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Dreambox: the World's First 3D Printing Vending Machine

timothy posted about a year ago | from the wake-up-covered-in-plastic-goo dept.

Printer 97

coolnumbr12 writes "Frustrated by the lack of access to 3D printers at their school, three recent graduates from UC Berkeley have installed Dreambox, the world's first '3D printing vending machine,' on their campus. Dreambox gives everyone access to the 3D printer for a small fee, allowing them to print objects from their own designs or from an online store. The creators hope that it will help democratize 3D printing and help more people realize the technology's potential."

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Name already in use (0)

hedleyroos (817147) | about a year ago | (#43904105)

There already exists a popular Linux based satellite receiver called Dreambox.

Re:Name already in use (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43904205)

Which since it is not in the same market no one will confuse.

Name reuse is fine if it does not lead to confusion.

Re:Name already in use (1)

havana9 (101033) | about a year ago | (#43904625)

Let's wait until design for 3d printers will be encoded with Irdeto or Nagravision and you need to pay a monthly subscription to print.

Re:Name already in use (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43904791)

That's silly. Most people buy Dreamboxes specifically so they don't have to pay a subscription.

Re:Name already in use (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#43911265)

Tell that to Apple. Trademarks can be an ugly business.

Re:Name already in use (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43904389)

There already exists a popular Linux based satellite receiver called Dreambox.

Is it a 3D printing vending machine?

Having the same name in an entirely different market segment means you can freely have the same name. Trademarks and the like only apply in the area of business, not every company in the world who could possibly use that name.

So, there is no issue here.

HOT PLASTIC! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#43905757)

So this is like Mold-a-rama [google.com] for the 21st century?

Hell, I'd be happy with 1960's Mold-a-rama!

Re:HOT PLASTIC! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#43905821)

This dude's building a Mold-a-rama clone [wordpress.com] . cool!

Re:HOT PLASTIC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43908651)

The Toledo Zoo in Toledo Ohio has a Mold-a-rama!

It's functional and open for use by the public, located just outside the "Carnivore Cafe" food court.

Re:Name already in use (1)

chezbunch (2861303) | about a year ago | (#43906259)

Names are registered in trademark classes, so you can have the same name in different classes if the name has not been registered in all classes by the first applicant.
This is the list of international classes: http://www.oppedahl.com/trademarks/tmclasses.htm [oppedahl.com] (it seems to be the same as the French classes).

That's why you have a toilet paper and a sport car brands which are both called Lotus.

Meh... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about a year ago | (#43904135)

They're already offering a printer in the class shown in the "Dreambox" promo video for $1200.

Go to select Staples and buy it. If your Staples isn't one of the select ones, you can have it ordered site-to-store with no shipping from their web site.

I see it being something "useful" for students and people that can't afford that printer- but it's not such the big deal as people are making of it here.

Re:Meh... (4, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year ago | (#43904221)

You're crazy. How often does the average person have a true need for a 3d printed object? Rarely, I would say. So the while the cost isn't in and of itself an issue, the benefit to owning a printer is low. Why shouldn't staples, kinkos, and others just allow you to print your object on a one off basis? If there is money to be made, that's where it is.

Re:Meh... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43904309)

This.
I do not own any printer, I use the local fedex store. That way I can pay just pennies and get far better quality output.

A photo printer is another thing that is this way. You simply cannot get as good a prints from a home photo printer as I can get for $0.10 per print from rite aid. Nor will you likely ever print enough to get the cost that low. 3d printers would be the same, I could get a higher quality and lower cost print out by using one owned by someone else who rents it out. I would support putting one in my local library though, just like they have copy machines that charge a low rate per use.

Re:Meh... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43904431)

Agree totally.

Over the years I've found that the cost of the consumables for any form of color or photo printing just isn't worth it. You can get someone to print you those things incredibly cheap these days.

I still have a laser printer/scanner/photocopier combo that I use for some stuff. But for anything else, it's cheaper to just get it printed for a relatively tiny cost.

Re:Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43905003)

A photo printer is another thing that is this way. You simply cannot get as good a prints from a home photo printer as I can get for $0.10 per print from rite aid. Nor will you likely ever print enough to get the cost that low. 3d printers would be the same, I could get a higher quality and lower cost print out by using one owned by someone else who rents it out. I would support putting one in my local library though, just like they have copy machines that charge a low rate per use.

Brilliant, but why stop at a 3D printer? I'm gonna try to get a full-on Makerspace going as an extension to the public library...

Re:Meh... (1)

boristdog (133725) | about a year ago | (#43905653)

Yeah...I print things out at um...Kinkos. I totally don't use the fancy printers at work for this at all.

Re:Meh... (1)

JazzLad (935151) | about a year ago | (#43906233)

^This. The day my office goes paperless is the day I have to go printer shopping ...

Re:Meh... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43906357)

I agree. Except that I bought a $50 black and white laser printer from Walmart. Because sometimes it's just more convenient to print something out at home. Color prints, photos, all those go off to the print shop, but if I want to print off a recipe for my mom, or some directions from Google Maps, I can do that without having to run to the store. And I choose a laser printer because I got tired of ink drying up or the print heads being jammed or dirty every time I needed to print something which was about once every couple of months.

Re:Meh... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43906943)

My mom has a tablet so I send her an email. We all have GPS or smartphones so directions are something I never consider.

A laser is really the only way to go.

Re:Meh... (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about a year ago | (#43907173)

If you have very small quantities this may be true, but I picked up a color laser jet that costs me less than a cent per page from home and I have a professional photo printer that costs me less than 50 cents for a 4 by 6 or $6 for a 13 by 19 and the quality far exceeds anything that Rite Aid could do. It's more on par with what would cost $5 to $50 from a pro lab. Now granted, for smaller, cheaper consumer photo printers, the quality isn't as good and the ink is more expensive so Rite Aid or Costco might still be a better option, but good photo printers or laser jets for frequent users of either device are still a substantial savings.

Re:Meh... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43907203)

You can find a local photographer/camera store with an even better setup who will print for those kinds of prices.

Unless you are a pro photographer you simply are not going to get those economies of scale.

Re:Meh... (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about a year ago | (#43907497)

If you are a pro photographer or an avid consumer, you can end up with similar quantities of prints. I happen to be a little of both. I've actually got a Pixma Pro-1 which is a professional printer. The costs don't get significantly cheaper as you move up scale from that point since it's already using large ink cartridges with cheap per ml costs. You do need a certain amount of base printing though since you need to go through a set of fairly large cartridges every year or two do to shelf life (if you are printing less than a few 8x10s, 20 or so 4x6s or one 13x19 a month, then you simply aren't going to go through the ink fast enough to have it not go bad on you, but if you are, the payback time for the printer is pretty fast (like 50 or so 13x19s)).

Personally, I do the occasional event professionally, so I hit the break even point really fast, but I also know people in the photographic community that are consumers that print far more than that for friends, family and the occasional random person that wants to buy a copy of one of their photos. You need to be an avid photographer, but it can still be a savings for a non-professional if you need gallery quality. I completely agree that anything below gallery quality prints can be done cheaper in a store though (and if you don't understand printing, then most likely gallery quality prints will be better in a store as well.)

Re:Meh... (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | about a year ago | (#43910075)

I'm a little skeptical of a 'Professional' photo printer at that price for image, especially once you take into account the capital cost of the printer, unless you are doing significant volume of images.

Inkjet printers rarely result in good long life images as the inks fade from exposure to UV (usually the reds first - which is why old billboards sometimes start to get a cyan tint to them).

Images you get printed at a photography outlet generally use a better grade of paper and inks for a longer life image.[1]

[1] For a given value of usually and longer.

Re:Meh... (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about a year ago | (#43911155)

I was not factoring in the cost of the printer for the prints. The way I did my cost calculations was material costs per print and then calculated capital payoff based on the price difference between equivalent prolab quality. I went into more details of my analysis on it in my response to h4rr4r. I own a PIXMA Pro-1 which is a gallery quality 13x19 printer. It uses Lucia 12 pigments and I'm printing on Chromalife 100+ papers. That gives it 150 to 200 year album life combined with the pigment ink and over 60 years light fastness under glass in sunlight. It is also effectively waterproof (I soaked a picture for 8 hours with no degradation in quality compared to a fresh print.) The paper is in fact a significant part of the cost (around 25 to 35% depending on size and paper stock). Ink is relatively cheap since it uses large cartridges (less than $1 per ml.)

Photography outlets generally use actual photographic paper and laser or led expose it and develop it using a normal development process. This produces a smaller gamut and typically inferior life to archival papers and pigment inks. Fuji Crystal Archive which is one of the better ones only has a life of about 40 years (compared to 60 for my cheaper paper or 70 for the more expensive.) For a long time I thought the same thing as you until someone convinced me to take a serious look at how far pigment based ink jets have come. They now produce superior quality and longevity at a cheaper price than wet processes can achieve.

Re:Meh... (4, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#43904627)

You're crazy. How often does the average person have a true need for a 3d printed object? Rarely, I would say. So the while the cost isn't in and of itself an issue, the benefit to owning a printer is low.

Haven't you been paying attention? Everyone needs one so they can print their own "gunz". How are you supposed to defend yourself against the Jones? What do you think is going to happen when your neighbors have an arsenal and you don't? They will come and take your shit, burn your wife and rape your pets. Do you have any idea of the emotional trauma your children will go through at school? How's little Johnny going to feel eating lunch from a brown paper bag every day when all of his friends have the latest daily fad lunchbox? Or poor Suzy with the same lame ass book bag she had last week? We must think of the children. It should be obvious that lack of a 3D printer is the single biggest threat to the American way of life since; well nothing. There's never been a bigger threat to our existence.

Re:Meh... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year ago | (#43908669)

That's a good point. I should sell my Metal and wood working tools capabile of building durable long lasting weapons, and buy a printer capable of building crappy plastic ones. The future is Plastic

Re:Meh... (1)

SB2020 (1814172) | about a year ago | (#43914577)

How's little Johnny going to feel eating lunch from a brown paper bag every day when all of his friends have the latest daily fad lunchbox?
That a great idea - I'm going to print my kids some sliced bread shaped sandwich cosys. I built myself a RepRap Mendel in April - after the initial thrill of building it and calibrating to get good prints, I haven't used it much. The reality is designing/slicing/printing/iterating takes a *lot* of time and there are great limitations/challenges to printing with FDM style printers.

My advice to anyone dabbling would be to use a bureau or community printer, you get the benefit of calibrated output, access to much higher resolution and sintered laser systems that can print with metal or silicon. Having said that, I wouldn't discourage anyone from going the self built route, it was fcking good fun and immensely satisfying. I have intimate knowledge of the machine as I assembled every nut and bolt, quality and build area exceed commercial printers of twice the price.

Re:Meh... (1)

enjerth (892959) | about a year ago | (#43907327)

Meh... planned obsolescence?

How about those things in your house that would be perfectly functional if not for a little stupid broken piece of plastic?

No need to throw away a printer just because one of the paper feed gears stripped a tooth or broke. I can think of about a dozen things I've thrown out over the years, totaling several hundred dollars to replace, that I wouldn't have had to if I could print a piece for a few bucks.

Yeah, it doesn't quite add up to savings if I ran my own 3d printer, but the benefit isn't exactly low.

You can refurbish your own stuff instead of throwing it in a landfill.

Re:Meh... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year ago | (#43908685)

I could also refurb things if I could get Kinkos to print out the part I needed. As time goes on, they'd updat their printer to compete with staples so the next time I need something it will be printed to even higher tolerances at the same price. I'd be stupid to buy, if this was the case.

A "vending machine" (2)

dinfinity (2300094) | about a year ago | (#43904141)

This is as much a vending machine as the printers at the repro desk are.

I'd be fine with calling it this, if the newsworthyness wasn't solely based on the alledged 'vending machine'-ness.

Re:A "vending machine" (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43905159)

yeah..
and there's plenty of print services popping around.

but after actually watching the video, it does some have some automation in the box.

now, I'm wondering how many prints it will do before it needs someone to reset the build platform, change the filament etc. it has just a makerbot replicator in it and I wouldn't rate them for vending machine use - or fire safety unattended for long times.. I have one printing right now behind the couch I'm on. I certainly wouldn't dare to ask money fro prints I didn't hand check. hell, I wouldn't waste plastic on models I didn't check myself before putting them for print, it's finicky enough as it is.

enclosing the thing in a box gets instant boost for print reliability though, if they're printing abs.

"Democratizing" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904181)

Jeez give it a rest, there are people on this planet who'd do anything to live in our democracy and you cheapen the word with your trinket dispenser.

Re:"Democratizing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904257)

Jeez give it a rest, there are people on this planet who'd do anything to live in our democracy and you cheapen the word with your trinket dispenser.

Big deal, so they don't have free and open elections, OR a 3d printer. What's one more thing to be jealous about?

Re:"Democratizing" (2)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about a year ago | (#43904443)

Jeez give it a rest, there are people on this planet who'd do anything to live in our democracy and you cheapen the word with your trinket dispenser.

No one is cheapening the word -- it's its usage in this form predates your absurdist politically correct world view.

Google, tell us what "democratizing" means. [google.com]

Re:"Democratizing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904509)

it's its usage

it's its usage

it's its usage

it's its usage

it's its usage

it's its usage

Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition.

Re:"Democratizing" (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43905191)

how far into bullshit do you have to go in the results before you find a meaning that fits this?
I don't see the system having a popular opinion voting on what is going to be printed next...

socializing would be more like giving access to it for everyone. but I guess that sounds unpatriotic.

Re:"Democratizing" (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about a year ago | (#43905703)

how far into bullshit do you have to go in the results before you find a meaning that fits this?

If you didn't see it immediately upon following the link, then I guess you will find the bullshit deeper than most.

Re:"Democratizing" (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about a year ago | (#43905783)

It's the second definition from the link.

Verb
1. Introduce a democratic system or democratic principles to: "public institutions need to be democratized".
2. Make (something) accessible to everyone: "mass production has not democratized fashion".

I'd Like a Taser, Please (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904327)

I'm going on a trip soon and I'd like a taser, please. I'm not going to carry it on the plane but I need it to defend myself from those commie bastards disguised as TSA agents. Those people are trying to rob us of our freedoms and steal our precious bodily fluids! [imdb.com]

The Exact Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904383)

Not that pumped.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904359)

Im not looking foward to eating 3D food honestly. I dont know what it woud taste like, but I know it wouldnt be good. Anyone agree?

Re:Not that pumped.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919029)

Pretty much. If it gets down to the level of molecular cloning for solid foods it should be as tasty as anything else or maybe even far superior but so far it all looks (and probably tastes) like sick shit.

However one exception is confectionery, it doesn't look bad and probably tastes okay or even good. That's the magic of sugars.

Also remember that most liquids (at least sodas and alcoholic beverages and spirits) always were or kind of "3D food" the difference being that the layering/compositing is happing at the molecular scale.

Yet another also: I haven't seen the latest NASA thingamajic I've heard about, didn't sound too enthralling though.

All well until (3, Informative)

leuk_he (194174) | about a year ago | (#43904449)

Someone starts printing out controversial things.
- Sex toys.
- Weapons.
- Copyrighted stuff (like Mickey Mouses)
x all of the above.....

As long this stays small it will stay under the radar. But if the scale is increased there will be more rules about this.

Re:All well until (2)

angelbar (1823238) | about a year ago | (#43904609)

Re:All well until (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904921)

Twin satellite dishes to provide uninterrupted access to Slashdot while on tour and a stout helmet affording a little protection from Chris Brown's manly affection. Nice job.

Re:All well until (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904857)

What's wrong with any of that, as long as it's for personal use and not breaking existing laws?

Re:All well until (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43904891)

Per TFA, the Dreambox is apparently incapable of printing the infamous Liberator firearm.

Mind you, not because it violates the ToS (which it totally does), but because the printer "isn’t able to print some of the complex parts required for the gun."

Re:All well until (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43905689)

Who would want to print that stupid fucking gun anyways? The only ones that I have saw that didn't destroy itself when firing was the one in the very professionally shot and edited one buy the supposed "American collage student" that claims he came up with the design and ones where the person has replace a bunch of parts with metal one that were machined on a bridgeport and had all sorts of rivets and screw reinforcing it. It all a rouse to get them media whipped up and the government to ban 3d printing or put something in place to protect the patents of companies that probably reverse engineered their product from someone else anyways.

Re:All well until (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#43906791)

Who would want to print that stupid fucking gun anyways?

Anyone who wants a gun, but gets told by their government that they can't have one, and can't / doesn't want / doesn't dare buy one on the black market, and doesn't have the skills to construct a zipgun. Like, anyone who wants one for home defense in the better part of western Europe.

OK, perhaps they won't want this particular gun. But the design has already been improved slightly and is very likely to be improved further. Of course you'll still need ammo to go with it...

Re:All well until (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#43904967)

"But if the scale is increased there will be more rules about this."

There are already probably hundreds of thousands of RP machines worldwide. So much for staying small. A hobby RP machine is going to be just that, for a nominally small price and that is OK for PR purposes.

When your business depends on it to get the best RP parts for what your needs are in prototyping or short run production you go to the best you can find. Those machines (a half dozen different types with different materials from titanium, to Stainless steel to plastics, wax, paper, starch & elastomers) tend to cost in the hundreds of thousands to get the repeatability and accuracy needed to get usable parts required with minimal amount of cleanup that are as strong as needed.

Re:All well until (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43905739)

So, we should stop progress because it upsets the status quo?
No, this is just another example of the world moving forward, while business and law are stuck 100 years ago.
It's easier to fix some trivial problems, like limiting the damage done by patent trolls than rethink the entire system.

But honestly, I really don't care. I don't think anyone should. It's not something they can enforce reliably. Except maybe to make the raw material providers pay royalties for what their customers may or may not producing. Pretty much like that blank dvd tax that was so popular a while ago.

BTW, I'm a pretty good 3d modeller myself, and I'm thinking a nightmare item to fit your question. A dildo shaped gun that talks like Mickey Mouse when you pull the trigger. Oh, and then I'll ask EA to pay me royalties.

Re:All well until (1)

psithurism (1642461) | about a year ago | (#43907825)

Well at my highschool, college, local library and workplace we have 2D printers and people have been printing controversial things on them forever.

-Sex toys? porn/erotica, I've seen it printed in all of the above locations.
-Weapons? well, instructions to build them; printed some myself, which are probably more dangerous than the plastic shanks you could print on this thing.
- Copyrighted stuff? books, pictures, etc. all the time, I've printed these things frequently in many locations.

People are just worried about new technology, but people have been abusing 2D printers for years and they will abuse 3D printers just as bad and it won't ruin society.

I suspect there won't be any trouble while people still have to pay to print things on them and can reasonably expect they'll need a knowledgeable assistant around to help them when the machine gets stuck. You do not want to be the guy who jammed the school printer with micky-mouse-dildo-guns.

Cornucopia Machines! (1)

MalHavoc (590724) | about a year ago | (#43904519)

Soon we'll be living in a Charles Stross world with machines creating fountains of brightly coloured plastic utensils just because they can!

Fucking IBTimes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904531)

Hooray! Another fucking IBTimes article with unrelated automatically streaming video.

Re:Fucking IBTimes again (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43905229)

Hooray! Another fucking IBTimes article with unrelated automatically streaming video.

yeah it's madness!

"hey let's publish an article with a video and have another video auto play"

How much to print the parts for a 3D printer? (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43904749)

Why isn't there a co-operative set up around the idea of these machines self-replicating?

Buy a machine kit --- get a rebate against the cost of the machine if you then print / mill the parts for 2 more kits and deliver them to the next 2 people who order kits and live near you (so as to save on shipping)

Re:How much to print the parts for a 3D printer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43904889)

let me know when somone with no training can manufacture working chips, bearings, and motors by pressing
a button on a small machine in his garage

i'll check in in a few decades

Re:How much to print the parts for a 3D printer? (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43905045)

The usual term among the hobbyists for the non-reproducible parts is ``vitamins'' and such hardware of course, has to be purchased in addition to the self-replicated parts --- I'd meant to make it clear that one was only producing a partial kit, but failed to in my original post.

Re:How much to print the parts for a 3D printer? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43905297)

The usual term among the hobbyists for the non-reproducible parts is ``vitamins'' and such hardware of course, has to be purchased in addition to the self-replicated parts --- I'd meant to make it clear that one was only producing a partial kit, but failed to in my original post.

I'd gladly print plastic parts for repraps in exchange for someone milling extruder metal parts.. I got a replicator and a reprap but the reprap kit came with a not so good extruder(I guess it would just need redrilling 0.2 mm bigger to be somewhat ok but a different design would be even better).

the plastic parts for the kits are pretty cheap to get from the places where you can get the vitamins anyways though.

Re:How much to print the parts for a 3D printer? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#43905129)

"Why isn't there a co-operative set up around the idea of these machines self-replicating?"

Because there is not even a set of machines capable of reproducing all the parts needed, even if you throw away the electronics.

There is also not a single RP machine in existance that can produce parts accurate enough with good enough surface finish to make a true "production quality part." All RP parts need hand or machine cleanup and polishing to look like a production part, forgetting whether they are stable enough (most aren't) or strong enough.

Re:How much to print the parts for a 3D printer? (1)

ajlitt (19055) | about a year ago | (#43905323)

/r/reprapPIF [reddit.com] . No incentives, and it's only for plastic components and not wiring/electronics/metal. Unfortunately it's pretty dead in there.

There are a number of people that subsidize their printing habit by printing and eBaying plastics kits like those.

Re:How much to print the parts for a 3D printer? (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year ago | (#43906063)

Why isn't there a co-operative set up around the idea of these machines self-replicating?

There is. The RepRap was supposed to be a self replicating 3D printer and seems to be at the epicenter of all these cheap 3d printers. The problem is that they can only replicate certain kinds of parts, and not by any means the most difficult parts.

Putting a cutting head on them - instead of a plastic extruder - would give you a 3-axis mill that could cut metal (structural) or wood parts, as well as laminations used to make motors. Of course you probably want both types of capability and that would allow you to make say 90 percent of the machine sans circuit board. And a mill can also cut basic circuit boards from copper-clad if you want to go really hard core.

I can see that this.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43904839)

will become a legislative nightmare, after all, now, there will have to be restrictions on what can be printed if it's copyrighted or not, etc.. Won't be long before someone prints something which someone holds a functional patent. Fun fun fun..

Re:I can see that this.. (1)

biodata (1981610) | about a year ago | (#43905315)

What's the problem? If I used my penknife to carve an exact replica of Mickey Mouse sitting on an iPhone out of wood I guess I wouldn't be breaking any laws, I don't think this is any different, unless someone is selling the finished object. I assume the printing service is selling materials and service, not finished objects, since the purchaser must supply the design. IANAL though.

Re: I can see that this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43906389)

Except that you WOULD be breaking laws, so your argument fails right out of the gate. Nobody cares enough to come after you as long as you don't sell it, but you're definitely breaking the law.

Long Wait (1)

rgbfoundry (1916834) | about a year ago | (#43904903)

This doesn't really sound like a vending machine experience. This feels more like an automated service bureau. As yourself, is the Dreambox experience more like buying a bag of chips from a true vending machine, or is it like sending a PDF to FedEx (Kinkos) and picking up your prints later?

They were not the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43905025)

Virginia Tech unveiled their DreamVendor on March 16, 2012.
http://www.dreams.me.vt.edu/dreamvendor/

I hope this lasts. (1)

p00kiethebear (569781) | about a year ago | (#43905221)

I wonder how long it will take for this to be banned. Is this unregulated 3D printing or are projects approved by the owners of the device? Imagine a student printing out dorm keys to steal computers. One of them already tried to print a gun. This would only be preventable if the items to be printed are being approved by a human being or an insanely accurate 'safety' algorithm. But at what point does that become a privacy concern? Then the data on what we're 3d printing will be farmed out to the big corporations!

Re:I hope this lasts. (1)

fufufang (2603203) | about a year ago | (#43905965)

I wonder how long it will take for this to be banned. Is this unregulated 3D printing or are projects approved by the owners of the device? Imagine a student printing out dorm keys to steal computers. One of them already tried to print a gun. This would only be preventable if the items to be printed are being approved by a human being or an insanely accurate 'safety' algorithm. But at what point does that become a privacy concern? Then the data on what we're 3d printing will be farmed out to the big corporations!

With respect to copyright, people have been some students have photocopying/scanning whole books in the library. There is a notice saying that doing this kind of thing is illegal. But people still do it. I think the situation for this kind of 3D printing will be similar in the future.

3D Printing Kiosks (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#43905267)

Between graphene, 3d printing, and a very short list of other emerging technologies that represent an impending new era of technological wizardry, this is a great idea but I think it would most likely be limited to schools. Any commercialization of the technology would likely die within a few short years. The problem being the prolific uptake of home 3d printers by consumers combined with their quickly lowering cost. Economies of Scales in motion: The more people who purchase 3d printers, the more rapidly and efficiently they are produced, consequently a competitive consumer environment is created forcing prices down. On the one hand, paying $10 or even $20 to be able to email a 3d design to a kiosk up at say, Walgreens, then wait an hour and go pick it would be awesome. Finished products could be shelved in the machine, allowing many people to use it, if you don't pick your creation up in time to ensure room for others, you are refunded half and the print is melted down to be used again. But as I said, commercialization of such a technology would not be profitable past a few short years. I am willing to bet we have sub $500 comprehensive 3d printers in three years, the price will continue to fall precipitously making kiosks unprofitable.

Re:3D Printing Kiosks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43906981)

It will probably go like how 2d printing is now. If it is a one off and it doesn't need much quality, desktop printer. For somewhat better quality but for a group (say in an office), a standalone floor printer, which is what alot of places like kinkos actually use. for big one off stuff with middling to decent quality, wide format printers. for semi bespoke in small batches (100 or so), printers like the large HP printers that cost 100K but make really good prints, and are usually used for yearbooks and self publishing. For large industrial orders, you get plates made and have it printed in old fashioned printing presses.

3d printing will probably follow this model, with traditional manufacturing processes filling in at the large industrial level, as traditional will always be cheaper there (though requiring tool up time and such)

Step 1 (1)

Gripp (1969738) | about a year ago | (#43905319)

Step 1: use 3d printer to make more 3d printers.
Step 2: stop paying to use first 3c printer.
Step 3: managerial: ?????
Step 4: profit.

Re:Step 1 (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43905425)

Other than the issue of what exactly the 3D printer uses to make more printers, you forgot Step 1a:

- figure out how to coax metal and functional electronics out of a 3D printer

as well as Step 3b:

Abort, Retry, Fail?

Re:Step 1 (1)

Gripp (1969738) | about a year ago | (#43906505)

You seem like you might be surprised to learn that they can already print electronics. They can even print at the nano scale, too. Making the possibility of printed processors and micro-chips not that far off.

And I think the managerial: ???? covers "Abort, Retry, Fail?" - as , in my experience, managers never understand that part of the process. ;)

Re:Step 1 (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43908855)

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think there are any commercial printers that can print circuits at the nano scale.

And we have printers who can do one type of metal at a time, others that can do plastic, and some that can do circuits – but none can do all 3. So you can get parts, but a lot of assemble is still required.

Re:Step 1 (1)

Gripp (1969738) | about a year ago | (#43910761)

Yes, I thought about this after having already posted my comment. Printers that can do electronics != printers that can do nano scale. My point was that once combined microchips wouldn't be far behind.
As for multimaterial, yes, they can. I'm not real sure how well/readily they switch from on to the other, but they do exist. But even if they couldn't, a series of 3d printers could be used to make a new one. The chips are the only sticking point, that I can think of.

Re:Step 1 (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year ago | (#43906079)

You would need a metaprinter to print a new printer.

But wait--there's more! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43905341)

Can it print me a slice of pizza?
Then I'm interested...

Re:But wait--there's more! (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#43906887)

There are already 3d printers for food. Some are somewhat frivolous, some can print confectionary, some are serious. There's a company in the Netherlands teaming up with major food producers to produce printed steaks and vegetables. These printed foods are for older people who have to eat liquidized food which isn't very appetizing, and these people are often undernourished. The idea is to provide food printed from liquidized components that looks and tastes like proper food, has to be eaten with knife and fork instead of slurped through a straw, and has a little bit of texture, in hopes that it will make for a more pleasant eating experience.

Hmm (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#43905383)

A lot of disappointed dreams coming out of this thing, just like what comes out of a dollar store.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909071)

But, make enough "stuff" and you can then open your own dollar store.

solution in search of a prob (0)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about a year ago | (#43905551)

So far, 3D printing seems like a solution in search of a problem. To date, what's the most useful item made by 3D printing? Clips for firearms? But all that really does is demonstrate the ineffectiveness of laws against weapons. Maybe customized medical implants are the most useful items? Even if they can design it themselves, no one is able to put an item like that to use by themselves, need lots of medical help. No reason to employ a vending machine in that process.

How about prototypes? Maybe, but while good for the start, a 3D printer could not be a serious contributor to the end of a design process that started with a scaled down prototype. It's not so good for full sized models of even modestly sized items, as most machines are limited to about 25 cm^3 (1 cubic foot). Can't fit a building or a car or just a car door in that area. Even the interior handle of a car door could be too large, if it includes a grip and arm rest in the design. Separate pieces that are held together by mechanical means may be fine for prototypes, but maybe not the final product, because when it gets old and loosens up a bit, it will cause all kinds of annoying rattles and squeaks in a environment subject to vibration, such as a car. If the prototype appears to be a good design, the production of the full sized product would be done with other methods.

Even in cases where the 3D printer could make the final product, there is still the issue of quantity. 3D printing is just too slow for runs of thousands of copies of an item.

All you can really do easily with a low cost 3D printer is small artistic sculptures and custom toys such as model cars and figurines for role playing games, and that's limited. A person can store thousands of flat items like photo prints, but can't so easily store thousands of 3D items, takes too much space.

Re:solution in search of a prob (2)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#43905677)

If you extend the definition of 3d printer a little bit, it goes farther than that.

My wisdom teeth (that i still have because I lost a lot of other teeth in a failed surgery) were repaired/rebuilt using a mix of CAD 3d cameras and software along with a porcelaine "3d printer". The dentist takes pictures of the teeth, use a CAD software to design the filling, then push a button, wait 10 minutes, and end up with a perfect fitting piece to repair the tooth that is generally better than a crown would have been in every ways.

There's that story of some people using 3d printing to make a piece to save their kid's lungs.

Sure, its not the same stuff people will be making at home with a personal 3d printer, but the technology is similar. Its probably a matter of time before you can 3d print a screw that you lost while trying to assemble an IKEA desk, or 3d print an extra fork because you ran out for an event...

They just need to be faster and be able to use more durable materials. Home matrix printers used to be slow/inaccurate/noisy/expensive as hell too... Just give it time.

Re:solution in search of a prob (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43905767)

That must be why no businesses are spending thousands of dollars on them for prototyping.

Re:solution in search of a prob (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#43905993)

So far, 3D printing seems like a solution in search of a problem.

Then you lack imagination.

To date, what's the most useful item made by 3D printing?

How about prototypes? Maybe, but while good for the start, a 3D printer could not be a serious contributor to the end of a design process that started with a scaled down prototype. It's not so good for full sized models of even modestly sized items, as most machines are limited to about 25 cm^3 (1 cubic foot).

Even in cases where the 3D printer could make the final product, there is still the issue of quantity. 3D printing is just too slow for runs of thousands of copies of an item.

Basically you're making the mistake of assuming that parts have to be large to be useful, large machines don't exist, there is no utility in small run /one off parts and high quality machines do not exist.

All of those points are wrong.

Sure, the cheap home machines which extrude ABS or other plastics are not fast, not large and do not produce especially smooth output.

However, I am personally (as in done by me or people I've met) aware of plenty of stuff. Examples inculde, a prototypes of new rotor blades for a UAV (done on a UV curing based machine), moulds for sand casting (stereolithography) and cutsom mounts for an optical setup (very extrusion machine), visualisation, . Once we go to second hand (done by people known to people I know), it extends to injection moulds for medium sized runs (metal powder machine), various custom plastic bits/mounts for holding things in all sorts of ways (actually that gets really numerous, and usually uses cheap extrusion machines), prototype/custom cases for hand held electronics devices and probably more that I've forgotten about.

And stuff that I've heard of includes things like medical implants.

Separate pieces that are held together by mechanical means may be fine for prototypes, but maybe not the final product, because when it gets old and loosens up a bit, it will cause all kinds of annoying rattles and squeaks in a environment subject to vibration, such as a car.

If the prototype appears to be a good design, the production of the full sized product would be done with other methods.

Um, yeah? Why do you think they are collectively referred to as "rapid prototyping" machines?

No generic manufactuing technique like RP or CNCing is going to compete with super high volume techniques like injection moulding, pressing, casting, sintering etc. But they are much, much faster to set up and much, much cheaper to do in small quantities.

But to dismiss 3D printing as "solution in search of a problem" is basically ignoring reality.

Re:solution in search of a prob (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43908901)

Medical devices like hip replacements. If you are looking to bang out a 1,000 identical parts, then yeah, there are better options.

Aircraft and other high performance parts. Additive manufacturing can make much lighter parts that subtractive manufacturing – or then can make parts that subtractive manufacturing just can’t do.

No, it not looking for a solution. It is just a bit expensive today.

Now what (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43905687)

I'm not sure what "democratizing 3D printing" means.

Does he mean free people in a free society seeing a potential mass and low-cost market addressing the issue because, the society being free, one doesn't need permission of government to pursue one's interests?

The real question is. . . (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#43906533)

how many dildos or related items will be printed?

Re:The real question is. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907071)

1278 so far. I'm working on 1279 right now.

Re:The real question is. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907447)

I'm working on 1280 and 1281 right now.
In the same print.

Maintenance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907459)

Heh, kids and their big ideas. Who is going to maintain these machines? That is going to be a full time job in itself just for one machine and will obliterate and profits you might make. In fact I bet it will be a massive net loss to operate one of these machines.

All those moving parts with melted plastic flowing all over, etc. These machines currently require a LOT of upkeep to operate.

We can't do everything, we should do nothing. (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | about a year ago | (#43907643)

I think this is great. Sure, the 2013 Dreambox is only going to print you a piece of plastic crap. But they've got to start somewhere, and they're first in the space. That counts for something, haters opinions notwithstanding.

At the rate we're going, the 2017 Dreambox will be able to print you a functional circuit board to go with your plastic, and that's when things get really, really interesting.

But for now, yeah, plastic crap. Stay tuned.

Prediction (1)

RyoShin (610051) | about a year ago | (#43908099)

I give it five years, max, until we see at least one unit like this in every Home Depot. It's unlikely to accept user-created models, but it would have an immense database of odds and ends that are hard to maintain an inventory of because they take up so much space and sell so little. Even better would be going to Home Depot's (for instance) site, ordering something printed, paying for it, and they'll hold it until the next time you go there so you're not having to wait at the machine for it to print.

Could even have two separate styles: the "consumer-facing" model that has a nice container and touchpad for selecting the product, and the "industrial" model that is more bare bones and is used in the back for online orders or in-house stuff.

Redundant... (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#43908517)

I;m sorry, but anyone who wants to get 3D designs can go to Autodesk for FREE (as in beer) 3D modeling tools, then shoot them off to Cubify's cloud printing service. The open folks can use Blender and a wide host of other tools to create STLs from their various 3B models (of which there are huge numbers online, the Sketchup Library alone is chock full of 3D model goodness.)

I don't know a single Maker who hasn't got 8 ways to skin this cat, and there are a plethora of groups forming daily sharing information. Why would you need a kiosk at this point in time when you can do everything you need right from your PC? I guess maybe it's for the Literary Students who want to print busts of Shakespeare or Keats?

Great, don't have a gun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43908527)

3D Print it on campus, ready to use.

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