 AM
I've been watching 3D printing mostly for creating quick models for product design. Finished products often need to be made out of materials not practical for 3D printers.

So, my question is, what type of plastics are handled by this printer?  Thermal set, air cured, epoxy?  It looks like a fun gadget for making Cracker Jacks box toys and Flash Gordon secret decoder rings.  But what about thermally resistant parts?  What about parts that can conduct electricity?

Think about some of the stories we've read here about poorly made consumer appliances whose hard to replace plastic parts broke after a year or so of ownership.  Fridge door ice cube dispensers come to mind.  Instead of strugging to epoxy the part back together one could, with the right 3D "ink" cartridge, recreate an improved part on demand.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: 3D Printiing for the masses
Alexander Wolfe   1/16/2012 1:24:30 PM
That's a great point about prototypes and products oftentimes needing to be made out of materials which can't be handled by 3D printers. This is where the whole notion of a commodity market for small production runs hits a major stumbling block, and I'm surprised it hasn't prompted more discussion. The reality is, for many products this takes 3D printing back to its original purpose, which was prototyping. The movement towards small production runs, which everyone is all excited about now, may be a niche -- albeit an extremely broad niche -- application.

Ann R. Thryft
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Materials and processes are different
Ann R. Thryft   1/17/2012 12:03:45 PM

Beth, can you tell us what materials this machine uses but also what additive manufacturing process it requires? Whether the end result is a kid's toy or an aircraft component depends on both the process and the material. The two classes are quite different.

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Re: It was bound to happen
naperlou   1/20/2012 11:06:27 AM
Rob, I think you have a point there.  In the late 1980s we bought our first home computer.  It cost us $4,500 with a dot matrix printer and 2400 baud modem.  We had a 25% discount at the IBM store becuase we worked for a large company that purchased a lot from IBM.  Considering that high end laptops are running $1K to $2K.  This is well within the reach of lots of people.  It might even become something that is used for school projects in some areas.

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What to make?
ervin0072002   1/25/2012 10:11:57 AM
It's always been an issue of what to make with low price, high volume parts. Plastic forks, spoons or sporks is an example. They are so cheap retail stores have to sell them 200 at a time. Now i am not saying this will be viable for our homes any time soon. But rather then mass producing items of no value why not mass produce 3D cartridge. The day will come when the market will only trade 3D priners, 3D ink, and energy :) it might be hundreds of years too early but it will come.

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