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CES 2014: Formlabs 3-D Printing Redux, With New Software (Video)

Roblimo posted about 6 months ago | from the now-they're-actually-selling-some-product dept.

Hardware 14

Slashdot visited the Formlabs CES display in 2013. Tim looked at their Stereolithgraphy 3-D printer again this year. The company is now boasting about their PreForm 1.0 software, and not as much about their hardware, which was their main focus last year. Another important difference was that at CES 2013 they couldn't talk about sales because they hadn't sold any units yet, but now they claim they've sold over 1000. And the last major problem they faced was a patent infringement suit, which seems to be settled (or nearly so). According to this Oct. 2013 article, it's doubtful that Formlabs would have been able to raise $2.95 million through Kickstarter, followed by another $19 million from traditional venture capitalists, if the lawsuit wasn't close to settlement -- which may not matter much in the long run, since many key patents in the field have either expired or are due to expire between now and 2015.

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Only $2.95?? (3, Funny)

Xeleema (453073) | about 6 months ago | (#46039067)

Hell, *click* There you go.

Re:Only $2.95?? (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 6 months ago | (#46039285)

Looks like $2.95 million. I thought the same thing - Wouldn't the $19 million be a much bigger hurdle then $2.95?

Re:Only $2.95?? (1)

Floyd-ATC (2619991) | about 6 months ago | (#46039459)

This must be some kind of record :-)

Re:Only $2.95?? (1)

arielCo (995647) | about 6 months ago | (#46039735)

Swell! Now they've got 'bout tree fiddy.

once we're able to function in this dimension.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46039225)

the wwworld of open honest communications & commerce will restart? no need to escape anymore? back to wwwork,, which apparently we need? http://rt.com/business/us-unemployment-economy-crisis-assistance-006/

formal instructions for non / ordinary trovers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46039341)

the magic & mystery of 'weather' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06X5HYynP5E with even more help from us,, http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561 what a gig sheesh?

Existing stuff "good enough"? (3, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | about 6 months ago | (#46039245)

Yes, what they have has finer tolerances than the typical Makerbot [1], but I wonder if the existing 3D printers are "good enough" for buyers, similar to the fact that inkjet printers outsell PostScript network printers by a wide margin, since most inkjets are "good enough".

Now, if Formlabs can get sintered metals like Iconel variants working in an inexpensive, reliable product, that would be very useful news because their main competition would be a Mitsubishi unit that goes well in excess of $600,000.

[1]: I assume Makerbots are the best price/performance for general amateur use outside of a machine shop.

Re:Existing stuff "good enough"? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 6 months ago | (#46039781)

"Good enough" depends on what you are printing.

FDM printer like the MakerBot lineup are cheaper upfront for the machine, use cheaper material, offer more color options for the material, and generally have larger build capacities. The Form 1 however can do much higher resolution of small individual details and I believe the finished product is much smoother than what a FDM print would have with it's obvious layering.

I've also heard but don't know if it's true that the Form 1 prints may not be as durable over time due to how the plastic ages so it may not be as useful for "production" (usable) parts.

Re:Existing stuff "good enough"? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 6 months ago | (#46040123)

It might have its uses as a cast for a mold. Stick it in a cube, fill the area around it with sand and compress. Then heat it so the plastic all drops out. Once gone, pour one's molten metal of choice, let cool, and then remove the sand for a decent meal object. With the finer tolerances, it might just be better suited for this purpose, including proper sprues in place, as shown by the software.

Re:Existing stuff "good enough"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46040875)

I dont see sterolith machines easily handling multi-material, whereas dual, triple extruder fdm printers are common. The only thing holding that back is the lack of object material selection in stl. Obj format has it but its use is not widespread.

As an owner of a Solidoodle 3.... (1)

ArcadeNut (85398) | about 6 months ago | (#46039931)

I hope Stereolithography takes off. I've run into a lot of the limitations (frustrations) of the FDM technology and it limits what you can really do with it. It's a really cool printer, but I'm not able to do everything I need to with it.

I think technologies like the SLA will work better in the long run because they will be able to print more detailed parts and you won't have the same issues that FDM does, such as overhangs, sharp angles, hollow objects, etc...

Re:As an owner of a Solidoodle 3.... (1)

raynet (51803) | about 6 months ago | (#46040161)

I also hope that cheap UV-resins become available, unfortunately it seems that stereolithography companies want to go the inkjet route and keep their formulas secret so they can sell the print materials with higher margins for profit.

LEGO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46043243)

I heard LEGO (or any compatible blocks set that actually still has #fuckingblocks!) is good for doing rough 3d printing. Mechano (sp?) as well. #fuckit #goooooooooogles

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