No doubt 3D printing is becomming very common these days but initially this tecnology was considered too expensive but after reading this post i am very excited to hear that a 3D printer can come within$1000 as well and that can be used very easily in house holds as well .This is really amazing .
I believe the other company might have been Helisys which used the Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) rapid prototyping process. I have seen this process also and as stated below it has advantages and disadvantages (like every rapid prototyping process).
I remember my father fixing my broken toys. A painstaking labor of love, using exacto knives, glue, and other parts. That effort could be diminished by the 3D printer. "Hey son, broken toy? Let's print another one. While we wait, lets watch TV."
Also, ask any toy collector, 3D prints will never fly. Originals are always best. So, that market is gone.
Bill, can you imagine how many action figures would be made every year using this technology? Kids could have new bad guys and good guys every day. Boys would fill their rooms with new dinosaurs. They could create whole armies to fight the Civil War one day and the battles of the knights of the round table the next. The question is, how would the toymakers monetize it?
This will create a need for 3D part files on the web. Many homes find small pieces break off of various objects (vacuum cleaners, furniture, etc.) or get lost and to be able to make your own replacement instead of trying to locate one in a parts store would be super. I have several things I can think of to make to replace broken or missing parts of things that are old and out of support from the original manufacturer. It isn't clear if some who own 3D scanners might be able to get some money for the 3D files they could put on the web to cover their costs (for items long out of production).
There used to be a company, now out of business I believe, that used the layered paper approach to SLA. The paper was roll fed, and was similar to a craft paper in density. After each additional added layer of glue and paper was added and rolled flat, the laser head would actually cut/score the top layer one paper thickness deep, and it would cut the non-model areas into small rectangles, which would become small removable cubes when the process was done. It was quite good in creating larger volume parts, and was unique in that the (pre) part came off the machine as a giant cube. The support structures were then knocked loose, and the remaining part has of the general density of hardwood, and could be post-processed by sanding. The one caveat was that there could not be any encapsulated part zones so small that the small support cubes could not be removed. I used this company to create parts which I then used as casting master patterns for cast iron parts.
Make Magazine has a special edition out with a focus on home-based 3D Printing. They have reviews for 15 printers. Most are based on extruding plastic, and most have decent resolutuion. Since my first exposure to SLS prototypes in the late 90's, we have come a long way.
My first thoughts of a killer application for the paper-based Mcor printer would be for prop and model-making houses for TV and movies -- situations where just having the 3D image of a prop is all that is required to make the shot. The item does not need to have the correct material properties of density, weight, strength, flexibility -- only looks.
That being said if I had this printer at home as a kid, before the summer was out my bedroom would have been a complete replica of the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise, the Temple of Doom, or the Bat Cave. This invention could single-handedly save the pulp industry from our move to paperless offices...
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