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MakerBot Gets $10 Million Investment

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the thats-a-lotta-money dept.

Businesses 160

First time accepted submitter chrisl456 writes "MakerBot Industries, makers (hah!) of 3D printers / personal fabrication devices, just got a big boost in the form of $10 million from an 'all-star lineup.' Replicators, here we come!"

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160 comments

Raising funds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37190986)

Could they have not printed money or gold bars?

Re:Raising funds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191022)

Could they have not printed money or gold bars?

Nintendo already secured patents for that.

Re:Raising funds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191100)

With the aging Baby Boomers there are now more elderly people in America than ever before. It becomes more apparent that a segment of them do not know how to age gracefully. Traditionally, this way of life was learned from extensive contact with and careful observation of the previous generation of elders. In today's fast-paced world this is less and less viable. While not intended to be 100% comprehensive, this document is a quick HOWTO reference to at least help today's old people get started. The following are the most important points, the time-tested things you really MUST do in order to be an old person in the modern world.
  1. Fuck the younger generations as much and as hard as you possibly can. This point is critical and cannot be overemphasized. Most other points are related to this one. That's how key it really is. There is one great way to do that, better than all other ways combined:

    Vote as a single homogeneous bloc. This is politically very powerful. Use that power to run up massive debts that you have absolutely no intention of paying. That way, future generations can inherit them. You need to do this even though collectively, you are the single wealthiest demographic group in existence.

    Your retirement from Social Security is the best way to arrange this. Sure, you could have taken personal responsibility for your life and started saving for your own retirement from a young age, but where's the fun in that? It's vital that you let Social Security remain the Ponzi scheme that it is so that no young person today has a hope of collecting a dime from it BUT they still have to pay into it (hah-hah! I guess the joke's on them!). BE CERTAIN that any politician who even suggests changing Social Security towards long-term viability is ending his or her career in politics.

    Sure, they are your children and your grandchildren, but so what? Now that they've grown past early childhood they aren't so cute anymore anyway. That makes it easy to treat them like you hate their guts even if you don't know you hate them. If you faithfully practice the points outlined in this document, then soon any guilt you might feel over what you've left for them to inherit will melt away and be replaced by an insatiable sense of entitlement. In the event this should fail, the constant coverage of the current pointless foreign war that the flower of our youth is going off to fight will serve as an excellent distraction.
  2. Run a homeowner's association. As a retiree, it's not like you have to work for a living anymore. You've got some time on your hands. What better way to use it than to take your neighbors to court over such worthy matters as the difference between white paint and off-white paint? Those bastards should have read and memorized their 100-page homeowner's covenant before daring to modify their own property. As an added bonus, any time they spend in court and not at work means even less opportunity to pay off the debts you've left for them to inherit. Any monies they pay as a result of losing the lawsuits serves the same goal, so it's a two-for-one!
  3. Drive very slowly, particularly on one-lane roads where it's difficult or impossible to safely pass you. Every time you do this means one more chance to make it hard for someone to get to work on time. That way, not only is a significant chunk of their paycheck taken from them to pay for your retirement and your medical care, but as an added bonus you add insult to this injury by hindering them from getting to work in the first place so they can make the money that pays for your expenses! That'll teach 'em. Whatever you do, don't ever pull over and allow the ten cars stuck behind you to pass, especially not when they have a clock to beat and you don't.
  4. When you are a customer at a restaurant, grocery store, technical support line, or the like, be as helpless as possible. Your goal is to be a really high-maintainence customer. Sure, you could demonstrate that with your age has come wisdom, but that wouldn't make you feel important and special. Instead, ask a lot of stupid questions that you'd already know the answer to if you noticed the most obvious of cues. Ask for a lot of trivial changes to a product before you will buy it. Demand a lot of extra effort and attention from whoever is trying to serve you. Transform from "sweet old grandma" to "mega-bitch" in a split-second if such attention is not immediately granted. Do not, under any circumstances, notice that all the other customers behind you are waiting.

    When it's time to pay, write out a check and take your sweet time about it. Even though you knew what store you were going to visit, DO NOT under any circumstances prepare the check in advance by filling out everything except the dollar amount.
  5. This is another important point. Perform all of the above faithfully and consistently. Then whine about how misguided the younger generation is as though you didn't have anything to do with that. Complain that they don't respect you. Act absolutely astonished that anyone would see you doing all of the above and would respond with anything other than gratitude, praise, and admiration. That will add an element of mindfuck to the heretofore material damage covered by the previous points. It's especially effective if you have the compulsive liar's talent of learning how to sincerely believe this as you say it. You can complain about how "back in my day" the youth were better/more submissive/kinder than today's youth while conveniently forgetting that the elders of that generation actually tried to give their children a better world than they grew up in. It is advised that you set your irony detector to "off" while doing this, however.

By faithfully following these steps, you too can be a typical American old geezer.

a gnat is better hung than rob malta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191016)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
your heart is true you're a pal and a cosmonaut

I'm not ashamed to say
I hope it always will stay this way
My hat is off, won't you stand up and take a bow

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
and the card attached would say,
Thank you for being a friend

Thank you for being a friend
Thank you for being a friend
Thank you for being a friend

If it's a car you lack
I'd surely buy you a cadillac
Whatever you need, anytime of the day or night

I'm not ashamed to say
I hope it always will stay this way
My hat is off, won't you stand up and take a bow

And when we both get older
With walking canes and hair of gray
Have no fear, even though it's hard to hear
I will stand real close and say,
Thank you for being a friend

(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend
(I want to thank you)
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/a/andrew-gold-lyrics/thank-you-for-being-a-friend-lyrics.html [elyrics.net] ]
Thank you for being a friend
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend
(I want to thank you)
Let me tell you bout a friend
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend

And when we die and float away
Into the night, the Milky Way
You'll hear me call, as we ascend
I'll see you there, then once again
Thank you for being a friend

Thank you for being a friend
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being a friend
Whoa, tell you about a friend
(Thank you right now, for being a friend)
Thank you for being a friend
(I wanna tell you right now, and tell you again)
Thank you for being a friend
(I wanna thank you, thank you, for being a friend)
Thank you for being a friend

Sweet... (1)

Marble68 (746305) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191124)

Anything that could potentially drive the cost of 3D printing down is a win, IMHO!

Re:Sweet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191262)

Anything that could potentially drive the cost of 3D printing down is a win, IMHO!

Thank you for that insightful comment. I'm looking to hear more from you like "the water, it is wet", "a nice warm sunny day makes a trip to the beach more enjoyable", and "lower working standards in China makes things cheaper at Wal-Mart. FTW!".

Re:Sweet... (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191372)

Wow... who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?

Re:Sweet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37192186)

He's fine with the completely unrelated rant on social security. There's no comment on the seemingly random Andrew Gold lyrics. Don't you DARE express a relevant opinion on the matter though, that's just uncalled for!

Re:Sweet... (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192200)

Wow... who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?

Probably because the low-hanging fruit in making things cheaper usually involves slave wages in developing countries as opposed to a fair wage in industrialized nations.

Re:Sweet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37192206)

Your mom?

Re:Sweet... (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191526)

Makes me kinda wish I had gone with MakerBot rather than my Prusa Mendel (expecting the last bit of parts in early next week). For me, price was the selling point but an investment like this could easily push MakerBot in front in terms of the community.

Re:Sweet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37192106)

I know, I'd love some of that stuff but the price is painful.

Re:Sweet... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192524)

lol yea like a little startup money is going to drive cost down, if nothing else its going to drive them up for a while cause now they have money for "features" that increase price

Oh god, more delusions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191140)

This is not a Star Trek replicator. It's a personal CNC machine to make fragile tchotchkes with geek cred. If you're lucky and have months of time to waste on Dollar-store level of crap. Or you can just make vaguely-shaped blobs of fragile, expensive gunk.

The real breakthrough here is how to turn decades-old hobbies into money. THAT's the thing that's really interesting here.

Prediction: In two years, this will have been a fad like Robo Sapiens. Big hype, every store by Christmas, then a quick death.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191234)

Uhuh, it's the same kind of plastic as legos; anything but fragile. Something makes me think you've got serious sour grapes.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191320)

ABS, while a fine plastic, does depend a bit on how it is formed: Injection molding into a tight-tolerance mold, as with lego, is going to produce better results than thread deposition, though the latter is hardly useless...

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191440)

Either way it is not what anyone would be calling brittle, unless you are making some very thin sheets.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192066)

Certainly, it is quite tough(vaguely biomimetic 'web-of-threads/beams' structures can actually be fairly seriously load bearing...)

I was thinking more in terms of dimensional tolerances, homogenous density, surface finish, and the like. Anything where the bulk properties of ABS will do you can get away with extrusion printing(possibly with some clean-up work/drilling/etc. on critical surfaces); but most of what makes something like lego work depends on factors that extruders can't touch.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192558)

the material is not brittle, but with my experience with these things is it doesnt take much to peel apart the layers, unless you start adding heat tables and precision thermal control

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191428)

Uhuh, it's the same kind of plastic as legos; anything but fragile. Something makes me think you've got serious sour grapes.

It's not fragile but it looks pretty ugly. Objects are formed by extruding molten plastic from a nozzle and snaking it around to form one slice of the shape. So objects look like a congealed series of coils and loops. Whether that matter or not really depends on what you intend the object for. I think the powder bed replicators produce a much nicer finish (in colour too) and support more complex shapes but then again they cost a lot more.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191580)

Are Gothic Cathedrals [thingiverse.com] ugly? How about golden chalices [makerbot.com] ?

Re:Oh god, more delusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191618)

The cathedral is pretty. The chalice is awful.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191698)

Are Gothic Cathedrals [thingiverse.com] ugly? How about golden chalices [makerbot.com]?

The first picture doesn't show what I am referring to (because the light cream doesn't reflect the light too well). The second picture amply shows it. It's fugly. Here is another pic [thingiverse.com] which shows the typical surface you can expect from your manufactured objects.

There's no doubt it's cool tech but the results are pretty primitive. I'd see it more useful for replacement parts than producing something you'd want gracing your mantelpiece.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191960)

There seems to have been no finishing work done either on those. Again that would not make it suitable for mantelpiece decorations, but with some minor heating to smooth out the surface it could be a fine replacement to a broken car door handle.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191244)

Hahaha idiot. You can print ABS plastic with these things, for starters. You can make real stuff with them. These will become the next common home appliance. The age of fragile prototypes is long gone.

And corporations will be up in arms. Want Lego? Why pay $30 for $1 worth of blocks when you can print them for a couple dollar's worth of material. Want a body kit or some lightweight/cheap replacement body panels (although even common cars now have plastic body panels) for your car but don't want to pay so much? A printer with a big enough build volume can do that too, and you can get an exact copy of a commercial product. Want a custom computer case or a copy of an expensive commercial model? Knock yourself out. Want some cheap/custom furniture? Plastic built into the right structures can be very strong. See: milk crates. Except it won't look ghetto because that will just be the under-structure of your custom furniture.

This will do for many physical objects what computers did for movies and music - including making it easy and cheap for anyone to produce it.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191390)

Lego will actually do OK(as some of their imitators have demonstrated over the years, sub-mm tolerances make all the difference in the world between lego that works and 'construction brick toys' that can barely support themselves; but there are going to be some Very Litigious Sad Pandas in looser-tolerance industries.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191562)

True that lego will have to be an exact copy to fit properly unlike the awful lego knockoffs, but eventually it will be possible.

Anyways I think PirateLegos would become the new standard. Who cares if they fit properly with the expensive official Legos when you can have tons of PirateLegos for cheap? :D

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191694)

Until the technology gets much better and tolerances much tighter you will find that PirateBricks (Lego is a trademark) won't fit, stack or hold together well enough to justify the effort to make them.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192126)

That isn't quite true, if you trawl the, er, value-priced, toy stores, flea markets, and shady ebay auctions for models that lego never created you can find a number of "interoperable" plastic construction block toys of varying degrees of interoperability(in the very cheap seats, interoperability with bricks that came in the same bag is a problem, with the incrementally nicer ones interoperability with lego is rather dodgy) for rather small sums of money. All of that is injection moulded, though. Extrusion deposited lego-esque bricks wouldn't be worth the material you melted to make them.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191404)

The current problem is mainly the cost of the raw material, plus the initial investment. From Maker-bot's website it's around $20 USD per pound, which is pretty hefty (although nowhere near where I thought it would be.) You are right: this will revolutionize the way we think of physical designs of objects.

The device itself is still pretty pricey. It'd be really cool if someone bought a nicer one and opened a store where you could send custom print jobs for the cost of materials + profit. Thats probably the first way they will become widespread. But you're quite right: not a fad, unless companies like Lego get involved in stopping it. AFAIK you can prevent they could prevent the widespread distribution of designs that copy Lego exactly, but they couldn't currently stop you from rolling your own. Watch them lobby to change that in the upcoming years. If you thought patent and copyright battles were bad, wait until companies are threatened by people able to build their own physical hardware copies of their products.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191538)

The intertubes, at your service! [shapeways.com]

Not inexpensive; but you pretty much upload mesh+money and get fedexed an object...

Cheaper and better for a number of applications; but somewhat less versatile, are the online machine shop services, which use conventional feedstock materials and machining techniques. You can't do some of the really fancy geometry; but paying $10/cc to have a part laser-sintered when it could be milled, tapped, and finished to your spec in the same time and probably for less money doesn't make a whole lot of sense...

Re:Oh god, more delusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37192032)

If you thought patent and copyright battles were bad, wait until companies are threatened by people able to build their own physical hardware copies of their products.

Ha! DRM this, suckas!

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192526)

I'm sure they can find some way to disrupt 3D scanners. Just shiny paint would do the job fairly well at present.

Agree w/ all but the Lego bricks (4, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191528)

The problem is you can't make bricks of the same quality as Lego bricks using any 3D printer currently in existence or on the drawing board --- the tolerances simply aren't tight enough --- Lego uses _tons_ of pressure in their molding equipment, moreover, Lego is constantly doing QA on their production and will pull a mold and grind it up to re-use it at the slightest deviation --- the new Lego bricks I purchase for my kids still work fine w/ four decade old bricks from my childhood. Lego's precision for brick parts is something on the order of 2 micrometers.

By way of contrast, the printer which Shapeways ( http://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=tree&goto=1339&#page_top [shapeways.com] ) uses as a tolerance of, ``... about .1mm, but the material can change it slightly. Overall, .5 should be fine, just make sure that they are not any sort of support walls or they may get broken during shipping or printing.'' .1 mm == 100 micrometers

If you want to know what its like when the tolerances are sloppy, buy a set of Mega Blok bricks, but even those have tighter tolerance than the tenth of a millimeter which Shapeways quotes.

Re:Agree w/ all but the Lego bricks (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191578)

True, it'll be a long time before it will be possible to print blocks that will fit properly with official legos. But like I said in this post, [slashdot.org] if "PirateLegos" that are Good Enough can be built, they'll become the new standard.

Re:Agree w/ all but the Lego bricks (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191748)

The problem is, .1mm of tolerance means that one can have:

  - a piece which is on-spec in all dimensions
  - a piece which is off-spec in one or more axes by the tolerance at one end or the other
  - a piece which is off-spec in _all_ dimensions at each end, doubling the error

It's when one has multiple pieces off in multiple ways that combinatorial mathematics kicks in and one sees that such won't work for large structures (cf. transmissions built w/ on-spec parts where all the parts are slightly too large or too small).

Re:Oh god, more delusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191728)

That's the delusion: You will NOT get an exact copy.
Have you never heard of materials research? Or crystal structures?

The alignment of the atoms in the material is crucial for many parts. E.g. for the stability in metal (that's why the steel often is rolled/punched and not cast) or the transparency / light response of other materials.

Also, something that is made of a lot of voxels is going to have aliasing, which means itâ(TM)s not smooth. A problem for many cases. E.g. when it has to be slippery.

Also, most things are made out of many materials, combined. Or foils glued together, etc. You can't simply print those.

And I didnâ(TM)t even mention things that are foamy... or woven... like the stuff that makes furniture soft and pretty.

Perhaps you should check your own cowardice, before calling others idiots, you idiot.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191800)

I'm not talking about building crankshafts and helicopter blades with this. Does it really matter if your computer case/peripherals or motorcycle body panels aren't quite as structurally sound as injection-molded pieces? Does it matter what your furniture's frame looks like, and do you think the cheapo wood with pressed-on spike plates that is currently used is really that strong?

I'm not saying it's anything like a Star Trek replicator by any means, but these aren't the flimsy prototype builders of the '90s either.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191908)

Hahaha idiot. You can print ABS plastic with these things, for starters. You can make real stuff with them. These will become the next common home appliance. The age of fragile prototypes is long gone.

And corporations will be up in arms. Want Lego? Why pay $30 for $1 worth of blocks when you can print them for a couple dollar's worth of material.

How about the cost of material on tuning and practice prints? The cost of electricity? The cost in terms of hours spent on designing, printing, and refining? Perhaps a bag of legos isn't something to be dismissed when you need them *now* and not maybe in an hour and hope it's of consistent quality like legos?

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192030)

Yes I admit printing legos is far off. As for the cost of electricity and materials, those are low. Practice prints will only be an issue for people developing an object (and are becoming a non-issue entirely at a rapid rate as these printers become more precise). Most people will just download a design and send it to their printer so design time would be no more of a consideration in printing objects than it is in running Linux.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191284)

Funny that you're modded down, your reaction pretty much matches mine.

MakerBot is cool, but pointless and not actually useful yet for anything that matters. The technology just isn't there yet at the hobbiest level. Its certainly out there, just not at the hobbiest level. Everything produced out of the RepRap is too big and blocky and most importantly, weak to be used in anything of value other than some art deco kind of crap around a geeks house.

Oh well, modded down for disagreeing with a factual statement. Welcome to the new slashdot, where 15 year old fanboys and spa accounts like DrBob rule the roost.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191406)

Funny that you're modded down, your reaction pretty much matches mine.

MakerBot is cool, but pointless and not actually useful yet for anything that matters. The technology just isn't there yet at the hobbiest level. Its certainly out there, just not at the hobbiest level.

Right around 1980 or so you could have said the exact same thing about personal computers, and it would have been true.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191474)

And just like in 1980 hobbiests were doing it. The GP apparently thinks anything harder than a coloring book or more expensive than a meal at McDonalds can't be a hobby.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (3, Informative)

theManInTheYellowHat (451261) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192026)

To say that these things can not make anything useful is very far from correct. Checkout RepRap [reprap.org] which is a very similar device to makerbot. Its firmware has the code built in to print the parts it is made from and is one of the tenants of the project. The video on the RepRap home page explaining the project is brilliant. These projects are indeed very worthy of getting funded.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192256)

And in 1980, you would have been correct. "Not actually useful yet for anything that matters" is an accurate statement in 2011.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191624)

Jesus, man... xanax. /. is precisely as it's always been (no, this isn't my first uid). Everyone is a contrarian, or else they'd have little to say.

And for my part, I'll add that I've seen very useful things come out of these printers (not just the silly low-res busts we see too many of) and there are better, cheaper designs all the time.

So yeah, we're not exactly ending scarcity in manufactured goods any time this decade, but they're useful tools.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191818)

Please, the word is not a comparative (hobby, hobbier, hobbiest). It's hobbyist. Like lobbyist, only better.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (3, Insightful)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191300)

Uhm, lack imagination much? It's distressing the anti-nerd, anti-tech, anti-imagination tone of a lot of comments I see on /. these days.

Yes the current incarnation is not much in terms of utility - but you wouldn't want to be commuting to work today in the first automobiles either. The notion here is to get the technology out into the hands of a bunch of self-motivated tinkerers and some of them will come up with useful, unforseen ideas. If you're an advocate for the free market, or American ingenuity, then you really shoudn't be taking issue with personal stereolithography.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191308)

What makes you think it's fragile? the example I saw recently was a fully working spanner. That's not something frangile because it must face a lot of forces when tightening and losening nuts and bolts.

I'm not sure why you think it'll be a fad. It's already seeing a lot of use in companies that can afford the kit as is right now. That implies it's already past the fad stage.

Of course, these things only ever get better with time too. So when it's consumer affordable it should be quite impressive technology.

Even if it doesn't improve and the current tech just comes down in price then it's already good enough to produce every day objects people might want to produce from drink cups/mugs, to plant pots, to hole punches, to key racks, to storage boxes, to lego pieces. There's just so many things it can already do that people will find useful.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191374)

There are 3D printers that can print metal, and some even food.

Your argument is basically, "oh that wooden plane is crap, come back when you can build a space shuttle"
3D printers like this have only just recently came in to the consumer market, it is extremely early days.
Come back when you have an imagination and sense of time.

Re:Oh god, more delusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191420)

You are horribly misinformed and bitter

Replicators? (3, Funny)

Quadzi (1055522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191212)

Would this be referring to the Star Trek Replicators (SWEET!) or the Stargate Replications (RUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!!!!!)?

Not really.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191294)

Just 3-D printers.. not auto-replicating nanites hellbent on ridding the world of human imperfection.

Re:Not really.. (2)

Quadzi (1055522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191654)

My inner nerd always did want to see the two franchises do something like the Jason vs Freddy movie and setup a Borg vs Replicators Battle Royale!

dvd case (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191220)

As long as these printers can't produce a real-looking dvd/blueray case, including insert, I'm not impressed.

Re:dvd case (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191256)

You could definitlely make a DVD/blu-ray case, although you might have to go with snap-in hinges instead of the flexible plastic spine, and a good printer with good quality paper will make a real-looking insert.

Re:dvd case (1)

Gunstick (312804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191354)

I think a non transparent one with the title picture in some crappy looking relief would be possible. The inlet you print on your newspaper replicator.
All cases would look the same, like those lightscribe CDs also look the same.

Can't Wait... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191268)

Until the "You wouldn't steal a car..." warnings come true and I can download myself a brand new Ferrari LOL

Re:Can't Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191416)

Wrong! You won't be downloading any cars.

Ferrari owns the unique pattern of 1's and 0's that drive this machine to produce a design that is a ferrari!

Send in the PIAA! (physical item association of assholes)
You owe us money! trillions and trillions for infringing our content and downloading a car!

You scoff... But you KNOW it's going to end up that stupid. Bet. :(

up on blocks in the basement (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191836)

And the openPhurARRARRRi project is stalled at 77% complete due to loss of interest by the originator.

Re:Can't Wait... (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191660)

I am not shitting you, I am seriously looking into building a custom car with 3D printed body panels and interior framework.

I'd have to scale-up an open source printer (like an Ultimaker or Makerbot) to AT LEAST 6'x6'x3' build volume (although a monstrous 10'x10'x5' would be ideal to avoid unnecessary seams) and then I would design and print the ABS panels to go on a chromoly or stainless tube-framed car. The panels would be only for aerodynamic and weatherproofing purposes.

Forming the body out of fiberglass is traditionally the most laborious part of building a custom/kit car, and then the fiberglass needs gelcoat, an awful paint that fades and cracks and looks like a kid's toy from the '50s, and then the fiberglass sags with age on top of all that. And if you damage it you gotta start all over again! And if you're on a small budget you're basically restricted to using the car itself as a mould so that is a real bitch.

ABS panels are far more durable and if you damage one, you just print a replacement, and the color can be in the material itself - even if you want to paint it, you can make the material the same color to make scratches less visible.

Interiors on custom cars often use some wood or fiberglass framework which is also a bitch and fiberglass looks tacky as hell on an interior. My plan is to use some printed framework and make a fabric-covered dash that zips open to be easy to work on.

Re:Can't Wait... (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192050)

Hmm, but the resolution on the Ultimaker/Makerbot is very low (As previously mentioned in this thread). How will you get a smooth, presentable finish?

I too am in the planning phases of a build. My first build will use standard premade fg panels, but I have pondered a second build (if I like building) and was considering a large 3d router to construct bucks to make cf moulds from. Again, the bucks would likely need a lot of preparation before making the moulds from them.

If your idea pans out then it may also be worth considering...

Re:Can't Wait... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192152)

I'll just slightly overbuild and sand the panels if they can't be made smooth enough (as is almost certain to be the case). Then I'll paint over them (I wasn't planning to go unpainted, but that would certainly be a good option for an offroad vehicle - look at ATVs with this kind of body). I'm planning metallic black on black plastic. The Lotus Elise already has ABS panels so you can look at how bodywork is done on those. Many newer cars have some ABS panels as well.

Re:Can't Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37192458)

Car parts use a different method than these machines. Makerbot is an Fused Deposition Modeling system, car parts/fancy looking smooth finishes use stereolithography which is a laser that cures a resin on layer at a time, slowly sliding the part down as it makes each layer. Both use a layering process where you cut the 3d object into a finite number of layers each being the thickness of the minimum layer size.

So with SLS systems you get .05mm thickness layers, whereas FDM gets around .3mm thickness. SLS still has those layer lines, they are just .05mm apart instead of .3mm

Re:Can't Wait... (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192286)

My understanding is that the most agonizing part of fiberglassing is making molds. If my jackass brothers could make surfboards, I'll bet you can glass into a mold. So... print molds, then smooth them out for actual use, and then lay fiberglass, or vacuform some lexan... I like Lexan because you can paint the inside and it looks awesome. You could even fade the paint to transparency and/or mask off sections to leave transparent windows to the understructure where it looks cool. But fiberglass doesn't require a big oven...

I'd also settle for nothing but vacuforming the interior pieces if they're not made of metal. That's how the big boys do it. You can do it with a shop-vac. In my acrylics class way back in junior high we had a locally made oven constructed from sheet metal, insulated with fiberglass, and filled with heat lamps. Any jackhole ought to be able to build one of those. I've priced a hand roll/break and you can get one for $200 that will handle the sheet metal you'd need to conveniently build one big enough to handle a whole dashboard.

My dream toy car is a tube-frame Lancer with a TDI+Quattro drivetrain...

A useful breakthrough for 3D printing will be (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191352)

when a car company puts such devices in all of their service departments, and simply FTPs the CAD files to make replacement trim parts on demand --- my truck has a broken seat adjustment handle --- I haven't even considered asking the dealer what a replacement part, w/ shipping would cost, but in a couple of years, I predict that I'll be able to just drop in and they'll be able to make such on-demand.

Re:A useful breakthrough for 3D printing will be (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191610)

Why would you do that?
Glue yours together, scan it, then print its replacement yourself.

Seriously? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191360)

I don't see why everyone's so fascinated with those extruding printers. They're extremely complex, extremely slow and their output is very low resolution. They have to fill solid parts with extruded material in a zig-zag pattern... takes forever and the output is a joke.

This [blogspot.com] , on the other hand, almost looks like magic [youtube.com] . This thing makes one whole layer at a time with extreme precision. It's also extremely simple in design: a single motor on one axis, one projector and a container for liquid resin.

Compare the output of the two types of machines [blogspot.com] . If you still prefer the MakerBot-type machines after seeing the video and the photos, please explain because I can't see any reason for the MakerBot to even exist. It's like wanting Windows 3.11 instead of Linux or Mac OS X.

Re:Seriously? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191512)

Because a liter of that resin costs hundreds of dollars, that is why. Also it is UV fixed, meaning storage is an issue and that stuff tends to go bad with time as well.

Re:Seriously? (3, Interesting)

paskie (539112) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191552)

Couple of random reasons: The material seems to be very expensive, AFAICS $200 per kg of resin vs ~$20 per kg of ABS. The hardware, software *and* the resin seems to be proprietary. And it didn't materialize yet, you can't get one so far.

(Also, I'm not sure about the resin properties, i.e. if they are as good as the plastic.)

The fact is, for many simple items the current resolution is doing just fine. And if you don't need to produce large quantities or aren't in a big hurry, taking time may not be an issue since you can just let it print and go do something else.

Re:Seriously? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191904)

Also they say that the starter edition(!) of the control software will cost $300. Yes, that's for the software only. In addition to the cost of the actual printer (which seems not yet to be decided).

Re:Seriously? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191670)

While that project is indeed extremely cool, and the fact that it is a DIY extremely impressive, I suspect that the $200/liter feedstock material has something to do with it...

With the hobbyist printing systems, once you get too far up in price, you start to bump uncomfortably close to the services that rent out time on big serious pro gear, with the advanced capabilities that offers, on a per-piece basis.

The extruders are substantially limited; but they can also knock out comparatively high-volume parts for peanuts.

Tea, Early Grey, Hot. (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191470)

And I'd like that in my 3D printed coffee mug please.

Re:Tea, Early Grey, Hot. (2)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192086)

Attempting to calculate answer to your question: why you want dried leaves in boiling water.

What do they need $10M for? (1)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191504)

I am a fan of the whole RepRap thing -- built one myself (not a MakerBot model) -- but I can't see what they need $10M for. With the prices they are charging, compared to the costs of other kits out there and what you get for them, they should be rolling in dough given their current sales.

Re:What do they need $10M for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191788)

What would any profitable little PC manufacturer do with 10 million dollars in the 70s? Research and make better ones?

Re:What do they need $10M for? (2)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192054)

R&D. Their margins probably anywhere near sufficient to support staff to sit around all day working on better versions or techniques.

Sometimes, you're lucky like Tesla and you fund your R&D with expensive cars. Sometimes, you need outside money.

Re:What do they need $10M for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37192332)

How much does a warehouse in Manhattan cost per year? How much for a couple employees (with wages to live in NYC)? What about material? You've got warehouse people, tech support people, website people, management. That is a couple hundred thousand right there. I wouldn't doubt they have expenses of at least a million a year.

With the prices they are charging, compared to the costs of other kits out there and what you get for them, they should be rolling in dough given their current sales.

Because being beat by competition at price point is a surefire way to get ahead in sales. They may cost more, but they provide service that no other group could handle. How is a company consisting of one guy selling kits going to support 5000+ machines a year? Poorly.

Re:What do they need $10M for? (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192436)

Hopefully to fund research.

That's kind of the problem in tech.. you have to have a selling product to fund research.. but keeping that selling product current requires resources itself.

A huge cash boost (should) let them do some R&D for a while .. and we might get something more practical.

As an aside, I realize the current generation of makerbot isn't all that useful or practical.. but I still really want one! :(

Maybe they'll improve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191616)

Maybe now they'll produce better products that (actually) work faster.

Perhaps something like this:
http://hackaday.com/2011/08/02/incredibly-fast-3d-printing-with-the-ultimaker/

Having used the makerBot at the local hackerspace- or perhaps I should say tried to.
Thing is so tempermental it really only makes crude toys.

Yes, people have used them to make seriously impressive things. With lots of babysitting
and tuning, and I'm sure a few dents in the wall where they beat their head.

gg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191630)

Ding +10M

Gratz Makerbot. . .

It'll be cool to see things bigger than a muffin, get to work!

West Coast (1)

Megalodactyl (2445348) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191750)

Needs some Maker Bot Love, I would love it if they would open up a facility on the west coast!

yo dog, I heard you lieked memes... (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191984)

West Coast Needs some Maker Bot Love

I checked Thingiverse, and the only fleshlight-like models are all variations of goatse.

SkyPrint? (1)

pasv (755179) | more than 2 years ago | (#37191882)

When 3d printers are capable of creating 3d printers the first steps of many paths will begin... LOL!

Re:SkyPrint? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37192388)

That's what RepRaps do (the parent project of MakerBot). Makerbots are sweet for being able to buy a kit or complete system, but the cupcake (their first system) was originally meant to be a "repstrap" which is to say a system designed for the sole purpose of making parts for a RepRap. The prusa reprap is gaining popularity, but it is far from the level of your average hobbyist. Though that is slowly changing. I have helped several people build their own RepRaps and my old mendel is happily turning out parts for new systems.

At any rate the announcement is good news for everyone as it signals the start of 3d printing going mainstream

Maybe they'll improve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37191916)

Google for the hackaday article on the ultimaker- a bot that smokes the MakerBot. Then read the comments below the article.

From my experience with the makerbot at the local hackerspace, they're slow and very tempermental. It is possible to make stuff with them, but nowhere as simple as hitting "PRINT". More like where PC based printing was 20 yrs ago.

It's not a miracle. It's just a CNC machine. (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192594)

Additive machining is cute, but not a miracle. It's a slow process. Building up objects one layer at a time takes forever. The consumables are rather expensive. Injection molding and casting are probably 100x cheaper in quantity.

High-end [fortus.com] additive machining system [youtube.com] are getting to be quite good. The low-end machines, though, are not yet very useful. The precision is too low, the surface quality is poor, and the material options are too limited. TechShop has both a high-end commercial machine, which is usually busy, and a machine at the MakerBot level, which is almost never used. If you're making tiny parts, you need high precision.

The big advantage of many of the additive processes is that they don't have work-holding problems. The big limitation of CNC machining is that you have to clamp down the workpiece, and the clamps get in the way of what you're doing. Some part of the workpiece will be inaccessible. So most work requires multiple setups, each of which has to be aligned with the previous setup to 0.001in or better. Designs have to be planned to be clampable.

The more interesting processes [youtube.com] can work metals. But they need 500W to 6KW lasers. If you're going to work in steel, you need enough power to melt steel.

For comparison, here's a high speed stamping press. [youtube.com] This is how most of the small metal parts in the world are made. Once you get the tooling set up, parts come out at machine-gun speeds.

On one condition (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37192682)

I'm cool with this as long as it doesn't lead to Reploids too. My designs for Megaman aren't quite complete yet.
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