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View Full Version : In the future, everyone will be as cool as Nakman


Hulk
05-08-2007, 09:44 PM
This is way cool.

May 7, 2007
Beam It Down From the Web, Scotty

By SAUL HANSELL (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/saul_hansell/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
PASADENA, Calif. — Sometimes a particular piece of plastic is just what you need. You have lost the battery cover to your cellphone, perhaps. Or your daughter needs to have the golden princess doll she saw on television. Now.

In a few years, it will be possible to make these items yourself. You will be able to download three-dimensional plans online, then push Print. Hours later, a solid object will be ready to remove from your printer.

It’s not quite the transporter of “Star Trek,” but it is a step closer.

Three-dimensional printers have been seen in industrial design shops for about a decade. They are used to test part designs for cars, airplanes and other products before they are sent to manufacturing. Once well over $100,000 each, such machines can now be had for $15,000. In the next two years, prices are expected to fall further, putting the printers in reach of small offices and even corner copy stores.

The next frontier will be the home. One company that wants to be the first to deliver a 3-D printer for consumers is Desktop Factory (http://www.desktopfactory.com/), started by IdeaLab (http://www.idealab.com/), a technology incubator here. The company will start selling its first printer for $4,995 this year.

Bill Gross, chairman of IdeaLab, says the technology it has developed, which uses a halogen light bulb to melt nylon powder, will allow the price of the printers to fall to $1,000 in four years.

“We are Easy-Bake Ovening a 3-D model,” he said. “The really powerful thing about this idea is that the fundamental engineering allows us to make it for $300 in materials.”

Others are working on the same idea.

“In the future, everyone will have a printer like this at home,” said Hod Lipson (http://www.mae.cornell.edu/lipson/), a professor at Cornell University (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/cornell_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org), who has led a project that published a design for a 3-D printer (http://www.fabathome.org/) that can be made with about $2,000 in parts. “You can imagine printing a toothbrush, a fork, a shoe. Who knows where it will go from here?”

Three-dimensional printers, often called rapid prototypers, assemble objects out of an array of specks of material, just as traditional printers create images out of dots of ink or toner. They build models in a stack of very thin layers, each created by a liquid or powdered plastic that can be hardened in small spots by precisely applied heat, light or chemicals.

3D Systems (http://www.3dsystems.com/), a pioneer in the field, plans to introduce a three-dimensional printer later this year that will sell for $9,900.

“We think we can deliver systems for under $2,000 in three to five years,” said Abe Reichental, the company’s chief executive. “That will open a market of people who are not just engineers — collectors, hobbyists, interior decorators.”

Even at today’s prices, uses for 3-D printers are multiplying.

Colleges and high schools are buying them for design classes. Dental labs are using them to shape crowns and bridges. Doctors print models from CT scans to help plan complex surgery. Architects are printing three-dimensional models of their designs. And the Army Corps of Engineers (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/army_corps_of_engineers/index.html?inline=nyt-org) used the technology to build a topographical map of New Orleans to help plan reconstruction.

Entrepreneurs like Fabjectory are beginning to find interest in 3-D printing among aficionados of online games, like Second Life and World of Warcraft, in which players design their own characters. Electronic Arts hopes to offer a similar service to create three-dimensional models of characters in Spore, a game to be introduced later this year.

Eventually, 3-D design software will let people make sculptures and design housewares at home.

But 3-D printers may be useful for people who do not want to learn how to use such sophisticated programs.

IdeaLab hopes companies will sell three-dimensional designs over the Internet. This would allow people to print out replacements for a dishwasher rack at home. And it would open up new opportunities for toys.

“You could go to Mattel.com (http://mattel.com/), download Barbie, scan your Mom’s head, slap the head on Barbie and print it out,” suggests Joe Shenberger, the director of sales for Desktop Factory. “You could have a true custom one-off toy.”

How many people will want such a thing? It is impossible to say for sure, but some who work with the current crop of 3-D printers say they will be very attractive when the price puts them in reach of home users.

“When laser printers cost more than $5,000, nobody knew they needed desktop publishing,” said A. Michael Berman, chief technology officer for the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, which has a half-dozen 3-D printers for its students to use. “The market for 3-D printing isn’t as big as for laser printers, but I do believe it is huge.”

And Desktop Factory’s version is meant to be compact enough for a home office — 25 by 20 by 20 inches — with a weight of less than 90 pounds.

The origin of Desktop Factory was not so much a desire to print Barbies as a frustration with the Internet. After making a lot of money starting Internet companies like CitySearch, IdeaLab lost even more with flops like eToys. With its investors disgruntled, the company shrank, slowed down and turned its attention from the Web to technologies like solar energy and robotics.

“We traded bits for atoms,” Mr. Gross said.

IdeaLab’s new interest in things required it to build a machine shop, and eventually Mr. Gross bought a 3-D printer from Stratasys (http://www.dimensionprinting.com/). IdeaLab engineers kept the machine going around the clock, experimenting with designs.

Mr. Gross even downloaded a model of an octopus (http://www.turbosquid.com/FullPreview/Index.cfm/ID/246062/SID/255900/blFP/1) to print out for a project on vertebrates in his daughter’s eighth-grade biology class.

This convinced Mr. Gross that there was a market for 3-D printers, especially if the price could be cut.

At first, the prospects looked difficult. The three leading 3-D printer companies all used different technologies, but none seemed simple enough to be modified for inexpensive home devices. Stratasys makes models out of liquid plastic using a very expensive heated print head that resembles a glue gun. 3D Systems uses lasers to harden liquid polymers. And the Z Corporation, (http://www.zcorp.com/) a unit of the private equity group EQT, builds models by squirting a sort of glue over layers of sandlike plaster.

In a brainstorming session, Kevin Hickerson, an IdeaLab engineer, proposed the method the company would ultimately choose. First the machine spreads a powdered plastic over a roller, which is heated to just below the plastic’s melting point. Then a sharply focused beam of light melts dots of plastic on the roller. After the unmelted powder is brushed off, the roller deposits the hot plastic onto a platform. This process is repeated until the object is assembled from the bottom up.

It took IdeaLab a year to prove that the basic approach would work and a second year to develop the technology to get the layers to stick to each other properly. (The model is gently squished, as in a sandwich press, after each layer is applied.) And it has taken two more years to write the required software and to create a working design for the first production model.

IdeaLab has made about 10 of the printers so far. It is preparing to begin production at its combination office and factory in an industrial building half a mile from the company’s headquarters. This summer it will start to deliver its initial test machines to the 200 customers who have agreed to buy them.

Desktop Factory says the machines pose no hazard to users because they use a safe nylon-based material.

Some in the 3-D printer industry say Desktop Factory may have cut too many corners. Its first model makes objects with rather jagged edges because it applies layers that are 0.01 inch thick, two to three times thicker than many other machines’. Moreover, it uses a nylon mixed with aluminum and glass that produces gray objects, with a rather sandy finish that many do not find attractive.

Kathy Lewis, the chief executive of Desktop Factory, said the company saw enormous initial demand among small engineering firms that simply cannot afford the larger printers, as well as high schools and colleges that teach computer-aided design.

To appeal to the home market, she said, the company is trying to develop new materials — a smoother plastic and a very soft, bendable substance suitable for toys.

Much of the research in the field is about how to develop materials of various properties that can be applied in tiny digital specs. Cornell’s 3-D printer, called Fab@Home, is particularly suited to those experiments because it moves a syringe in three dimensions that can be filled with any substance. So far, it has built objects out of silicone, plaster, Cheez Whiz and Play-Doh.

Noy Schaal, a high-school freshman in Louisville, modified the design with a heated syringe to extrude a chocolate bar, decorated with the letters KY for Kentucky. (Koba Industries (http://www.kobask8.com/) has started selling kits with all the parts needed to make the Fab@Home design for about $3,000.)

Professor Lipson said researchers are developing ways to use the process to build parts with more complex functions. They have preliminary designs for batteries, sensors, and parts that can bend when electricity is applied.

“A milestone for us would be to print a robot that would get up and walk out of the printer,” Professor Lipson said. “Batteries included.”



http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/07/technology/07copy.html

Hulk
05-08-2007, 09:47 PM
Desktop Factory plans to sell its first three-dimensional printer, below, for $4,995.

Hulk
05-08-2007, 09:48 PM
3D "Printing" at home:

Hulk
05-08-2007, 09:49 PM
Objects made by the new printer.

Jenny Cruiser
05-08-2007, 09:51 PM
Nice. I don't need one, but I want one. :)

Hulk
05-08-2007, 10:03 PM
The machine made a turtle, top, and Gumby, from a plastic powder.

Vitesse_6
05-08-2007, 10:03 PM
Far out!
Replicator, Tea, Earl Grey, Hot. IIRC

Vitesse_6
05-08-2007, 10:05 PM
This could be great for us in the Jewelry business, Make a plastic object then cast it in your desired metal, I know they have a few different types similar, But they either add wax or cut it out.

nakman
05-08-2007, 10:59 PM
Ha ha ha.. I actually read this article at work today.


Brian lots of jewlery casters use wax masters from rapid prototyping machines, the best one is probably the Envisiontec Perfactory http://www.envisiontec.de/02hperfa.htm

Red_Chili
05-09-2007, 07:03 AM
I will be REALLY impressed when you can print out a new birfield on the trail!

ginericLC
05-09-2007, 07:58 AM
That would be really cool for do custom interior mods. Making switch blanks or GPS mounts etc....

Maddmatt
05-09-2007, 10:06 AM
The model train guys are going to go nuts. Model trains, model builders, R/C hobbyists, doll houses..... Go to the grocery store and look at how many magazines are on the shelf for just these hobbys. I think the potential for something like this is huge. "I need to order it from Tower Hobbys before this weekends race..." will become "I downloaded the specs from the forum, let me print it out and we'll race this afternoon".

And yeah "Earl Gray, hot..." I like the one where the gypsyies (how do you spell the plural of gypsy?) are brewing their own hooch because they don't like the synthyhol from the replicator. Did I just let on too much about my college days?

Anyway, cool product. As cool as Nakman, I don't know......

nakman
05-09-2007, 10:49 AM
We've got a guy in our shop who works part time, he's retired. He also is a model train hobbiest, so yeah we've run our share of train parts. He runs the masters here then casts them at home, makes his own replicas. Eric I'll send you a switch blank and CB holder, what color's your interior? And I'm surprised none of you pointed out the flaw that the writer referred to the transporter, not the replicator. Geez, you call yourselves trekkies..


One big issue with toys & dolls is not all the materials are FDA approved, or at all safe to be sucked on. The nylon is ok, but the SLA resin is pretty bad for you, as are the urethanes, the PolyJet parts, and the waxes. That will be a real hurdle to overcome before every dad will run out and buy a 3D printer to make doll arms for his kid... until then just buy sintered nylon from me!

Inukshuk
05-09-2007, 12:14 PM
And I'm surprised none of you pointed out the flaw that the writer referred to the transporter, not the replicator. Geez, you call yourselves trekkies..

Too funny!

RockRunner
05-09-2007, 01:39 PM
Pretty sweet, I am with Jenny, don't NEED one but WANT ONE!!!

Way cool stuff.

Rezarf
05-09-2007, 03:55 PM
Is this just a cool SLA machine? Back at Georgia Tech we just got wind that the ME students were looking for things to run in the SLA machine... as an Industrial Design major, I must have gotten about 3-4K worth of free prototypes done on one of those little machines. I know they were not 5k back then.

I want one, that prints in Titanium! :D

Drew

nakman
05-11-2007, 10:09 PM
Is this just a cool SLA machine? Back at Georgia Tech we just got wind that the ME students were looking for things to run in the SLA machine... as an Industrial Design major, I must have gotten about 3-4K worth of free prototypes done on one of those little machines. I know they were not 5k back then.

I want one, that prints in Titanium! :D

Drew

Drew, same basic technology but different from traditional SLA. The M-270 from EOS will print in Titanium, also stainless. wanna go in on one? Only ~$800K. If you (or anyone) really needed a custom RP'd metal part I could actually source that for you.. but get your wallet out it'll be 4 digits for sure.

MDH33
05-12-2007, 01:38 PM
We have a Titanium RP machine at work as well as a bunch of the SLA machines. The Titanium uses an Electron beam to melt Titanium powder into solid parts, pretty cool stuff. We use all of our machines to produce models for surgical planning and other medically related stuff. We convert CT scans into STL files then produce models in the machines in various plastics or Titanium. The Titanium parts haven't been approved by the gov'ment yet for implantation, but soon enough. You'll be able to get a CT scan, have a model created of your joint, skull, etc, then we'll use that to produce a titanium replacement part for you. ;) :cool:

Rock Dog
05-12-2007, 07:54 PM
All this stuff is really cool!
Isn't titanium powder pretty pricey?

PabloCruise
05-13-2007, 06:33 AM
I imagine we might approach the Nakman cool factor, but it will be hard to actually achieve....

Rezarf
05-13-2007, 09:27 PM
I imagine we might approach the Nakman cool factor, but it will be hard to actually achieve....

Agreed! :D

Drew

Vitesse_6
05-14-2007, 08:02 AM
Ha ha ha.. I actually read this article at work today.


Brian lots of jewlery casters use wax masters from rapid prototyping machines, the best one is probably the Envisiontec Perfactory http://www.envisiontec.de/02hperfa.htm

Sorry about the delay in reply, I just noticed this :rolleyes:
Thanks I will have a look :thumb:

Hulk
01-25-2011, 05:48 PM
Print your own flute
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/nstv/2011/01/print-your-own-flute.html

Cheap 3D printers can now quickly make plastic replicas of almost anything, from an insect's wings to copies of their own parts. But now Amit Zoran and his team from the MIT Media Lab have used one to recreate the intricate design of a flute (see video above).

MDH33
01-25-2011, 06:39 PM
Print your own flute
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/nstv/2011/01/print-your-own-flute.html

Cheap 3D printers can now quickly make plastic replicas of almost anything, from an insect's wings to copies of their own parts. But now Amit Zoran and his team from the MIT Media Lab have used one to recreate the intricate design of a flute (see video above).

A flute? Not bad. But how about the intricate design of the human brain, including a cool rubber removable tumor? :hill:

I built this one back in the days when I worked at a "medical rapid prototyping" shop.

http://mdhuber.smugmug.com/photos/1168093090_jSDnt-M.jpg

http://mdhuber.smugmug.com/photos/1168093088_j4xcJ-M.jpg

http://mdhuber.smugmug.com/photos/1168093062_VBCc5-M.jpg

nakman
01-25-2011, 08:30 PM
Way cool, Martin. Did you draw that too?

rover67
01-25-2011, 11:31 PM
Hey, that was for us!

MDH33
01-26-2011, 07:50 AM
Hey, that was for us!

Yeah, we even put the big Medtronic logo in the base. It was for showing off some surgical Nav gear.

Way cool, Martin. Did you draw that too?

Thanks Tim. I didn't draw it on paper, but I used haptic devices to "sculpt" and draw on the 'puter, and then I hand painted the brain.

nakman
01-26-2011, 09:24 AM
Awesome stuff. hey I'm going to be on TV again this spring.. I'll keep this thread in mind. :eek:

corsair23
01-26-2011, 03:03 PM
Cheap 3D printers can now quickly make plastic replicas of almost anything

I wonder what they consider to be "cheap" :confused:

treerootCO
05-23-2011, 04:24 PM
http://www.tuwien.ac.at/news/news_detail/article/7009//EN/

Getting smaller....not sure about cheaper yet ;)

frontrange
05-23-2011, 05:13 PM
I have one of these, $1,300 and a weekend to build
http://store.makerbot.com/makerbot-thing-o-matic.html

DaveInDenver
07-08-2011, 03:36 PM
ZboxMsSz5Aw

rover67
07-08-2011, 04:35 PM
that powder (corn starch) is a pain to deal with in an environment with gravity... i'd hate to have to deal with it in space.

Rezarf
07-08-2011, 10:57 PM
I'm ready for one that does powder steel and turns out FJ40 tubs... or 45 bodies.

nakman
07-09-2011, 09:01 AM
alright since someone bumped this thread, may as well get my full 15 minutes.. have fun :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVOHneb0_r8

treerootCO
08-08-2011, 10:52 AM
http://www.markuskayser.com/work/solarsinter/

I see a cruiser in there too ;)

treerootCO
07-05-2012, 10:20 AM
Manual 3D printing for kids :)

http://www.haba.de/haba/produktAnsicht.htm?c=PC_P_004887&twk=TW_NEU_HK_P_Natur&hk=HK_NEU&rk=Produkte

Snowrun
07-05-2012, 07:26 PM
I would totally rapid prototype Land Cruiser guy action figures. We could have an Uncle Ben action figure or a CruiserDan action figure. May be a "saluting" Nuclearlemon action figure. Then I would start anti-Land Cruiser guy action figures. Something like a Backwoodsgoop guy that looks like the swamp thing or the notorious flipper....
:thumb:

Inukshuk
07-05-2012, 10:50 PM
Dr. Nakamats! His Japanese Doppelganger.

The Invention of Dr. Nakamats - on Hulu
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1993420/

http://video.answers.com/what-should-i-know-about-teflon-286089557

Woodsman
07-06-2012, 06:33 AM
We've come a long way since that ol' stereo lithography machine I used in college (early 90s) . . . which was ridiculously expensive.

nakman
07-06-2012, 08:37 AM
We've come a long way since that ol' stereo lithography machine I used in college (early 90s) . . . which was ridiculously expensive.

It all depends on what you want from a 3D printer. If you're having fun with it, making toys, getting cursory levels of mechanical design feedback, then these new printers are really sweet.

Check out the Mojo by Stratasys http://www.mojo3dprinting.com/?gclid=CLHpwYCihbECFUMCQAodr2pWEg $189/month, or buy it for $5k.

I'm sure in the next 5 years I will be getting one, most likely a Makerbot or similar.