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3D Printing On Demand

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the safer-than-a-cnc-machine dept.

Printer 106

Iddo Genuth writes "The Netherlands based company Shapeways is beta testing a new service allowing people to print three-dimensional models. Customers can upload designs or use a creation tool hosted at the Shapeways website, then order a printed model of their designs for less than $3 per square centimeter. The printed items are shipped to the customer in ten days or less, bringing 3D printing to consumers and not just companies large enough to afford their own printers."

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106 comments

Eh? (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344369)

Shouldn't that be cubic centimetres? Y'know... The third dimension.

 

Re:Eh? (1)

Silas is back (765580) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344431)

That doesn't matter for printers, you only get 2D-images out of it, even when you print a 3D model.

Oh, wait...

Re:Eh? (3, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344841)

You can get your own printer for under a grand from Bits from Bytes [bitsfrombytes.com]. Then you can use it to make them for your friends.

I'm planning on getting one in the new year.

Re:Eh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25349455)

Then you can use it to make friends.

There. Fixed that for you.

Re:Eh? (4, Funny)

TheEmptySet (1060334) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344447)

You can happily use a 2D (Hausdorf) measure on a 3D set. No problem. But the result would be infinite. I imagine they plan to be quite expensive.

Re:Eh? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344811)

except a centimetre is one dimensional

Re:Eh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344941)

Don't forget, it is spelled "centimeter". That and things are supposed to be measured in inches, as God intended, not centimeters! Down with metric!

Re:Eh? (3, Insightful)

Zey (592528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345133)

Oh, for goodness sake: try to at least catch up to the twentieth century, will you.

Yes, look, I know you're still agonising over whether to teach creationism in school science classes and burn witches over there, but, you must surely realise the consequences of your letting the world leave you behind, right?

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25353295)

Anti-American rants are insightful, now?

Why won't my country get with the program...? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25355287)

Anti-American rants are insightful, now?

Well, in this case... yeah.

Centimetre (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345141)

Only the savages use "meter", I hear they genitally mutilate their male children too. It's barbaric.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25348551)

SI is French and the official spellings are french as well. You are a slug.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25353975)

Wrong, SI is Spanish for "yes". ... and you are an escargot.

Re:Eh? (2, Interesting)

deniable (76198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344487)

They may be measuring the area printed in each layer. Find out the layer thickness and you can convert to volumes. I'd say it's still going to be expensive.

Re:Eh? (2, Funny)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344753)

Shouldn't that be cubic centimetres? Y'know... The third dimension.

I thought it was obvious! They have invented an origami machine crossed with a standard printer.

Actually, that sounds quite interesting... Now off to RTFA.

Re:Eh? (4, Informative)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345515)

"Shapeways -- 2d pricing for 3d products"!!!

As always, the summary website is wrong. If you go to shapeways.com they explain:

How is your pricing calculated?

Our pricing is based upon the actual amount of material used in your model. So the actual volume of your finished object not the volume of the bounding box. If you click on the order tab next to any model the system will calculate the price for you. All prices includes shipping and handling.

Waaaaaah? (5, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344371)

So will they mind if some of the 'prototypes' have an eerie resemblance to 40k minitures?

Re:Waaaaaah? (5, Funny)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344389)

Probably not, but I'm sure they will get tired of receiving over nine thousand penis designs though.

Re:Waaaaaah? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346453)

Probably not. There are cheaper ways to fabricate a dildo.

Re:Waaaaaah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25356197)

Maybe so, but that won't stop the dildos from trying to print 3D phalluses.

Re:Waaaaaah? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344509)

Not sure where the first reply went, but wouldn't the GW originals be cheaper. Now, that's a scary thought.

Assuming they meant 3 per cubic cenimeter (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344615)

At least for the plastic ones, since I estimate (by tossing a few Orks into a half-full measuring cup) that it would be about 35 bucks to make 10 Boyz, which you can get in a 10-pack for 22.50 from GW. That's not to mention that I'm sure the resolution on their 3-dollar-a-ml models aren't quite as good as a plastic model from a mold.

Although it's certainly possible that I'd consider having some custom parts made this way, depending on what kind of plastic they're using.

Re:Assuming they meant 3 per cubic cenimeter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344645)

The resolution (depending on the material) is around either 1mm or 0.1mm can't recall exactly. But either way lots of detail can be shown.

Also they only charge for material used, so the base cost calculation is based on actual model volume, not just the dimensions.

However i do think if lots of GW models start popping up, shapeways will be getting some phone calls :) I recall gamesworkshop being pretty uptight about such things. (understandably)

Re:Assuming they meant 3 per cubic cenimeter (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345501)

http://www.shapeways.com/about/material-options [shapeways.com]

Pricing and material info. The most expensive material is $2.89. But since you would have to paint it you could probably get away with the $2.77 one even the $1.89 which seems to still provide plenty of detail but is more springy. They provide sample pictures of the output of each material and asides from the first one the resolution seems to be quite good.

It's also worth pointing out that you could probably save some money by hollowing out the thicker parts of your models.

Dupe. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344383)

http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/01/1344232

A new copyright battle? (5, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344407)

Right now this process is quite expensive, so this isn't going to be a problem, but I can imagine this getting cheaper.

Some people are going to be using this to make 3D copies of cheap plastic items they own. Another poster mentioned Warhammer miniatures, and I could imagine lots of other small but expensive items being copied.

Once someone with money takes notice of this, I guarantee a legal battle tying to make it illegal.

Re:A new copyright battle? (4, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344437)

So... what? Now we are going to have 'Miniature cloning is stealing' blurbs on packaging for small-but-expensive items? 'When you cloning this miniature, you are cloning COMMUNISM'.

Interesting times ahead...

Re:A new copyright battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344737)

"So... what? Now we are going to have 'Miniature cloning is stealing' blurbs on packaging for small-but-expensive items? 'When you cloning this miniature, you are cloning COMMUNISM'.

Interesting times ahead..."

No doubt, I think that technology will hopefully make ideology irrelevant (i.e. irrelevance by obselescence) the whole basis of capitalism is based on scarcity, when things are abundant there is no justification. But of course propertarianism like any other idea can be used for good or bad depending on what it is used for. Property can be good in that it helps us solve problems of allocation and distribution, but it also can be used badly because it can be used as leverage in oppressive ways that stifle human creativity and development.

Re:A new copyright battle? (3, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345469)

while i don't think the effect of this particular service will be so drastic, i do think that if we event Star-Trek-style "replicators" the material economy would quickly become an anachronism. that is, if we manage to overcome the rearguard reaction to such an "anti-American" action.

i mean, just look at the situation with IP/copyright/patent law. it costs nothing to replicate digital music, movies, code, etc. but there is still a large legally enforced economy around the trade of such 'free' commodities. this is also the reason why the Google Book Search project was stonewalled by print publishers. it would have been an incredibly boon to humanity for such a digital literary repository to be published for free online, giving children/students unprecedented access to the largest corpus of human knowledge ever assembled. such a digital library would be invaluable in terms of the cultural & academic utility it would provide, possibly revolutionizing our society.

but if we couldn't eliminate the legal & economic barriers preventing such a useful and societally beneficial project form being realized, it's doubtful we'd be able to eliminate our capitalist economy by eliminating the cost of material production. unfortunately, we live in a society where corporate interest outweighs public interest. there's no way our corporate plutocrats will allow us to take away their sole source of power and privilege.

Re:A new copyright battle? (3, Insightful)

kylben (1008989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345889)

"the whole basis of capitalism is based on scarcity, "

No, the whole basis of capitalism is trading something of lesser value for something of greater value. Physical scarcity is based on materials and labor, product scarcity is based on ideas, materials, and labor. This will severely diminish the labor from mass produced items, but there will still be things that require human labor (like repairing these printers, for instance). It will also make the artificial scarcity of reproduceable ideas moot, but the value of knowledge that can't be reproduced, such as a live concert by Coldplay or a conversation with Cory Doctorow, won't see any diminishment of scarcity. The material scarcity will remain, although the limiting factor will be increasingly raw materials rather than manufactured materials.

Capitalism will still function just fine. People will still value the products as much as they ever do, but the manufacturers will value them less - because they can make more of them with the same value of resources - so the price will go down.

Or were you referring to the bastard stepchild that Bush and Paulson and Bernanke and the MAFIAA refer to as "capitalism"?

Re:A new copyright battle? (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346417)

but the manufacturers will value them less - because they can make more of them with the same value of resources - so the price will go down.

You think so, do ya?
The Internet bandwidth market teaches us that corporations will lie, cheat, and steal to increase their profits.

Re:A new copyright battle? (1)

kylben (1008989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346605)

corporations will lie, cheat, and steal to increase their profits.

Yes, well, there's always people trying to find ways to oppose capitalism, and governments to help them do it.

Re:A new copyright battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345845)

Much worse:

"When you clone a miniature, you are stealing."

"When you clone a miniature, you help organized crime."

"When you clone a miniature, you promote TERRORISM!"

Re:A new copyright battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25353995)

What happens when the company that originally made the miniature is no longer willing/able to make it?
I've read arguments for music copyright infringement based on "they don't want to sell it, so I'll pirate it".
Well, what about the old FASA Battletech models? Not those little lead figurines, but the larger plastic models that are very hard to get.
Seems to me, someone could make a fortune copying and selling kits of the Marauder and some of the others.

Re:A new copyright battle? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344517)

I could imagine lots of other small but expensive items being copied.

How? Please try to be precise in your doom-mongering.

Re:A new copyright battle? (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344545)

No! If I'm vague and general I can claim my rightful credit as a seer if this happens. If I'm too specific people will nitpick on the points where I'm wrong.

Re:A new copyright battle? (4, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345243)

Some people are going to be using this to make 3D copies of cheap plastic items they own.

I'd like to see the following system put in place:

  • Every manufacturer of anything that has plastic components, is required to upload the components' specs to an escrow agency. Things like plastic cases, battery door covers, hinges, knobs, you name it, all will be escrowed.
  • While the manufacturer is in existence and offering spares for sale, you buy your replacement parts from them in the u$ual way.
  • After n years, or if the manufacturer goes under, the escrow agency releases the specs to the public.
  • You can then download the specs and print out your own replacement parts.

This wouldn't affect anyone's bottom line, and it wouldn't let you rip off their electronic components (which is where the real investment is at)... it would simply let you get replacement parts during those times when, traditionally, you couldn't.

Some companies might even choose to release their plans early, on their website or whatever, in order to get goodwill.

Re:A new copyright battle? (2, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346943)

You're kidding yourself if you think this wouldn't impact their bottom line.

For instance: mechanically/electronically, my IBM Thinkpad X30 is identical to how it was when I got it. It works great (though software has gotten more bloated in the meantime, and its argueable whether the Intel graphic chip in it is worth half a damn - point being, it works as designed.)

However, the plastic case has cracked, broken, and otherwise been deformed over the past 5 years I've had it. The hard drive cover - held in by a screw - is long broken and gone. The thin plastic frame around the sides of the keyboard is broken in several places. Overall, it makes the laptop feel "old" and "busted".

Would I pay a couple bucks to bring the Thinkpad back to "new"? Certainly; it'd put me off from buying another one for a while.

There are a LOT of people who would rather fix what they've got for cheap than buy a replacement. Not everyone's a gadgethead.

Re:A new copyright battle? (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25358471)

So the big question, then, is: which path has a greater profit margin?
Company A doesn't provide replacement parts or any way of getting them: when your stuff breaks you have to buy brand new stuff.
Company B provides replacement parts.
Company C provides the manufacturing specifications for people to build their own replacement parts.

If you did some combination of B & C -- you sell parts or just give away the instructions for making your own parts -- suddenly you're looking a lot like a Free/Open Source Software company making money on support and convenience.

But, in any case, the ability to fix equipment in a piecewise manner does have a big advantage to the end user, which implies that companies who offer it will be more competitive.

Re:A new copyright battle? (1)

Thomas Shaddack (709926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351167)

Too difficult to get the vendors to agree. Corporations can not be given choice in this matter; they have to be dragged into this way of life against their will, kicking and screaming. More likely way to success is to add 3D scanners to the mix and set up some public community where for free, barter, or a micropayment people can ask other people for a scan of the needed part. (Could also apply to black market for service manuals, schematics, firmwares, etc.) Also, scans of broken parts can be digitally edited to yield a part before breaking.

Re:A new copyright battle? (2, Informative)

dbc (135354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345733)

The surface finish and material properties of 3D printer output is nothing like injection molded or machined plastics. If you want a weak, brittle copy in the wrong color with a rough surface, sure. But ain't nobody gonna be printing missing Lego parts with these.

Re:A new copyright battle? (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347745)

But will this always be the case? Is it impossible that improvements in the system and in the plastics will result in something of better quality?

Reprap (4, Informative)

gringer (252588) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344415)

The article says that "the cheapest three dimensional printers cost $20,000", so I might as well mention the hacker's alternative:

http://blog.reprap.org/ [reprap.org]
http://www.reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome [reprap.org]

Re:Reprap (4, Informative)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344613)

I've looked at a number of the "cheap" and homebrew 3D printers and honestly, I've been roundly unimpressed by all of them. The engineering effort is always great and their goals are surely worth persuing, but thus far the results of these printers leave much to be desired: at best looking like an *okay* hand-made model and more often looking more like an artistically shaped pile of poop. I don't mean to knock these projects, but the technology isn't really there yet. I mean, even some of the expensive commercial 3D printers don't produce spectacular results.

Re:Reprap (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344735)

> I don't mean to knock these projects, but the technology isn't really there yet.

I think you will find that is exactly why these projects exist. They are developing the technology.

Re:Reprap (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347733)

I don't know where you have seen these, but the results are far from crap. The ABS machines produce very solid and accurate representations of the 3-D model. The celluoid based machines produce accuracte mockup in colors and is faster than the ABS solutions. I have created some detailed and durable objects with the ABS technology.

Both are hugely expensive methods, and are probably one economical form prototypes. I estimated that the cost is a few dollars per cc. It is, however, likely cheaper than creating the prototype by hand.

In any case these printers are widely available for price.

Re:Reprap (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345301)

Reprap seems relatively low-quality... it would be interesting to see if people start making reprap parts using this service, though, since most people don't have access to someone who already has a printer that could extrude the parts for them.

Irony at its finest.

Re:Reprap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345561)

it would be interesting to see if people start making reprap parts using this service,

thats what i was going to do... i've been messing with some of the reprap electronics to learn soldering.this seems like a good way to get the first plastic pieces.

Don't forget CandyFab (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345687)

http://candyfab.org/

"The Revolution will be Caramelized."

I've seen this unit in action. 10 dpi resoution, but it smells like baking sugar cookies :)

Not just a dupe, not even news... (4, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344427)

This isn't even vaguely news. There's been 3d printing services like this for years. Just google [google.com] for them...

Re:Not just a dupe, not even news... (2, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345565)

but none of them offer such services at a price range accessible to the average person.

if you actually click on the links in the Google search results you'll see they're nothing like the service discussed in the article. they don't allow customers to upload designs and instantly order a print. they require you to contact the printer by e-mail or phone for a quote, and unless you're ordering bulk prints it's going to be financially impractical. that's because these existing services are aimed at businesses not consumers.

it's like saying consumer CD burners weren't news when they first came out because people could already call up a CD-pressing factory and have a single CD made for them for $100. it's not even close to being the same thing.

and if you RTFA or visit the Shapeways site you'll see that the service is paired with an online community for sharing/discussing 3D designs. this is more like DeviantArt instead of just a commercial printing service.

Re:Not just a dupe, not even news... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346353)

if you actually click on the links in the Google search results you'll see they're nothing like the service discussed in the article. they don't allow customers to upload designs and instantly order a print.

You sure about that? There's been companies doing 3d prints of Second Life builds for a couple of years now.

it's like saying consumer CD burners weren't news when they first came out because people could already call up a CD-pressing factory and have a single CD made for them for $100.

This isn't like "consumer CD burners", it's more like "a cheaper service bureau". I used CD bureaux when that was the only way to get them done, and the difference between getting your CDs through a bureau, however cheap and convenient they make it, and burning them yourself... yes, that's a revolutionary change. Doing the same thing a bit cheaper and making the ordering a bit easier isn't.

If it's actually cheaper. I can't find any pricing information on Shapeways site. Apparently you have to sign up and get an account. There's been references elsewhere to prices around 3-4 dollars per cubic centimeter, which seems pretty similar to the competition.

Re:Not just a dupe, not even news... (1)

jklmuk (1383691) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346797)

Yeah you can get a cubic inch for $9.99 on ebay already. So not only is this not news its a complete ripoff as well

not only is this not news (5, Informative)

Libertarian001 (453712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344449)

But it's a duplicate add from a few months back for the same company pimping their crappy service. Why do I say crappy? I've done a few prints (30+, actually) on the Objet Eden, the same manufacturer this SERVICE BUREAU is using. My bureau uses a high end machine set to high resolution. These guys use the low end machine set to high speed. And they've decided to write some proprietary translator to take my perfectly functional files and mangle them so they can't be used (and these guys have major self-induced scaling issues). In short, they're a bureau, nothing more.

Re:not only is this not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344671)

What you say about the printer could be true, but the goal of shapeways is not to get the highest quality out there.

Their goal is to get 3D printing to the consumer. As cheaply as possible. I've also got a few models ordered via shapeways and i'm actually quite happy with how they turned out.

Re:not only is this not news (1)

pilz (1228384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352711)

Dear Libertarian, We use a Connex x500 at the moment, the highest end machine that Objet has. As well as high end EOS and Stratasys machines and the Eden 500. We do not 'translate' files we simply check them automatically so we can see if it can be 3D printed. We save all files in an open source format(x3D) and STL. We are not a bureau, we are an online co-creation community. Do you need a hug? You seem to be having a bad day? hugs, Joris

Nothing new about this... (5, Informative)

swatje (814860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344453)

There is really nothing new about this kind of service... Materialise is offering this service for already 10 years... http://www.materialise.com/materialise/view/en/91955-Online+service.html [materialise.com]

Re:Nothing new about this... (1)

OverZealous.com (721745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347607)

I don't think that they are so great. I mean, I clicked on their "onsite" product to figure out pricing, and I got an error saying it only works with something called "Internet Explorer", and then a blank page.

I looked all over my Mac and I couldn't find this "Internet Explorer" anywhere. I even looked online. I did find a lot of references to an "Internet Exploder" that was made by Microsoft. However, Microsoft apparently must be a very small company, because they don't even make this product for common computers like my Macs or Linux machines.

Oh well, seemed like an interesting company.

if it's just gambling, presented as investing.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344499)

like someone picking your pocket, then helping you mourn your loss. sounds a lot like false advertising at minimum? 'course now it's nobody's fault.

"Of course, they had a great life [by whose measure?], as long as it lasted."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081011/ap_on_bi_ge/where_s_the_money;_ylt=A0wNcwJGwvFIZAQAE6ms0NUE

easy come, easy goo.

Meanwhile somewhere in Cupertino.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25344793)

..someone is slapping their forehead and regretting that huge investment in a laptop factory with lasers and waterjets for cutting laptop cases out of solid blocks of aluminium.

Cheap!? (4, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345039)

http://www.shapeways.com/model/6280/limbtaker_trophy.html [shapeways.com]

This bookend (21x22x23cm) is $7800. How is that anything close to cheap?

Wireframe objects without much mass are considerably cheaper, but any statues with heft are insanely expensive.

http://www.shapeways.com/model/6277/queen.html [shapeways.com]

A chess queen... $319. Seriously!

Re:Cheap!? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345109)

No, wireframe models would still require tons of support structure during the printing process. Most recently this is a solid gelatin that you wash off manually with a high pressure hose (kind of fun). The gelatin gets printed as little mountains/pyramids underneath the parts that would otherwise be pretty much floating on air. The gelatin is only a little cheaper than the hard plastic material per square (sp?) centimeter.

Re:Cheap!? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345339)

Be creative, make it hollow so that its cheap to print and leave a hole so you can fill it with something cheap to give it weight later on.

Re:Cheap!? (1)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345763)

While it is expensive, it's not your normal-sized chess piece. It's at least three or four times larger than the queens on my chess board.

Re:Cheap!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345841)

The chess queen could be engineered for cost. If made hollow, it could then fill it with lead and epoxy resin to give the proper weight. Probably would save $200 per piece.

Re:Cheap!? (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345885)

To be fair, I'm an idiot. I have actually paid a little bit more than that for a queen. It took years to order the entire chess set but it was worth it. If anyone's interested I can root around and *maybe* find the company that I ordered from though this was a number of years back and I've recently moved. And, again, to be fair - I'm an idiot. I've played maybe a dozen games on that board and it sits in storage for fear or having it broken.

Re:Cheap!? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25353189)

I think we all have things that we valued enough to pay 'too much' for, and then overprotect it afterwards. I tend to do it with tech things, but everyone has their own.

I would actually love to have a chess set that really feels like mine... I've just never seen one that speaks to me that strongly. I do have a $40 one that I got in the Bahamas (and looks more like $300-500, if purchased here in the US) that is hidden in a box somewhere because I don't want it broken, though.

Re:Cheap!? (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25353979)

I would actually love to have a chess set that really feels like mine...

Hmm... A chess set with my (your) face on every piece... now that could be worth the money!

Re:Cheap!? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347779)

That queen is over 2.5 inches in diameter and nearly 6 inches tall.

I imagine a more normal 2 inch tall piece would cost substantially less, especially if hollow.

What makes this news? (1)

rmcclelland (1383541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345313)

3D printing services have been around forever. I work for a huge company, and we generally use a service since it is cheaper than owning and operating your own machine. solidconcepts is a good example. Web based 3D printing services have been around for like 5-7 years. The good companies can have the part in your hand next day.

Cost (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345555)

This place will be making a killing, if anyone uses it. The cost of consumables for 3D printing tends to not actually be all that bad. I routinely use a Stratasys machine that does FDM (fused deposition modeling - extruding hot plastic layer by layer), and the consumable cost is something like $5/in^3. Compare that to the quoted price of these guys: $3/cm^3. Do a units conversion (16.4 cm^3 = 1 in^3), and you'll find these guys are charging about 10x the consumable cost. This, of course, assumes that they are using some sort of FDM process. It could be adhered powders, stereolithography, polyjet, etc., in which case the consumable cost is somewhat different, but still not exhorbitant. They must be rapidly depreciating their printers and/or incurring huge software and bandwidth costs to think that $50/in^3 is a bargain price.

There are tons of places you can upload models and get them printed, certainly for less than this.

Re:Cost (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345677)

Well, I disagree with your numbers. For the 3D printers I have seen the cost of consumables plus maintenance contract plus cost of capital to have the machine on site (own or lease) brings the total costs to around $15/in^3. They have a margin, sure. The also have some operator time.

But yeah, $50/in^3 is no bargain.

Re:Cost (1)

whatUrunning.com (1358393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352573)

This reminds me of collage in the late nineties, they had a new shiny stereolithography machine, I remember we would nerviously submit a model to the queue at the end of the day a hope and pray that it would come out ok the following morning.
Due to the cost of running the machine they didn't exactly like us printing stuff for fun.

This is nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345909)

I work for the Tennessee board of Regents and some of our higher learning schools have 3D printers (i know at least two do). They are not that expensive, and the higher end printers can even make there own replacement parts.

Get a clue about how stuff is made (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25345935)

For those of you who have no idea how real, physical stuff is made, there's an entire industry of small "job shops" that will take your design and make a part for you. If you're anywhere near a industrial city, there's probably one in your neighborhood. Most will use machine tools, but ones with stereolithography machines [emachineshop.com] aren't that rare.

If you're in Silicon Valley and want to use a stereolithography machine, check out TechShop [techshop.ws], which has one of the better ones. It won't be busy when you visit.

This is fantastic (1)

flipperdoo (1321953) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346265)

When I was at Uni doing product design, this type of output from a CNC lathe costs about $100 000 per product, now it's available for cents which is amazing

Backups (1)

ciaran.mchale (1018214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25346511)

When these 3D printers come down in price I predict the following events will happen:
  • More and more people will use 3D printers to make backup copies of their disk drives because it is cheaper and faster than backing up to tape.
  • Occasionally, somebody will post to slashdot asking for advice: "Should I backup by disk drive to DVDs or via a 3D printer. I heard DVDs can degrade after just a few years. How long does it take a 3D printed model to degrade? I'd like to know if my data will last longer in a 3D model than on a DVD."
  • People asking that question on slashdot will receive the assurance that "3D models are incrediably resilient so once you backup your disk drive to a 3D model, the data will not degrade any further."

Re:Backups (1)

Hyperspite (980252) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347721)

What are you smoking? How would you possibly store data in these things that is readable by a computer?

Re:Backups (1)

ciaran.mchale (1018214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25352157)

What are you smoking? How would you possibly store data in these things that is readable by a computer?

Apparently you are not familiar with the stories of ignorant/stupid users who contact technical support. Back in the days when 5.25 inch floppies were commonly used, one story was about a user who contacted technical support to complain that his computer couldn't read important data on a floppy disk. The person in technical support asked if the user had made any copies of the disk. He user said yes, so he was told to post the copy of the disk to technical support. A few days later the person in technical support received a photocopy of the disk.

My "predictions" were just an updated version of that old story, using a 3D printer instead of a photocopier.

Metal? (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25347345)

How bout metal? A nice service is eMachineShop [emachineshop.com], which lets you download their CAD software and design and order your own stuff in a number of alloys of metal, plus wood and plastics. But there is a setup overhead. So you can't just order one little $5 dohicky for a project you're doing -- it's not going to make financial sense unless you're going to need a bunch of the dohickys to cover the initial setup cost (or unless it's an inherently expensive part you want, like a replacement engine part for a custom engine). I suppose there's no service that would give you a reasonably priced one-off in metal?

Fabjectory (1)

monk (1958) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349129)

A twist on the same idea: Fabjectory [fabjectory.com] makes RL 3D models of objects and avatars from Second Life, Google Sketch Up and Nintendo Mii.

It's a much cooler system that ends up as a plaster, colored model [fabjectory.com].

They don't mention how much it costs though, so I'm thinking it's expensive.

One in every supermarket and public library (1)

kentsin (225902) | more than 5 years ago | (#25349359)

Greate!

they should put one in every where.

The communities will be very happy!

The vendor's "3D Sphere" isn't original (2, Interesting)

bYonder (464240) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351255)

A blatant copy of Bathsheba Grossman's Quintrino http://www.bathsheba.com/sculpt/quintrino/ - Bathsheba's math sculptures are, to me, the pinnacle of 3D printed art on this planet... who can resist the klein bottle beer bottle opener?

Wasn't this done? (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25351731)

Wasn't this done... by that company that makes printed models of your WOW characters using ink printed onto thin layers of plaster? And wasn't that in color instead of white?

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