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$499 3-D Printer Drew Plenty of Attention at CES (Video)

Roblimo posted about 3 months ago | from the next-year-maybe-we'll-have-4-dimensional-printing dept.

Printer 155

3-D printing is far from new, but a $499 3-D printer is new enough to get a bunch of people to write about it, including someone whose headline read, CES 2014: Could 3D printing change the world? XYZPrinting, the company behind the da Vinci 1.0 printer, has some happy-looking executives in the wake of CES. They won an award, and their booth got lots of attention. This is what trade shows are all about for small and/or new companies. Now the XYZprinting people can go home and pump out some product -- assuming they got a lot of orders (and not just attention) at CES.

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155 comments

pretense abounds about current currencies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082291)

"Weapons of war are purchased with the FIAT $ & £ .
CIA import drugs & kill people with money.

We all know this, so why do we put up with our IDIOT Governments. They after all are all civil servants are they not. FIRE them all, greedy humans.

The y just don't like what they cannot TAX that is the real issue, TAX!"

Re:pretense abounds about current currencies (1)

macraig (621737) | about 3 months ago | (#46082625)

This is the most counterproductive *coin propaganda I've yet seen. Well done!

Yeah yeah (5, Insightful)

NaughtyNimitz (763264) | about 3 months ago | (#46082347)

But what will the cartridges cost? And will they 'expire' each time I unwrap and insert one?

("Nudge nudge, wink wink HP?")

Re:Yeah yeah (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082421)

Apparently cartridge of each color is $28 USD (http://www.xyzprinting.com/en/filament)

Re:Yeah yeah (4, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#46082685)

Inkjet cartridges expire so quickly after being opened because they contain ink... which is wet, and evaporates, leaving dry residue in the compartment which cannot be used.

You will save money in the long run in printing costs if you just buy a laser printer, because toner is dry, and does not evaporate from the container. The cartridges are more expensive, but you will buy them so much less frequently that you will actually save a lot of money in the end.

Re:Yeah yeah (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 3 months ago | (#46082817)

This is true. We got a color laser and used the cartridges that came with the printer for over 2 years (a full year after it started complaining about being empty).

Re:Yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082921)

You're probably the same idiot who tells everyone to buy CFL light bulbs because they're "cheaper", when any idiot can compare prices and see they are so much more expensive than standard bulbs you could never hope to make up the difference unless you left the light on constantly and the CFL managed to last somewhere near it's rated lifetime (which is unlikely these days).

Re:Yeah yeah (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#46083035)

As you rightly point out... many CFL's don't actually last as long as they purport, so they can end up being more expensive than incandescents.

Toner, however, really doesn't ever evaporate. Ink does.. leaving behind an unusable residue in the inkjet cartridge's compartment that will require replacing long before you've actually exhausted the raw material you originally purchased unless you are printing in high enough volume that evaporation is not an issue.

But if you are printing in that high volume, then laser is *STILL* the preferred choice, because just comparing cost of cartridges and dividing by the number of pages you can optimally produce per cartridge, toner still ends up being less than a quarter of the cost of using ink.

Re:Yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46084869)

Yep. The last printer I purchased was an inkjet, and I used it *once* to print about ten pages. Advance to the next year, and the ink cartridges were bone dry. At work, I had a dedicated HP laserjet 4 sitting in the server room that I used about the same amount over a six year period. Never failed to print. Laser printers, if compared to light bulbs, would be more like LED bulbs. The cost more in the short term, but they really do last a long time. Unfortunately, they're opposite in terms of energy usage...

Re:Yeah yeah (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#46084827)

You're probably the same idiot who tells everyone to buy CFL light bulbs because they're "cheaper", when any idiot can compare prices and see they are so much more expensive than standard bulbs

But in this case, the idiot is the one who tells people to buy inkjets because they're "cheaper", when any idiot who can compare prices as well as consumable lifespans (which sadly is not a foregone conclusion) can tell that the price per page is better for laser at a surprisingly small number of pages printed.

Re:Yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083999)

Heh. This is so true. I've probably tried printing 3 documents at home and the printer ink is always dry. Every single time.

They should make printer ink in one time use cartridges.

Re:Yeah yeah (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 3 months ago | (#46084575)

I've been using the same inkjet cartridges for over a year now (I rarely print things), still works. They don't dry up that quickly.

Re:Yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46084841)

Inkjet cartridges expire so quickly after being opened because they contain ink.. which is wet, and evaporates, leaving dry residue in the compartment which cannot be used.

Very strange how my HP880c still worked after 1 year+ unused in its box, even though the colour and black cartridges were both part-used and left installed. I must have imagined that.

Or maybe it's possible to design cartridges so the ink doesn't evaporate, if you do it right?

Re:Yeah yeah (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#46082955)

Same thoughts about why I don't own a color printer at home. I got a cheap ($55) black and white laser a couple years back, and I couldn't be happier. The toner is cheap (relatively), and I don't have to worry about the ink drying up, or print heads clogging before I've even had a chance to use up all the ink. I very seldom if ever need color printing, and when I do it's cheaper and easier to head over to the photo printer (Walmart) or print shop (UPS Store) when I actually need color prints. 3D printers have the opportunity to really change things, but only if I can obtain plastic for really cheap, preferably by recycling plastic from products I've already bought.

Re:Yeah yeah (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082969)

According to their site [xyzprinting.com], each cartridge costs $28 for 600g of ABS plastic, available in 12 colors.

Re:Yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46084207)

Maybe not. That same page lists the cartridge specs at 300g.

Re:Yeah yeah (3, Insightful)

GameMaster (148118) | about 3 months ago | (#46083345)

Ink cartridges that expire each time you unwrap them? Where are you from, the '90's? Welcome to the future my friend, today we have ink cartridges that expire while sitting, un-opened, on the shelf.

I'm not really joking, we have an HP plotter where I work that does exactly this. When they went to replace the ink cartridge, they found that the entire stock of back-up cartridges had already "expired" according to a pre-set date built into a chip in the cartridge. Thankfully, HP was nice enough to provide a setting hidden away in the firmware that lets you over-ride that check. My guess is that they think the pro-market might not be willing to put up with their crap if they pushed it that far.

Pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082361)

proprietary file formats, filliment from them (perhaps an odd profile), and thier softwware.

Re:Pass (2)

x0ra (1249540) | about 3 months ago | (#46082575)

just wait 6 month and the file format will be reversed engineered, same for the software.

Re:Pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083155)

Go ahead reverse engineer all the 0's and 1's you like... I'm going to design a user printable cartridge... and then... user printable filament! I'll be rich! RICH I tell you! MWAH HA HA HA

Re:Pass (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#46083861)

just wait 6 month and the file format will be reversed engineered, same for the software.

According to their website the printer will accept STL files, which is an open, well documented, and widely supported industry standard format. Nearly any CAD software, including nearly all FOSS CAD programs, will export STL, in either compressed binary, or human readable ascii text.

Re:Pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082751)

stl is a standard CAD file format

Re:Pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083101)

Sure, but then they let you wrap it up in thier format with printing parameters. This very well may be usefull, but why describe it as proprietary unless you think you can keep it locked down, or it includes some sort of DRM mechanism?

Why? (2)

fiordhraoi (1097731) | about 3 months ago | (#46082815)

Something that accepts .STL format (which most CAD type programs let you output now) and G Code (pretty much the standard for CNC machines) as well as their own XYZ format is hardly locked into "proprietary formats." Do you have to use their software? To do the actual printing, sure. But it looks like you can do the design in a number of other tools as well, as long as you can output the aforementioned .STL or G Code. Buying filament from them? Sure, possibly a pain. But then, for the vast majority of printers nowadays, you "have to" buy the ink cartridge from the company. And since it's in a cartridge, it's presumably easier to load - one of the most common complaints I've seen for products like Makerbot is that loading the filament is tricky and you often have to fiddle and do numerous test prints to get it right. Is that solution going to be best for a high-volume printer? Absolutely not. For a hobbyist who wants to print maybe a dozen things every few months? Should be fine.

Re:Why? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 3 months ago | (#46083895)

And since it's in a cartridge, it's presumably easier to load - one of the most common complaints I've seen for products like Makerbot is that loading the filament is tricky and you often have to fiddle and do numerous test prints to get it right.

Loading a filament is easy. They'll have a market if their filament does not jam, the printer does not need calibration, and the cartige protects the filament from humidity.

Getting the second one (no calibration) right is a feat of engineering, but plausible. I'll belive somebody solved any of the other problems when I see it, with extraordinary evidence. Based on apearences, my belif is that they solved none of those problems.

Re:Pass (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 months ago | (#46083541)

Do we have a 3d printing standard format yet?

PostScript 3D!!!!
Well actually PostScript is still a proprietary format.

So I guess we need PCL 6-3D!!!

If you saying something is in 3 Dimensions you need the explanation marks.

3dnewsen article - auto translated? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 months ago | (#46082373)

The article at dailynewsen.com is so full of grammatical errors that it looks like a machine translation. It's really hard to understand. Slashdot editors need a shared list of "don't link to this site" domains, so that if they get a submission that is based on one, they can find a better source instead.

Re:3dnewsen article - auto translated? (5, Informative)

devjoe (88696) | about 3 months ago | (#46082659)

Specifically, it appears to be a translation-and-back-again of the LA Times article which is the first link in the article, or an automated synonym-substitution (trying to avoid being detected as copyright violation for reposting stories in full, perhaps, though strangely they link to the original article at the bottom). The other articles on their site (see Latest USA News sidebar on the right) appear to have undergone the same process.

I'd pay more for color (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 3 months ago | (#46082375)

If I had a choice between a monocolor 3d printer or a color 3d printer- it would be color all the way.

This field is so young, I expect a significant increase in quality over the next couple years too so that makes me want to wait.

Re:I'd pay more for color (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 3 months ago | (#46082819)

If by "colour" you mean multiple different plastics then yes. You're much better off using one ABS/PLA filament and one PVA than two colours since it allows the support material to be printed in water soluable PVA.

The quality has bee going forwards pretty quickly.

Re:I'd pay more for color (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 months ago | (#46083605)

Being with plastic is being melted before it puts its layer down, why don't we mix the pigments in at the point that it is melted.

Re:I'd pay more for color (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 3 months ago | (#46083659)

Difficulty.

The plastics are melted as far as a fairly stiff goo. Basically you've got a conical nozzle with a basic resistive heater and thermostat attached. A servo shoves a solid filament dow a tube at the nozzle.

Basically, the current extruders are REALLY simple. Mixing in pigment would increase the complexity vastly. It's not that hard to have multiple extruders and you get better flexibility too. With even more extruders, you can have several sized nozzles. A small one for delicate outer work and a large one for high speed internal infill. 4's quite symmetric. A good setup is two thin in different colours, one wide for infill and one PVA for support.

Why is it so cheap? (5, Informative)

Predanuke (1719292) | about 3 months ago | (#46082413)

Because it doesn't use the standard filament. http://www.xyzprinting.com/en/... [xyzprinting.com] You have to buy the 'ink' from them.

Re:Why is it so cheap? (3, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 months ago | (#46082833)

By comparison, their filament is around three times as expensive as others (more if you just get bulk rolls) at ~$46.67/kg.

Re:Why is it so cheap? (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 3 months ago | (#46082837)

From their website:

The da Vinci 1.0 will also notify you when the filament is running low so you don’t run out.

I'm sure it will...

Re:Why is it so cheap? (2)

wramsdel (463149) | about 3 months ago | (#46082933)

I was at CES, and I specifically asked to see one of the filament cartridges. Assuming the ones on the show floor are the same design that will ship with the printer, there are no electrical contacts on the cartridge, so likely no "chip" as is the case with ink cartridges. It looked to me like it would be fairly straightforward to reload one of the cartridges with commodity filament.

"So you buy the filaments from us...." (5, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | about 3 months ago | (#46082437)

Proprietary consumables? Seriously? When are we gonna get past this crap? Ever?

Re:"So you buy the filaments from us...." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082545)

Get Stallman to start a branch off the FSF. OPF (Open Printing foundation) to demand that printers accept standardized ink cartridges, and that the ink recipes become free (as in spinach) [not sure what that parenthetical means].

When it stops getting profitable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082577)

As long as people base their purchasing off the initial price, instead of TCO, this will happen.

Re:When it stops getting profitable (1)

macraig (621737) | about 3 months ago | (#46082673)

Yeah, I know....

(And this is precisely why the Libertarian free-market ideal doesn't work, because consumers are idiots that break the free market process every time.)

Re:"So you buy the filaments from us...." (2)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#46082651)

Well, it is a viable business model. We have not gotten away from it because it tends to work.

People complain about proprietary consumables when it comes to printers, yet people keep buying the ones that use them. Printers exist that are pretty favorable to 3rd party refills, but they are more expensive so people tend not to buy them.

You can have low initial cost + higher recurring cost, or high initial cost + low recurring cost. There is enough consumer demand for both models that options exist, but just because both exist does not mean we can easily mix and match, not if we want the company to keep building then devices.

Re:"So you buy the filaments from us...." (1)

pruss (246395) | about 3 months ago | (#46083567)

And both models can make sense to a buyer. I think I do about 98% of my printing on a b+w laser printer with low page costs. Occasionally I have something to print out something in color, typically for the kids. It makes sense to buy a color printer with low up-front costs for such rare use.

Re:"So you buy the filaments from us...." (1)

Mashdar (876825) | about 3 months ago | (#46082677)

We'll get over it when the human brain starts being rational (read never).

Re:"So you buy the filaments from us...." (1)

laird (2705) | about 3 months ago | (#46082959)

In the video interview, they say that it's standard ABS and PLA filament. So while it's in cartridges that might be OK, as long as they don't try to lock people in. That is, if you can buy your own supplies from competing vendors and use them, that's what matters. At $28 per 600g, that's pretty expensive - it works out to $47/kg, which is quite high.

So overall I'd say that if they really can sell a reliable printer that size for $500 that's an awesome deal. And the fact that they're also doing a lame copy of Makerbot's strategy (e.g. http://us.gallery.xyzprinting.... [xyzprinting.com] is really bad version of Thingiverse) is OK, because their software can read STL files, so you can get files (or design your own stuff) so it doesn't matter that they also have a proprietary file format.

Not one link to the company in summary (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082459)

Nice going, "editor". You managed not to provide a single direct link to the company that makes the product you're talking about.

Why are 3D printers so exciting? (3, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 months ago | (#46082483)

From the latimes article:

Even though 3D printing is all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show, many people outside the industry are still puzzled by all the fuss. "Explain 3D printers to me. Why are they useful?" one non-techie friend of mine tweeted me this week, after I posted a picture of a 3D printer at the show.

The show is called the *consumer* electronics show, not the *producer* electronics show. Most people are not makers, so they won't be excited about a technology that lets them make something. Even if people want something, a 3D printer requires that you know how to design that item.

When someone invents a 3D designer, where you can say "Build me a thing that..." then you might get the consumers excited.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (2)

macraig (621737) | about 3 months ago | (#46082613)

You've never heard of 3D scanners, I guess? Or open-sourced downloadable 3D files?

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082695)

Yes, I heard that's where people we're getting designs for untraceable baby killer guns, the government should make it illegal and only allow to approve designs.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 months ago | (#46082761)

I most certainly have! [thingiverse.com]

I see that you are on the cusp of making a point though. Go ahead and make it, since it might be s a valid one. Do you think that these technologies will make consumers interested in 3D printing?

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

macraig (621737) | about 3 months ago | (#46083119)

When they're made more like appliances that don't require education, yes. That applianc-ization doesn't have to include proprietary consumables, though.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 months ago | (#46083973)

So what would the consumer use the 3D printer for? You gave 2 examples: copying objects with a 3D scanner, and downloading objects off the internet.

I'm not sure how useful the first is for the consumer. Presuming that a 3D scanner will only ever be able to copy static objects, nothing with moving parts. So they could copy parts, perhaps to fix things. EZ drywall repair maybe? Fix that broken picture frame, coat hanger, or curtain rod? Well... assuming it isn't so broken that the copy won't be broken too. Or that it is easy to fix the part digitally. I'm not so sure on that though. It might work for simple toys or game pieces.

The second case is downloading parts online seems more useful to me. You could print snap-together things that can move. So there you get your guns, toys, etc. Just pay a licensing fee per print. I could see manufacturers putting out the 3D design of something rather than making the part. But there are lots and lots of obstacles there, so it might not ever be worth doing. Time will tell.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082675)

But but but it's making things! You know how exciting 2D printers are, right? I mean, you can print documents! You can literally print any document you want to print! If you type it up, it can suddenly exist on a real piece of paper in the real world!!! And you can print color pictures, too! Any color picture you want! All you need to do is learn how to make color pictures you actually want to print on paper, and you can print it just like that! Isn't that awesome? All the cool kids want 2D printers!

Now, extend that to the mysteeeeeerious world of 3D! Now you can print ANY kind of object that you want, right in your own home, assuming that you only want to print resin-based doodads and trinkets! And that you want to model them yourself, IN 3-D!!! Just imagine all the possibilities! Then please tell us what consumer-level possibilities make this worthwhile and not something destined to collect dust like the 2D printers that were given away for free until manufacturers gave up entirely, despite the creative possibilities inherent to putting things on paper!

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 months ago | (#46082781)

It's funny because you point out that 2D printers are dying, which I notice too. Long ago: "Print Shop" was the killer app for a PC. Everyone wanted a computer + a dot matrix printer so they could maker banners and signs. I don't see people doing that today. Or maybe that still exists in the elementary school - middle school market that I don't see as much any more?

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#46082879)

I think that the reason you don't see it happening today is because the most prominent printing standard today, inket, tends to use very expensive consumables, and a price-conscious consumer is not likely to want to waste a lot of money printing frivolous things. Printing on a dot matrix printer was cheap in comparison... probably more than an order of magnitude cheaper, even in today's dollars.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (2)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#46082705)

There is a lot of middle ground though. Go into any DIY home improvement center and there will be a wide range of tools available for consumers to support any number of wood or metal projects. Some machines (like a CNC or vacuform frames) end up being outside what the average DIY consumer will utilize, but many others (drill press, table saw, etc) have found their way into many non-producers homes and projects. It is still pretty early to guess which way these plastic fabricators will go.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

harperska (1376103) | about 3 months ago | (#46082823)

Most people are not authors or graphics designers, yet nearly everyone with a computer has a need for a traditional 2D paper-and-ink printer. There is already a large library of downloadable 3D printable content, and if 3D printing becomes mainstream there will surely be 3D modeling software made along the lines of Word or Paint that is easy to use and good enough for Joe Homeowner to make that plastic widget he needs for that DIY project rather than going to the hardware store, or to make themed decorations and favors for Timmy's 12th birthday party, or countless other scenarios like that. Most people aren't 'professional makers', but plenty of people out there are casual hobbyist or home 'makers'.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083843)

Most people are not authors or graphics designers, yet nearly everyone with a computer has a need for a traditional 2D paper-and-ink printer.

Citation needed. Citation astonishingly needed.

If someone wants to communicate with someone, there's email or social media, not printing letters. If someone wants to pay a bill, there's the internet. If someone wants to promote something, there's the internet. If that's not enough and they absolutely NEED to promote in the real world, consumer printers are terrible for that (both by quality and cost), and they're better off getting bulk deals with print-on-demand poster printing services. Fewer and fewer people even use them for printing out things like show tickets anymore, as most venues these days have scanners that can conveniently read QR codes displayed on a cell phone screen.

Hell, not even authors or graphical designers need traditional 2D printers. Authors work entirely in the digital domain and submit their manuscripts in PDF form (barring esoteric works that require specifics of pyhsical paper or backwards agents/publishers who refuse to use that new-fangled in-ter-nets technology). Graphical designers don't print things anymore apart from things requiring the aforementioned printing services, not your common traditional 2D printers. Artists either work purely digitally or do their work on blank paper that never sees a printer. Very very few people actually need or use 2D printers. Even my little laser printer, well beyond that which most consumers would buy, rarely gets any use.

In fact, the only professions I can think of that absolutely require a printer are legal, government, and insurance, and those are mostly for legally-mandated paper trails. The regular Joe and Jane on the street, though? Not as much a use for them.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (3, Funny)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 3 months ago | (#46082915)

The killer application of 3d printers will be to print a new back to the battery compartment in remote controls

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (2)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 3 months ago | (#46083003)

Also, utensils. I don't want to have to go all the way to the fucking kitchen when I get delivery, sit at my desk, and realized they didn't include the fucking fork and knife.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (0)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#46083463)

Unless there's some kind of unprecedented and revolutionary breakthrough in plastics, The time it's going to take a 3d printer to manufacture a fork and knife for you is probably going to be considerably longer than it would take for you to fetch said utensils from the kitchen.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#46083099)

What's wrong with tape? More seriously though, I haven't had this problem for quite a while. All my remotes have the original back cover and are fully functional. Some of them are over 10 years old. I do remember this being a problem with the remotes we had in my house as a kid. Maybe it's because plastics have improved, or because we don't have to replace the batteries as often, but I really don't see this as a big problem. I can't think of anything I personally would want a 3D printer for, that would make me want to have one at my house. I could see uses for the local Walmart having one, but I can't see using it more than a couple times a year, and they all seem to take up quite a bit of space.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083335)

The problem with tape is the same problem with the clip on the compartment breaking... kids.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 3 months ago | (#46083093)

So a traditional 2D printer manufacturer shouldn't go to CES either then? I mean, people who would use such a thing would be producing, not consuming.

And besides, a 2D printer requires that you know how to design that print out too.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 months ago | (#46084097)

So a traditional 2D printer manufacturer shouldn't go to CES either then? I mean, people who would use such a thing would be producing, not consuming.

touché! Were there any 2D printers there? I didn't think that kind of thing would be show-offy enough.

And besides, a 2D printer requires that you know how to design that print out too.

Yes, but the 2D design is much easier. I find that anyone can learn how to design a useful 2D object, and has cause to do so. Hence the signs/banners example. 3D objects are a whole other dimension, pun intended. I suppose, if and when the day comes that 3D design software is as easy to use as 2D design software today, then that would change the outlook. I'm not sure that is possible though. Time will tell...

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 3 months ago | (#46084499)

I have no idea if there were any 2D printers there. I'd be surprise if someone didn't have something there. But the point still remains that you can be a producer as well as a consumer simultaneously.

With Thingverse and similar sites, there are already tons of items to print, or starting points to tweak to suit your needs. Or 3d scanners. Or if you can't find what you're looking for, SketchUp isn't THAT hard to learn to start using. Yes there is a learning curve. But there's a learning curve to any software used to create quality 2D printouts beyond basic word processing type stuff.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083179)

These printers will work like media players, you buy/copy the output, not create it yourself. Once you can pirate plans for fabricating tat, these things will take off.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (2)

tahuti (744415) | about 3 months ago | (#46083211)

I would say 3D printers are at the stage where "micro" computers were in early 80's, yes there were big expensive real computers and almost a toy for home use that you often needed to assemble by yourself. Did majority need computer then, no; today, well who doesn't have smartphone.

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#46083493)

And it's beginning to wrap back around on itself, to the point where many people no longer own personal computers. Personal computers were really just a means to an end. Most people who owned a computer had no interest in owning a computer. They wanted to be able to do word processing, send email, access the web, chat with their friends, Almost none of them (percentage wise) wanted a machine they could write programs for. The internet was probably the "killer app" that made most people want to own a computer, as there was no other way of going online without owning a computer. I know quite a few people who now no longer own a PC, but rather do all their computing on a tablet, which is locked down to the point where you can only buy apps from a single store. And they are completely happy with this. More-so than they have ever been with any personal computer. Even as a techie, I can probably count on 1 hand the number of times I've used my computer for something that wasn't programming since I got my tablet. Like you said, "who doesn't have a smartphone".

Re:Why are 3D printers so exciting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083891)

personal computers had a bit more promise than printing out plastic frogs and weak mechanical parts that snap the moment they receive a gram of force

o look more cloned trash out of china/taiwan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082609)

1. will probably set your house on fire
2. expect little support and what support you do get will be written in poor engrish
3.proprietary cartridges .... yeeeeea .. no

Re:o look more cloned trash out of china/taiwan (1)

macraig (621737) | about 3 months ago | (#46082727)

Nope, no bigotry here.

Re:o look more cloned trash out of china/taiwan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083441)

actually no, there was nothing said about the race, just facts with dealing with an overseas company, unless its now racist to point out someone doesnt speak English

Shoes? (4, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#46082703)

In the future, users may be able to print shoes that are tailored to the exact size of their feet, among many possibilities.

Have they looked at the different materials that go into shoes these days? The different parts need to have different qualities. The sole needs to be grippy. The uppers need to be flexible and porous. The insole needs to be cushioning yet supportive. This is done today by using many different materials. Sorry but materials that come out of thermal printers don't have all those qualities and generally don't hold up under the stress shoe are put through. Let's try to be realistic about what this technology can do.

Re:Shoes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46084473)

Actually this latest posting on /. http://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/01/27/1912242/worlds-first-multi-color-multi-polymer-3d-printer-unveiled links to this press release http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9245785/3D_printing_now_in_living_color_ and the photos and video there show shoes and claim they can print soft rubber-like material. NEAT!

Waste disposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082757)

3-d printing could be the most exciting thing to happen in petro-chemical byproudct waste disposal since single-use plastic grocery bags. In fact, they're the perfect product to divert that waste stream since they are banning single-use bags in California. Now you can cache the undesireable fractions of the refining process in your very own living room before they ultimately find their way to the landfill. Better yet, you can pay for the privelege of doing so.

Re:Waste disposal (1)

laird (2705) | about 3 months ago | (#46083629)

True, for ABS.

If you use PLA, which the large majority of 3D printers do, it's not try. PLA is made from corn and is completely recyclable, either by re-grinding the plastic and re-extruding it, or by throwing it into a composting system where it decomposes.

I looked at it @ CES (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46082893)

The overall construction was in line with a cheap 2D printer. The rails where thin, the structure in general seemed to be flimsy in comparison to the other 3D printers that were there. The proprietary print medium and the cheap-ish construction were enough to put me off and I was ready and willing to buy.

3-D printing. Pffft! (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 3 months ago | (#46083061)

Who cares about 3-D printing? Come get me when they have 4-d printing!

Re:3-D printing. Pffft! (4, Funny)

kirkb (158552) | about 3 months ago | (#46083245)

"Due to miscalibration of the 4th axis, your object was printed 255 years ago."

Re:3-D printing. Pffft! (3, Funny)

sinij (911942) | about 3 months ago | (#46084043)

No, not again. I... why does it say time jam when there is no time jam? I swear to God, one of these days, I just kick this piece of shit out the window.

printrbot is cheaper (1)

houghi (78078) | about 3 months ago | (#46083095)

http://printrbot.com/shop/prin... [printrbot.com] OK. It is a kit, so you need to build it yourself. USD300. Want the new kit? USD349. Assembled it comes to USD449.
If you do not need the wood, you can have it all for USD259.

I have been thinking about buying a 3D printer, but for me the price is not yet low enough.

Re:printrbot is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083661)

not bad but about half the printer size at ~4" cube and the 2014 model with the bed and extrusions is $349 kit form.

So, maybe the XYPrinting hardware is a good deal at $499 if we can hack it to eliminate the proprietary parts. If it requires not only a brain replacement(Arduino/Ramps/Pololu/LCD)($90 direct from China) but also a head replacement then it loses lots of "low price" value but still would be cheaper than the Makrbot.

Model making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083695)

I was at a model train show this weekend and the had a printer demo there. The were printing small plastic buildings. The printer was $1500 .... Thing is, someone serious in he hobby could easily spend that in models on a layout. If these things get to $300 and print an order of magnitude faster than what I was seeing in the demo, every modeler will own one. It would literally be a time saver and the 3D models are all "open" (free).

Reprap printers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46083783)

You can build them, they are safe, I built one for the sam price. If you charge for the filament, then the printer should be free, no?

There are other types of cheap 3D printers (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 3 months ago | (#46083943)

Here at the UW, a major science university, we have 3D printers that use compostable material that can be used for food production inputs, and print using a "plastic" that isn't a plastic at oil, breaking the oil chain and allowing clean fuel sources like hydro, solar, and wind to replace inputs from oil and coal in other systems.

There's even a new startup building next to the HUB.

Change is here. And, while 3D TVs aren't doing well, 3D printers are doing quite well.

Am I missing something here? (1)

hubang (692671) | about 3 months ago | (#46084653)

Didn't the Solidoodle come out at $499 years ago? Takes 1.5mm filament on a spool. I'm a little confused by this.

Nobody seems to know what to do with a 3D printer (2)

hyperfine transition (869239) | about 3 months ago | (#46084697)

From the article "Gary Shu, XYZprinting's market development division senior manager, said the 3D printer can quickly create objects that users may need in their homes, such as a plastic cup or a plastic spoon.". I hope he comes up with a few better ideas than that.

Actually, a 3D printer would be useful to me for hobby projects like cosplay props, although probably a bit expensive. But around the house ? I look around for things completely made out of plastic that it would be practical to print if they broke or I needed another one but it's a struggle.

I suppose what all of these 3D printer manufacturers want to convince themselves and their investors is that there is a mass market for their product. The cheap printers still look very much like a hobbyist tool to me though.

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