background preloader

Why 3-D Printing Will Go the Way of Virtual Reality

Why 3-D Printing Will Go the Way of Virtual Reality
Update: Tim Maly has published an excellent counterpoint to this post over at the Tech Review Guest blog. There is a species of magical thinking practiced by geeks whose experience is computers and electronics—realms of infinite possibility that are purposely constrained from the messiness of the physical world—that is typical of Singularitarianism, mid-90s missives about the promise of virtual reality, and now, 3-D printing. As 3-D printers come within reach of the hobbyist—$1,100 for MakerBot’s Thing-O-Matic—and The Pirate Bay declares “physibles” the next frontier of piracy, I’m seeing usually level-headed thinkers like Clive Thompson and Tim Maly declare that the end of shipping is here and we should all start boning up on Cory Doctorow’s science fiction fantasies of a world in which any object can be rapidly synthesized with a little bit of energy and raw materials. Let’s start with the mechanism. Most 3-D printers lay down thin layers of extruded plastic. Related:  Additive ManufacturingUnderstand the 3d printing paradigm shift

Who will get the biggest slice of 3D-printed pie? | Crave MakerBot's Bre Pettis says his 3D printers are for everyone. 3D Systems' Cathy Lewis begs to differ. Each spokesperson made a strong pitch during our 3D printing roundtable at this year's Consumer Electronic Show. Who's right? 3D Systems: Old guard expertise 3D Systems announced its Cube 3D printer at CES this year, but the company has been involved with additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping since 1986. Along with its forthcoming $1,299 Cube, 3D Systems will also sell you its Sinterstation Pro DM250 (PDF), a $1 million machine that can print usable metal hip implants. Between the Cube and Sinterstation, 3D Systems offers 3D printers, laser-based stereolithography machines, and other additive manufacturing products for customers ranging from hobbyists to industrial and mechanical engineers. Cubify primarily offers two services. Cubify also lets designers sell their plans as standalone files. Does Cubify incorporate DRM or offer some other IP protection? "Nothing," Kulkarni said.

Legal battles loom as home 3D printing grows | Sci-Tech | Deutsche Welle | 26.01 The controversial website The Pirate Bay announced this week that it would begin hosting digital files for visitors to download and print out on their 3D printers. The site has coined a new word - "Physibles" - for data objects capable and feasible of becoming physical. "We believe that things like three-dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first," the group wrote on its website. "We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare parts for your vehicles." The site has faced extensive legal battles in its home country of Sweden over potential intellectual property infringement of digital content. Last year, a UK team built a 3D-printed model plane 3D printing, which has long existed in the industrial world, has meanwhile gained traction in hobbyist community. An unclear judicial landscape Last year, Dutch designer Ulrich Schwanitz developed a 3D object, called "impossible triangle," which he sold through the 3D design company Shapeways.

3D Printing and the end of ownership - my plastic future There is a lot of discussion online regarding the possible (inevitable?) copyright/intellectual property/patent/legal fights around personal 3D printing. However, I’ve yet to see anything about a different fight that I have experienced several times now, so I figured I’d write about it and see what others think. Mine, mine, mine! As long as I’ve been printing on my Thing-o-Matic I’ve felt joy, wonder, and a bit of pride over the things I’ve been able to design and 3D print and hold in my hand in a matter of minutes. Several times over the past months that I have been 3D printing things, I’ve misplaced a piece or two here or there; or like today, a whole bag of pieces! And then I realized in one of those physically stumble and grab onto something moments: I can simply replace these “things” by 3D printing more of them. Unlike other items that share this sense of personal ownership, I hadn’t paid money for these items. Questions questions… Do we then lose the wonder of our own pieces?

Kurzweil Warns Retailers at Shop.org to Plan for Major Paradigm Shifts Attendees of this year's Shop.org Summit were treated to a talk by inventor, author and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who said the exponential growth in IT/computing power means the world will be very different in 3 years. He warned retailers to make sure they build change into their plans and business models. "There are major paradigm shifts taking place in 3 years - every sector of society is being transformed, and retail cuts across everything we do," he said. He cited a development that could have a significant impact on retailers and on shipping carriers. Online sellers are already using 3D printers to "manufacture" their products - see this article in EcommerceBytes from June, "Shape of the Future: Make Your Own Products to Sell with Shapeways." Consumers will use augmented reality (AR) in stores, according to Kurzweil, so they will experience virtual reality and real reality at the same time. "Retail is the nexus where technology meets the consumer," he said.

First 3-D Printing Store Opens In U.S. The 3-D printing world just took another big leap into the consumer market. Next stop: world domination? MakerBot, the unofficial leader of the hobbyist 3-D printing movement, is putting the finishing touches on a consumer store located in the posh Manhattan neighborhood of NoHo. Sure, the rare 3-D printer can be found in the corners of business service centers across the United States. If the new business proves successful, 3-D printing stands to expand from a relatively high-cost hobbyist venture into a mainstream consumer market. "This is the first retail 3-D printing store" in the United States, said spokesperson Jenny Lawton from inside the shop. On the heels of today's announcement the company also unveiled a 3-D printer called Replicator 2. "It sets the standard in desktop 3-D printing," said MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis during a press briefing. Things From the Thingiverse Pettis and others founded MakerBot Industries in Brooklyn in 2009. 3-D World Domination?

At last: a low-cost, professional-grade light-based 3D printer Form 1 (credit: Formlabs) Formlabs’ new Form 1 3D printer could bring professional-grade 3-D prints to the home workshop. Desktop 3-D printing has largely been the domain of extrusion-based machines like MakerBot’s Replicator and homebrew RepRap designs. These lag behind the capabilities of pricier, professional stereolithography devices, where UV light cures incredibly thin layers of resin to create objects on par with manufactured goods. Developing this type of printer at a consumer price point has been an elusive goal until now. The Form 1 is a desktop-sized machine that creates professional-grade, light-cured 3-D prints, Wired reports. Their prototype units are fully functional and Formlabs will finance manufacturing via a Kickstarter campaign that broke their $100,000 target in 2.5 hours. Initial backers will be able to pre-order the Form 1 for $2,299 (only 25 will be available at this price); additional units are priced at $2499 and $2699, based on order of contribution. How it works

3D printing may put global supply chains out of business: report Will 3D printing make global supply chains unnecessary? That's a real possibility, states a recent report from Transport Intelligence. 3D printing (or "additive manufacturing," as it's called in industrial circles) takes offshore manufacturing and brings it back close to the consumer. It has enormous potential to shift the trade balance. Goods will be cheaper to reproduce within the domestic market, versus manufacturing and then shipping them from a distant low-wage country. The report, authored by John Manners-Bell of Transport Intelligence and Ken Lyon of Virtual-Partners Ltd., points to the growing role of automation in production resulting from 3D printing: "New technologies which are currently being developed could revolutionize production techniques, resulting in a significant proportion of manufacturing becoming automated and removing reliance on large and costly work forces. Manners-Bell and Lyon predict the following disruptions to the global supply-chain market:

Southampton engineers fly the world’s first ‘printed’ aircraft :: University of Southampton Southampton engineers fly the world’s first ‘printed’ aircraft Ref: 11/75 28 July 2011 SULSA is the world’s first ‘printed’ aircraft. Engineers at the University of Southampton have designed and flown the world’s first ‘printed’ aircraft, which could revolutionise the economics of aircraft design. The SULSA (Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft) plane is an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) whose entire structure has been printed, including wings, integral control surfaces and access hatches. No fasteners were used and all equipment was attached using ‘snap fit’ techniques so that the entire aircraft can be put together without tools in minutes. The project team worked in partnership with 3T RPD who undertook the manufacture and detailing of the design, as well as supplying laser sintering knowledge and expertise. The electric-powered aircraft, with a 2-metres wingspan, has a top speed of nearly 100 miles per hour, but when in cruise mode is almost silent.

How 3D printing will change the world Johannesburg-based company DemaPlasTech says 3D printing is going mainstream and will change manufacturing forever. By Duncan McLeod. An adjustable spanner created on an Objet 3D printer In a nondescript office park northwest of Fourways in Johannesburg, a printer was whirring away. But this was no ordinary printer. When TechCentral visited local Objet distributor DemaPlasTech, the R2,2m printer was humming away industriously, building a fully functional fitting for a garden tap (see video below). If the proponents of the technology are right, 3D printing could herald a revolution in the way the world makes things. The Economist , in an April cover story, suggested that 3D printing, also sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing, would lead to the digitisation of manufacturing and bring about the third industrial revolution. “The old way of making things involved taking lots of parts and screwing or welding them together,” the magazine wrote in a leader.

Related: