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Geek Tool: Slashdot Video of Award Winning 3D Printer From CES

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the 3D-isn't-as-good-as-4D dept.

Idle 137

The Makerbot Replicator is a personal 3D printer, which can create three-dimensional objects through connecting and layering successive cross sections of material. The new version is bigger, better, and easier to set up than earlier MakerBots. In this video Tim made at CES, MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis shows us how wonderful a device it is, and tells us why every child (and most adults) should have a MakerBot.

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where is the video??? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685046)

huh?

Re:where is the video??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685332)

Looks like it is hosted at ooyala.com and NoScript may be blocking it.

Non biodegradable? (1, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685070)

I wonder if it can also support non-biodegradable materials too. Biodegradable is not always a good thing for durable/non-disposable things.

Re:Non biodegradable? (4, Insightful)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685098)

But it's meant precisely for disposable, non-durable crap that currently only comes in non-biodegradable, chinese-slave made form.

Re:Non biodegradable? (1, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685138)

Seems kinda limiting. When I look at these machines I see the potential to make all sorts of stuff that normally I would have to contract out to a machine shop (which for 1 or 2 of an item is not very cost effective)... but if the thing is going to start breaking down after a few months or years that kinda limits applications.

Re:Non biodegradable? (5, Informative)

lochnessie (1291986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685394)

Seems kinda limiting. When I look at these machines I see the potential to make all sorts of stuff that normally I would have to contract out to a machine shop (which for 1 or 2 of an item is not very cost effective)... but if the thing is going to start breaking down after a few months or years that kinda limits applications.

The two standard printing materials for the RepRap family of printers (and their descendants, like the MakerBot) are the biodegradable PLA, and standard petroleum-based ABS. PLA will degrade over time, but only under certain environmental conditions; it's unlikely to fall apart in normal use (most industrial thermophilic composting processes run at pretty high temperatures (60C and up). I guess you probably shouldn't use it to print an industrial composter.

ABS is ABS, and whatever you make with it will be around forever, so print your PLA composter with this instead.

Re:Non biodegradable? (1, Offtopic)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685148)

This entirely. When a MakerBot can start making things out of engineering materials capable of handing meaningful loads and temperatures (metal and ceramic, perhaps some high-performance plastics) then we have something.

I'd also like to see a MakerBot that can produce more general consumer goods, such as shoes, clothing, and other tools.

Of course, if many people have a general-purpose micro factory in their homes, then much of the world economy will be in for a new shock - and commodities prices and raw materials shipping industries will be quite interesting.

Re:Non biodegradable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685576)

Look at these two "extreme" 3D printers:

D-shape technology:
http://vimeo.com/29288417 (password is "moon")

Markus Kayser system:
http://vimeo.com/25401444

Cheers,

Giovanni
 

Re:Non biodegradable? (4, Interesting)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685612)

There are other devices that use ceramics, metals, or plastics. There are about 30 companies that make some form of additive manufacturing device using different processes like Selective Laser Sintering, Fused Deposition Modeling, and 3D Printing. This is a new industrial revolution that's just getting started. With these devices you can make small production runs cost effective and efficient. Also, these processes produce far less waste, so they use less material and energy.

As for consumer goods, I haven't seen clothing, but there are a lot of interesting items being designed for everyday use on Shapeways [shapeways.com] .

I've been following Additive Manufacturing since I read the article "Print me a Stradivarius" [economist.com] in the Economist. I expect this to be as significant as the Internet.

Re:Non biodegradable? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38689216)

I personally look forward to the trolling.

First we had black faxes. Then we had spam mail. Now we'll have three-dimensional, biodegradable genitalia.

Re:Non biodegradable? (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38689922)

I expect this to be as significant as the Internet.

I disagree. Utility is very low factor in the sale of most items, and something us geeks focus on more then most. For example, the shopping categories from the shapeways.com website is almost all toys and trinkets.

* Holiday Gift Guide
* Featured
* Art
* Gadgets
* Home Decor
* Jewelry
* Hobby

Marketing and branding is a major hurdle opposed to the home creation of small items. There's an industry that will marginalize such items as 'cheap' and 'purely utilitarian' (meaning they lack emotion!?) and 'poor quality' and 'poor design' and on and on.

Re:Non biodegradable? (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38690176)

You should read the article that I referred to in my original post since it gives a much better explanation of the subject than I did. I agree that the Shapeways site doesn't have that much by way of utility, but it's just a small part of what's going on in the field.

Re:Non biodegradable? (4, Informative)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686340)

When a MakerBot can start making things out of engineering materials capable of handing meaningful loads and temperatures (metal and ceramic, perhaps some high-performance plastics) then we have something.

I have to say, to be able to quickly prototype a model and get a hands-on form fit and function before going to the machine shop with these is golden, this technology has already saved my company buckets of money.

Re:Non biodegradable? (5, Interesting)

Niko. (89205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686560)

i know a couple of people who use 3d printers. when they want to make parts that need to be stronger than the PLA/ABS raw material, they "simply" print the model, use it to make a mold and cast the mold with bronze or copper or what have you.
it stops being an all-in-one solution but still allows detailed custom shapes with good strength and appearance.

Re:Non biodegradable? (1)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38688642)

when they want to make parts that need to be stronger than the PLA/ABS raw material, they "simply" print the model, use it to make a mold and cast the mold with bronze or copper or what have you.

This. If you're only looking at the initial printing material you're missing out on how that combines with existing manufacturing processes -- it's now possible to make *anything* using a digital 3D model as a starting point. Which means rapid prototyping, version control, download-distribution, and infinite repeatability.

Re:Non biodegradable? (2, Funny)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686584)

such as shoes, clothing

Seems like overkill for these when you can already create an infinite variety of shoes and clothing with nothing but a bunch of plastic garbage bags and a roll of duct tape.

Re:Non biodegradable? (4, Informative)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686820)

Similar technology, much better materials: www.stratasys.com

of course, the 'good machines' cost as much as my house. the high precision ABS ones are ~50k or less, though. Build temperature is a big part of it. most of them, the build area is a furnace to keep environmental temperature right for layer-to-layer adhesion. there's only so much you can do with only a heated nozzle. and they have to very carefully control material quality to get the build resolution and accuracy they give, so there are humidity controls, etc. high precision motors and controllers are a big deal, too.

Re:Non biodegradable? (5, Informative)

bartoku (922448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685170)

In the makerbot store [makerbot.com] there are ABS, PLA, and water soluble PVA filament spools.
I assume ABS is the plastic we are used to seeing everywhere that is fairly durable and water proof and that the water soluble PVA is the corn product he talked about in the video.

Re:Non biodegradable? (5, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685304)

PLA is corn based.

PVA(polyvinyl alcohol) is made from polyvinyl acetate, which is made from ethylene, which is made from steam cracking petroleum. Not very renewable, but good as a wash-away support material.

Re:Non biodegradable? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38689722)

There's no reason you couldn't get the ethylene somewhere else, of course (for example, it's released by ripening fruit).

Re:Non biodegradable? (1)

Sqweegee (968985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685212)

It can print with non-biodegradable plastics like ABS too, the same stuff used for lego bricks.

Everyone plugs their bio-friendly products these days, and some designs on these could produce a significant amount of waste.

Re:Non biodegradable? (2)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685298)

The is no issue of PLA spontaneously biodegrading, you have to compost it fairly carefully. (No idea if this is as green as it sounds, it gives off a lot of CO2, recycling should be preferable but the infrastructure isn't yet in place).

Re:Non biodegradable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685300)

Have a look at reprap.org

Printers like this typically print PLA (the biodegradable stuff in the video) or ABS (a more permanent, non-biodegradable) plastic.

how much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685106)

How much do the cartridges cost?

Re:how much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685458)

I see what you did there...

Re:how much (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687710)

They are spools.. $41 and up for 1kg. The spools look like weed whacker reels. I wonder if they would work? They certainly would be a lot cheaper.

I'm glad I could disable ads (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685112)

Because they kept on overlapping on the right side of the video. If you've got good Karma, disable the ads!

So how much is this (and the feedstock)? When will it be available? Actually the second question is probably moot, it's so cool it'll probably be sold out for a long time (at least until it can it self replicate to make more! :)

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (5, Informative)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685152)

Read TFL [makerbot.com] . It's available now, it costs $1,749.00, and the feedstock costs about fifty dollars a spool.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685258)

Yes, but how many Stephen Colbert heads do you get per spool?

My problem with these 3d techs online is that there's no good way to know exactly how much you can DO with a given amount of raw material. At some point, i'm going to have to break down and purchase things, just to get a baseline on cost.

He claims in the video that the material is so cheap you can just give things to friends and print more, but... Somehow, I doubt it's that cheap.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685310)

Yes, but how many Stephen Colbert heads do you get per spool?

My problem with these 3d techs online is that there's no good way to know exactly how much you can DO with a given amount of raw material. At some point, i'm going to have to break down and purchase things, just to get a baseline on cost.

He claims in the video that the material is so cheap you can just give things to friends and print more, but... Somehow, I doubt it's that cheap.

Learn to calculate volume - the material is consumed based on how much volume goes into your part.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (1)

EvilGrin5000 (951851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38688084)

Yes, but how many Stephen Colbert heads do you get per spool?

My problem with these 3d techs online is that there's no good way to know exactly how much you can DO with a given amount of raw material. At some point, i'm going to have to break down and purchase things, just to get a baseline on cost.

He claims in the video that the material is so cheap you can just give things to friends and print more, but... Somehow, I doubt it's that cheap.

Learn to calculate volume - the material is consumed based on how much volume goes into your part.

I think he wants to know how much plastic is in 1 kilo of spool. From what I could find, ABS density is roughly 1.05g/cm^3 and PVA is 1.19-1.31g/cm^3 which means that:

1000g is roughly 952.380952cm^3 of ABS plastic

OR

1000g is roughly 800cm^3 of PVA plastic (with 1.25g/cm^3 density)

Now your answer applies where depending on how big a Stephen Colbert design is, it takes more or less of the material: a 1cm^3 Colbert would give you 952 ABS heads or 800 PVA heads. Now THAT'S a lot of Colbert!

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38688570)

That's also assuming a solid part. 3d printed parts are generally printed with solid outer walls and loose infill, configurable as a percentage based on how strong you want your part to be. For a non-mechanical part like a colbert head, you can easily get away with 20% infill.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685652)

My problem with these 3d techs online is that there's no good way to know exactly how much you can DO with a given amount of raw material.

You don't worry about how many bowls of cereal you can get out of a carton of milk, or how many sandwiches you can make from a jar of marmalade, or how many sheets of paper you can print with a toner cartridge. It all depends on how much product you apply per item. Having said that, a 1kilo spool of ABS filament costs about $40, and a good CAD program will tell you the volume of an object. So, how many Lego pieces (ABS plastic) are there in a kilo?

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (1, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685762)

"You don't worry about how many bowls of cereal you can get out of a carton of milk, or how many sandwiches you can make from a jar of marmalade, or how many sheets of paper you can print with a toner cartridge"

Well, actually, you DO. That's EXACTLY what you do calculate to determine 'value', it's just that the average consumer knows roughly what those values are intutively, or guesses so from the packaging and experience. For printer cartridges, "pages printed" is actually in fact the primary metric of value.

If suddenly someone said that they wanted to charge the same price for a 'carton' of milk, but the carton was 1c / 200ml, you'd say that's bullshit because you know how big a 'carton' is in your local commercial context.

The point is that so far in the discussion, the quantity of stock in the cartridge (until your post) wasn't mentioned, still leaving people up in the air estimating something for which they had no common reference. The website's down, and I'm still not clear from your post if you're really stating that their feedstock cartridge is $40 and 1kg, or just that 'abs filament' is $40/kg....because clearly if they're printing color, their 'cartridges' are going to have to include more than just raw plastic.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (2)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686454)

Actually, the filament is colored. That's how it 'prints in color' and why it takes 2 heads to print in 2 colors.

I was asking for more details because the last time I looked into 3D printing, the ABS filament seemed to cost enough that printing things for fun, but screwing up, seemed to be a very costly mistake. The video, however, says it's cheap enough that you won't care.

Obviously, some of my data is wrong, but I don't know which yet.

And you're right, I do care how many bowls of cereal I get from a milk carton. I may not know the exact amount in my head, but I have an estimate since I've been eating cereal since I was young. I have never printed anything in 3D, though, so I have no idea what kind of volume something would have, or how much that would cost.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38688062)

I have never printed anything in 3D, though, so I have no idea what kind of volume something would have, or how much that would cost.

Your CAD software should be able to work out the volume/mass of the object you want to print. ABS's density is 1.04 grams per cubic centimeter. I have no idea about the density of that corn based stuff, though.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686748)

About 400. [answers.com]

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (2)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686782)

So, how many Lego pieces (ABS plastic) are there in a kilo?

About 400 [answers.com]

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38688366)

how many ... are there in a kilo?

Exactly 1000 ;-)

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686608)

Yes, but how many Stephen Colbert heads do you get per spool?

My problem with these 3d techs online is that there's no good way to know exactly how much you can DO with a given amount of raw material. At some point, i'm going to have to break down and purchase things, just to get a baseline on cost.

He claims in the video that the material is so cheap you can just give things to friends and print more, but... Somehow, I doubt it's that cheap.

The raw material is plastic wire. It is melted and molded, not really "consumed", so I expect you could easily calculate how much plastic a given print will require. The other main resource is electricity, and I think these things output a fairly constant volume / hour, so again, you just need to know the volume.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (3, Interesting)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687660)

Yes, exactly. Even the ancient s/w I am running on my Makerbot Cupcake calculates the cc's of material that will be consumed by a print.

This looks pretty cool, but I see the build envelope is 225mm x 150mm x 150mm ..... I really want 300mm x 150mm..... oh well......

These are outstandingly good humor -- my daughter draws up toys and doll house furniture and stuff in SolidWorks and prints them. I do robot parts. Great fun.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38688680)

Is there some software I can use without owning a machine, so I can design a few things and find out what they'd cost?

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38689470)

Yes, Skeinforge is open source. The whole tool chain is open source. But really, the cost of the plastic is minimal. And it is easy to estimate by weight, anyway. Go find a pile of Lego or any other plastic stuff that is about the same volume of plastic as the widget you want to make. Weigh it on a postage scale. Look at the cost of a 5 pound spool of the plastic they sell you. Do the math, it is easy. Also, remember that on most prints there is only a solid shell, and the interior is about 10% fill honeycomb. So often, taking the volume of your thingy and dividing by 9 or 10 is a reasonable estimate of the volume of plastic consumed.

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685408)

Thanks for the info!

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (4, Informative)

PerlJedi (2406408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685196)

The original V1 Thing-o-Matic costs around $1,100, but I'm guessing V2 will be more expensive than that, among other reasons, because of the dual-extruder.
Actually, forget the guess, here are some links: http://store.makerbot.com/thing-o-matic-kit-mk7.html [makerbot.com]
http://store.makerbot.com/makerbot-pva-1kg-spool.html [makerbot.com]
http://store.makerbot.com/replicator-404.html [makerbot.com]
If that is just too much, I would recomend finding a local area maker space (as many of them have these, and cost of joining is similar to that of a gym. Here is the one in Michigan I belong to:
Maker-Works [maker-works.com]

Re:I'm glad I could disable ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685874)

Ane here's one in Kansas City:
http://www.c3kc.org/

There's lots of printers there--couple makerbots, few repraps. Just getting ready to start on one myself :)

Replicator (TM)? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685128)

Really? It can't even print out one of it's own parts.

Taking a valid machine name and trademarking it for a machine that isn't?

Go to hell Makerbot. Seriously. /diy 3d printing world

Re:Replicator (TM)? (2)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685172)

It's a replicator, not a self-replicator.

Why don't we just call them replicators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685220)

3D printer, while technically correct, just doesn't sound science fictiony enough.

One step farther away from the Gadget-less Office (2, Funny)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685246)

I have enough trouble keeping track of the two-dimensional stuff I print. This is something best left cloud-based.

Re:One step farther away from the Gadget-less Offi (2)

Scutter (18425) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685374)

I have enough trouble keeping track of the two-dimensional stuff I print. This is something best left cloud-based.

You could use it to print your own 3D clouds.

Level of detail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685308)

What level of detail can this bot produce? Can it make 28mm tabletop wargaming models?

Re:Level of detail (2)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685490)

The makerbot website is misbehaving currently, but IIRC it's something like .25mm

Re:Level of detail (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685746)

World of Warcraft ran a promo to get your avatar printed by a ZCorp 3D printer ; the resolution quoted in the video [youtube.com] is 1/100th of an inch - which coincidentally is the same as the 0.25mm quoted by a sibling poster.

They aren't 28mm models.. but if it's good enough for Warcraft, maybe it's good enough for Warhammer. Of course, Games Workshop will start demanding DRM for STL files...

Re:Level of detail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38687168)

And even worse, Mythic Entertainment will program the MakerBots.

Re:Level of detail (2)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685916)

While I don't know about this particular machine, some of the repraps have been doing some very fine detail models down to 0.01m layer height [1] This combined with I believe about 0.3mm horizontal resolution should let you get some decent detail at 28mm sizes. You might still need to do a little additional clean up (the hot plastic like to make thin strings on some models, and some other minor things like that), to get a finished product but it could easily end up cheaper than some of the prices I've heard of other people paying for things like Warhammer ($4k investment for an army to play with... just go to the dollar store and buy 100 little green army men!). Along with units it'd also work well for doing buildings and other structures, possibly better than for units.

[1] http://blog.reprap.org/2011/12/001-layer-height-on-prusa-mendel.html [reprap.org]

But wait. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685338)

Imagine what damage this will do to the industry. Everybody making their own things, nobody buying toys, nobody buying anything. Heavy copyright lawsuits must kick in to prevent this horrible scenario. Every model copyrighted, every 3D printer with online DRM.

Re:But wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685574)

I'll wait until it can print me a nice real steak with all proteins perfectly folded and no weird long-term disease-inducing shit in it.
And until it can print me a mobile phone complete with the latest CPU/GPU and battery.
Some boobs would be nice too. ;) ...yes, those things still have a loooong way to go.
But hey, it's a nice start.

Re:But wait. (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685848)

Oh, you'll wait until science-fiction, is that right? Star Trek or bust.

You go ahead. Me, I'll be using the near-future technology for making tools, mechanical parts, printed logic devices, plates, toys, and wearables while you continue to slog to Walmart.

Re:But wait. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38688744)

Oooh aren't you so clever and cutting edge! Please describe these amazing devices you'll make at home! I am on tenterhooks.

Re:But wait. (2, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685808)

Imagine what damage this will do to the industry

Very little at the moment. Makerbot produced parts look like glorified plastic coil pots, are only available in a handful of materials & colours and are not suitable for applications where they may be put under stress. They're fine for the odd job, e.g. you break some widget and have the time & patience to produce a replacement. It's certainly not going be much use for "pirate" toys or any other goods. Probably cost more to produce the copy than it would the original.

I would see sites like Shapeways posing a larger issue where the quality, finish and range of materials is larger. Some of the stuff on that site could spell danger for traditional manufacturers of stuff like smart phone accessories, jewellry, decorations and so forth where someone could go in and produce a copy which they sell themselves on commission.

Re:But wait. (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38688072)

oh really? just wait legos will be pirated very quickly i know that if i had a 3d printer i sure would print them. you could also print plastic versions of Erector Set pieces, those were my favourite toys as a kid. and they would be very easily printed and pirated on these devices.

Re:But wait. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38688552)

I would be surprised. LEGO is very high quality, precise measurements, mass produced and hollow.

I don't think it will be cheap enough to make to warrant making your own bricks. You're own custom bricks then LEGO doesn't sell? sure.

Re:But wait. (1)

W. Justice Black (11445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38690106)

The guy who staged out the Bible in Legos would have had an easier time of it for sure:

http://thebricktestament.com [thebricktestament.com]

He clearly needed to hax0r a bunch of Legos to tell many of the stories...

Re:But wait. (2)

MattskEE (925706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38688894)

just wait legos will be pirated very quickly i know that if i had a 3d printer i sure would print them.

In order to make lego bricks which both hold together firmly and can be easily pried apart requires precision injection molding http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/lego1.htm [howstuffworks.com] , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego#Manufacture [wikipedia.org] . 3D printers don't have the tolerance, material strength, nor finish quality required for producing strong tight-tolerance pieces like this. Printing is just a fundamentally different manufacturing process which is good for certain tasks but not this kind of task.

There are stereolithography machines which do additive manufacturing by curing a photosensitive polymer one layer at a time, and these can be quite precise. However they are slow and very expensive to run. They are useful for some specialized tasks like building structures which could not be machined in a single piece using traditional machining equipment due to internal structures. There is little choice of material though as you are limited only to liquids that are photo-curable and you only get to choose one material for a given solid piece. There's no manufacturing revolution here, it's a specialized piece of equipment which produces small quantities of parts at a high price. Useful for prototyping and specialized tasks, not mass production.

Re:But wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685824)

Finally we're going to see if there really is a Chopstick lobby in DC!

Seriously though, wouldn't need to buy kitchen utensils. Ladle broke? Print new one. Spatula getting old? Print a new one.

I think this tech is a lot closer to a replicator than people give it credit. Yeah, your not getting food out of it, but there are lot of household items you could print off without going to the store. Once it matures anyway.

Re:But wait. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686474)

Finally we're going to see if there really is a Chopstick lobby in DC!

Seriously though, wouldn't need to buy kitchen utensils. Ladle broke? Print new one. Spatula getting old? Print a new one.

I think this tech is a lot closer to a replicator than people give it credit. Yeah, your not getting food out of it, but there are lot of household items you could print off without going to the store. Once it matures anyway.

Ladle broke? Make a new one.
        - Spend an hour or two coming up with a 3D file
        - Spend an hour or two messing with the printer
        - Spend another hour or two doing it over when you figure out you missed something important.

Versus: Walk down to the local WalMart, Walk through the aisle. Pick from several ladles. Purchase one. Walk home.

More exercise, less hassle.

That's pretty much it at this stage of the game. There are reasons why ladles (and other simple consumer goods) are made in big factories in bulk.

Re:But wait. (2)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686970)

You can cut that down to half an hour of possibly messing with the printer by just downloading one [1]. As these printers get more common and "standardized" like with the Makerbot Replicator and the Printrbot, it'll soon be less hassle to print one. Though the cost is still higher on the plastic bits to go in, it is being worked on by the reprap people to get the printers to be efficient and as more of them become available the cost of the spools will go down. There's been some work at directly using injection molding pellets but I don't believe it's printed any fruit yet. That alone will get the cost down by about 50% per object.

[1] http://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=spoon [thingiverse.com]

Re:But wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38689258)

Arrrgh! You got reality into my 3D printing delusional fairy-tale world! Next to Space Nuttery, 3D printing REALLY brings out the incompetent and childish delusional slashers en masse.

Not very smart (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38689294)

Ladle broke? Make a new one.

Holy crap I hope no-one reads your post and tries this. Do you have any idea how much effort goes into material creation that is safe for you to put in a hot pot of soup without leeching all sorts of things into the broth?

Same goes for a spatula, I would be really hesitant to put a generic extrusion material on a hot griddle at all much less near a pancake...

Also a spatula needs to be flexible and have really different elasticity than a ladle.

Now I'm sure over time some of these issues will be addressed, but honestly the whole material aspect for something as simple as utensils that can be used for food is really complex and I am not sure a home 3D printer would ever have that degree of complexity in materials it could generate.

Re:Not very smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38689920)

NNOOOOoooooooooOOOoooo!!!!! Reality, physics, chemistry, logic and materials science in *MY* 3D printer story!??? Who will suck Bre Pettis off now!?

Re:But wait. (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685938)

Someone did imagine ; The Diamond Age includes this scenario - all the replicators ("matter compilers") are linked to a network and under heavy DRM. The most successful economic groups control the matter supply (ink cartridges / 3D printer spools / tiny nano-legos). The major plot arc surrounds an attempt to obtain a small scale, self-replicating (on the macro-scale, no grey goo) matter processing technology, in preference to the vast, centralised, proprietary matter processors owned by a few powerful groups.

While there is poverty in the proposed world, it's not as bad as it is today - there are kiosks in the street where you can obtain basic clothes and foodstuffs, thermal blankets, etc, for no charge. What poverty there is remains the result of an oligarchy controlling centralised production systems.

Re:But wait. (1)

WhyCause (179039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686760)

Read "The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson for one imagining of this scenario.

Re:But wait. (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687836)

Imagine what damage this will do to the industry. Everybody making their own things, nobody buying toys, nobody buying anything. Heavy copyright lawsuits must kick in to prevent this horrible scenario. Every model copyrighted, every 3D printer with online DRM.

It's already started happening. The DMCA has been used to take down 3D models [arstechnica.com] .

As with music and movie industries, we're going to see this continue to 3D printing as well. It's only just started, since 3D printing is still a relative novelty for most people and everything's concentrated in just a few providers.

RepRap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685364)

Isn't this all kind of moot when RepRap will happily work with biodegradable plastic

Gosh! (0)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685470)

Managed to not tell me anything I'd like to know, availability, how big is it, how much does it cost, what materials and so on. Just hype.

Re:Gosh! (2, Funny)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685776)

Managed to not tell me anything I'd like to know, availability, how big is it, how much does it cost, what materials and so on. Just hype.

This newly fangled Interweb thing has curious devices called 'links [makerbot.com] '. These are often represented by words distinctively coloured or otherwise marked. Your computational engine is most likely provided with a small carriage vulgarly known as a 'mouse'. If you trundle this carriage across the surface of your writing desk, a representation of a hand or arrow or similar pointing device is automatically and synchronously moved across your information display. If you manoeuvre your 'mouse' until this pointer appears to hover over the distinctively marked text, and then press down on the depressable are on the front left of the carriage until a light click is heard, a page of information will appear elucidating the point being made.

Just sayin'

Re:Gosh! (2)

thejaq (2495514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686142)

It's available (several different models/companies, in kit or prebuilt), they are all on the order of 1 - 1.5 ft^3, cost about $1100, print from corn based PLA, or oil based ABS, and a guy on kick starter just successfully raised close to a million bucks to build a comparable (possibly superior) model for $~500.

These machines are laying the ground work of distributed manufacturing. Get everyone building trinkets in their home will 1) get people used to the idea 2) build lots of expertise leading to better software, a universe of parts, exponential improvement and 3) prepare us for the real magic when we're laser sintering aluminum, steel parts, ceramics, etc. in our homes on a similar device. There's nothing to it except for a $1000 CO2 laser, powered metal, and other parts shared with these plastic machines including the know-how of a few 100k tinkerers mastering the workflow of distributed manufacturing using additive processes while building cheap plastic trinkets.

Re:Gosh! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686518)

Right. The general population barely has the technical ability to turn off their cell phone.

You're asking them to make something?

this is amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685622)

i personally think the cost is pretty decent when you consider what these things can do.

i do a lot of my own mechanic on cars, motorcycles and the like, and plastic parts are the first things that break, and the most expensive ones to replace ! (think of those little plastic pins that hold your bumper, those things are worth 2 to 3$ a pop at most dealerships ... it would literally cost a dime to make with that machine.

for people that are really hands on, this will pay for itself in no time.

just by looking at there website: http://www.thingiverse.com/newest

the have pretty decent stuff, specialty tools, cookie cutters, shooter glasses, sink stoppers ... lots of stuff !!

Re:this is amazing... (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685998)

Don't copy that [youtube.com] ... bike part.

Printcrime! [craphound.com]

Re:this is amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38686940)

They can't do anything.

"it would literally cost a dime to make with that machine."

And you know this how? What plastic, what material, how will you store it, how long does it last, are the parts as good, what happens when it fails on the highway (liability anyone?). There's more to this than making a poor representation of a shape with an expensive toy.

Can we get a kiosk? (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685792)

This strikes me as the type of development that is better suited for a Hardware store or retail outlet. Why should I make the individual investment when I can just go to Menards with an AutoCAD or Unigraphics file and say, "print me a plastic part" for $2.99 and I'll stop by when its done? That's why you rent tools from the hardware store instead of buying them and letting a bunch of them just take up space. A million individual 3D printers doesn't really make sense.

Re:Can we get a kiosk? (2)

phrackwulf (589741) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685912)

And while I'm thinking about it... The hardware store would probably have to post the "no dildos" rule pretty quick. But I think it is still a valid business strategy.

Re:Can we get a kiosk? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686558)

And while I'm thinking about it... The hardware store would probably have to post the "no dildos" rule pretty quick. But I think it is still a valid business strategy.

And no Steve Jobs dolls, and no naked chick dolls and no Jurassic Park toys and no Happy Meal thingies....

Get my drift?

Re:Can we get a kiosk? (1)

Naso540 (2304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685962)

I was think this as well - like the key cutting station at all the hardware stores!

Re:Can we get a kiosk? (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686264)

I'd be glad to have one nearby --- the nearest ``maker'' type shop is over an hour's drive from me.

Even more interesting would be for the shop to have a 3D scanner which would allow them to scan broken parts, then assemble them on-screen / fill in missing bits and fabricate a replacement on the spot.

Self-compile? (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685930)

For me, the technology will be sufficiently advanced when I can use a Makerbot to print the pieces necessary to build a Makerbot.

Re:Self-compile? (2)

phooky (645) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686322)

It's been done. [thingiverse.com]

it's a lie (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687572)

it only prints the mechanical parts and none of the electronic parts needed to make a makerbot work ...

Re:Self-compile? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38688126)

Well, minus the belts, the electronics. the motors, the bearings, the rails, the print head, the fuseor the... Ok; it was able to build the plastic frame, which is still awesome, but still leagues away from actually making the peices required to build itself.

For that you would need a printer that:

Can use multiple materials with different properties :
Ridged and conductive
ridged and non-conductive
flexible and elastic
Extremely ridged and strong
FPGAs

It would then either need motors/stepper motors as one of it's consumables or be able to wind a motor on the fly (in which case it must be able to 'print' permanent magnets)

At that point it could print itself, but it would be 'some assembly required'; the final product would be in pieces that would likely snap together quite cleanly and complete the project. For a true von neumann device it must be able to print a fully functional copy of itself; which would require it to have a printing area larger then it is, or have some external arm to complete the final assembly.

This is not to disparage the accomplishments that the DIY guys have done so far, but to dismissively tell a guy who says 'before I can adopt it it needs to be able to print something at least as advanced as it is' by saying 'it's been done' and linking him to just the frame components having been printed is not constructive. You could point out that that date is a long way away; and that the poster is being a wet blanket on all the cool things being done right now, or you could mention that once that happens 3d printing will be 'done' (in that there will be no need to make them more advanced, just bigger and more accurate and using more esoteric materials); or that that is a complete other ballgame because it represents the start of a technological singularity.

another no transcript video report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38686532)

how many slashdot users have access to speakers/head phones in their place of work ?

please add transcripts for these video reports, or even better add subtitles.

Re:another no transcript video report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38688444)

Want text, not video.

Maybe it's my age, but when I click on a link to get some information, I'd prefer text. I can copy, search, skim, and speed-read text. I honestly don't see the value of a video of some head talking to me when I can read for myself.

Saw it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38687144)

I got a whopping 2 minutes before I got split up from friends that didn't care... The resolution was quite good. Better than I expected.
Now I'm considering getting one to print droid parts. Not sure if I can save $1700 to make it pay for itself on one project, though!

Embedded Video (1, Insightful)

Catskul (323619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687234)

The front page story style gave no hint that the video was to embedded and that users need to click through to see the video. I checked all three links assuming one of them would link to the video and figured that the posting editor had accidentally omitted it. It was only when I clicked through to see if anyone else was as confused as I was that I saw it was an embedded video.

The front page style should be changed to allow viewing embedded video from the front page, or at the very least the fact that there is an embedded video to be clicked through should be overtly indicated.

This is not news (1)

s4ndm4n (1361751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687406)

I know I saw a news story about this at least a year ago -- thing-o-matic's 3d printer is definitely not a new thing.. Even the idea of it being an affordable option for prototyping has already been in articles for at least a year.

Would have liked to see the printer more (1)

JonnyDK (747988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687810)

It would have been nice to see a close up of the actual printer in the video instead of some guy in the foreground with the printer way in the background!

Steve Jobs action figure... (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38688776)

...is now just a scan away. Anybody have the markup for that?

Cubify (4, Informative)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38689420)

The big story at CES is the debut of Cubify [cubify.com] , a $1299 MSRP 3D printer that uses technology similar to the Makerbot, but it is a bit more professionally assembled. It will launch with accepting a USB drive with STL files on it, and may later have WiFi with an open API.

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