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Functional 3D-Printed Tape Measure

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the if-you-don't-smile-you're-doing-it-wrong dept.

Technology 134

First time accepted submitter Trep (366) writes "I thought Slashdot readers might be interested in seeing how my friend is slowly building a 3D printed toolbox. He's created a fully functional tape measure which is 3D printed as a single assembly, to follow up on his 3D printed dial calipers. This is a pretty novel design, with a lot of moving parts that come out of the printer completely assembled!"

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134 comments

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How long (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 6 months ago | (#46556269)

Before a 3d printer becomes affordable? . I want one within $100 . straight USB to a linux box.

Re:How long (3, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 months ago | (#46556345)

Before a 3d printer becomes affordable? $100

A while yet. The cheapear ones are around $800, some assembly requires. It's the velleman kit one, and while I've never used one, I've seen the results and they are very good.

If you want cheaper, you can build your own. There are plenty of instructions online. The awkward parts are usually either 3D printed or laser cut out of ply or acrylic.

I don't own one. I joined a collective where one is available. If you want to print, that's probably the easiest way as it will also come with people who can tell you how to use the printer well.

straight USB to a linux box.

they already do that part.

Re:How long (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 6 months ago | (#46556597)

But that won't print you a tape measure. This was likely done with a UV printer, which costs quite a lot more.

Re:How long (2)

mspohr (589790) | about 6 months ago | (#46557685)

Peachy Printer is a $100 UV printer.
https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com]

Re:How long (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46558079)

Take a look at the quality [amazonaws.com] of the objects that can be printed by Peachy. It appears to use a very large beam with very rough placement. Just because it uses UV does not mean it creates the same quality. I doubt very much if you could do the tape or calipers on the Peachy.

Re:How long (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 6 months ago | (#46558193)

The Peachy won't make that, it is too small.

The consumer accessible UV printers don't do flexible items yet. I don't know what method the Connex uses, I guess it makes sense it's UV. So it may be a matter of waiting for the material technology to go down in price. The current cheapest I've seen is the material costs $50 a liter for a rigid material, and that material isn't very good that I've seen.

Re:How long (1)

Trep (366) | about 6 months ago | (#46557727)

Yes, this was done on a much pricier Object Connex printer. Some features, for example the pin joints on the tape, require pretty small feature resolution.

Re:How long (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556705)

Peachy Printer this summer?

Re:How long (2)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 6 months ago | (#46557817)

Before a 3d printer becomes affordable? . I want one within $100 . straight USB to a linux box.

Be careful what you wish for. Hook one up to Watson ... and we're all doomed.

Re:How long (1)

fikx (704101) | about 6 months ago | (#46558027)

Plastic Terminators? cool.

Re:How long (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 6 months ago | (#46558169)

Whoops, meant to reply to a different post...

Let me know when... (1)

cjellibebi (645568) | about 6 months ago | (#46556289)

...you can use a 3D printer to print a 3D printer.

Re:Let me know when... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 6 months ago | (#46556297)

...err, wasn't that one of the selling points when they were still relatively underground?

Seeing this tape measure makes me think of a few other ideas. It would be nice to print myself a new custom fly reel instead of paying for overpriced crap sold at some trendy Orvis store.

Re:Let me know when... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 6 months ago | (#46556357)

It can't print all the parts. Only some gears and stuff.

Re:Let me know when... (2)

JockTroll (996521) | about 6 months ago | (#46556761)

Not all at once. It can't form complex machines. Guns and explosives have chemicals in them. Moving parts. It doesn't work that way, but it can form solid metal shapes. Knives and stabbing weapons.

Re:Let me know when... (2)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#46556847)

"Not all at once. It can't form complex machines. Guns and explosives have chemicals in them. Moving parts. It doesn't work that way, but it can form solid metal shapes. Knives and stabbing weapons.

So how long to print out a working motorcycle cop?

Re:Let me know when... (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#46557801)

That's the nice part. You can print smaller scaled versions of the cop and merge them together when you want a larger one.

Re:Let me know when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556497)

You do know that RepRap stands for replicating rapid prototyper, right ? Printing other printers (and improved/tweaked parts for your printer) is actually the main point of many DIY printer designs.

Re:Let me know when... (1)

_merlin (160982) | about 6 months ago | (#46556579)

Yo, sup dawg...

Re:Let me know when... (1)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about 6 months ago | (#46557505)

The joke at my local hackspace is that the only thing 3d printers are good for. Is printing other 3d printers.

Re:Let me know when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557553)

At my hacker space all I've seen is a giant, leaky Yoda coffee cup. Although this month I finally saw what looked a decent flower vase, which I could have gotten for 15$ at IKEA. For now, I'm still baffled what the hoopla is all about. But then, I don't even use an oscilloscope for most electronics anymore.

Re:Let me know when... (3, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 6 months ago | (#46557687)

The technology is overhyped, A 3D printer makes you a product designer any more than a laser printer didn't made you a newsletter editor in the 80's.

One other reason I say that is when I see how fashion designers design their ridiculous stuff and "3D print" it. To suggest that people want to wear a fused plastic dress and call it high fashion is some serious encroachment on the story of the emperor's new clothing. Some of the items are a giant shoulder thing that might as well be an oversize tiara. Some of the works make the British Royal family look sane.

Outside of some niches, it's still mostly a rapid prototyping technology. That's what I use it for.

this is only the dot-matrix era of 3D printing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46560851)

Someone here is lacking vision. Not that you're at fault for that, a majority of the population tends the same way.

If I may criticize your comparison to laser printers, business professionals can now print multiple copies of a clean, professional report at home - with full-color graphics of not only photo-qualtiy images, but accurate detailed graphs. Yes, it really is a very different world we're living in since the advent of ubiquitous home laser printing.

Other examples: bands can print their own local concert posters, bumper stickers, etc. They couldn't do that 30 years ago. The difference between typing a 20-page term paper on a typewriter or a word-processor is enourmous.

Remember mobile telephones in the 1980s? Yeah, 3D printing will get leaps-and-bounds better in 30 years, too. Count on it. What we're looking at here is the dot-matrix era of 3D printing.

Re:Let me know when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46559907)

Probably some of the most practical things it is best at are kind of boring in the end. I've used them for prototyping custom brackets and random plastic clips that go into larger but space/shape constrained constructions. I probably could have put some effort into making them honeycombed and super light, but that wasn't needed. I could have had them machined on a CNC machine, but the setup and mounting time would have been longer and more labor intensive than the 3d printer. It just becomes another tool in the machine shop, doing some things other machines can't, doing some that others can with more effort, and doing some things that other machines do better assuming you have the other machines.

Re:Let me know when... (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 6 months ago | (#46558175)

...you can use a 3D printer to print a 3D printer.

Be careful what you wish for. Hook one up to Watson ... and we're all doomed.

How does that work? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 6 months ago | (#46556355)

How do you print a fully assembled item like that without the parts sticking together? Does it use some kind of dissolvable substance between the parts that is washed away afterwards?

Re:How does that work? (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 6 months ago | (#46556365)

The interface between the parts is made very thin (or left void to reduce clinging together during the actual printing), and you break it by hand after printing.

Re:How does that work? (1)

Trep (366) | about 6 months ago | (#46557815)

I think that is true in some varieties of 3D printers. However, it is not the case for this one. No breaking is involved after it prints. However, my friend did say he spent 2 hours cleaning off the support material from inside the tape measure. Note that the support material probably means that all of the holes in the case are not just to show off the internals. If would be very difficult (impossible?) to get the support material out without those holes.

Re:How does that work? (1)

Trep (366) | about 6 months ago | (#46557799)

Yes. What you don't see in that video is the "support material". This is a dry, gel-like, sort of "pasty" material that holds everything in place while it is printing. It is removed afterwards using a water pressure washer. Here's some photos of the process (not from the tape measure, but on the same equipment): http://imgur.com/h8E9Re5 [imgur.com]

Typical US creation (3, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 6 months ago | (#46556361)

A great creation, made using a great new technology, obviously thought of by a bright mind, and it's graduated in... wait for it... inches.

*Sight*

I guess that's what sets the US and Burma apart: one of the two countries can make antiquated objects with 21st century technology. (No wait! Even Burma is switching to the metric system [wordpress.com] !)

Re:Typical US creation (4, Funny)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 6 months ago | (#46556383)

What are you sighting, and why are you trying to emphasize the event?

Re:Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556547)

Burma, apparently.

Re:Typical US creation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556545)

But, if I switch from miles to kilometers, every drive would take over twice as long!

Re:Typical US creation (1)

someone1234 (830754) | about 6 months ago | (#46556675)

But you will have to pay half the cash for your car fuel :D

Re:Typical US creation (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#46557819)

Not if you switch to metric time.

Re:Typical US creation (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 6 months ago | (#46558341)

But, if I switch from miles to kilometers, every drive would take over twice as long!

I hear ya bro. When I get a pizza, I have them cut it in six pieces. Eight would fill me up.

Re:Typical US creation (1)

RogL (608926) | about 6 months ago | (#46556747)

A great creation, made using a great new technology, obviously thought of by a bright mind, and it's graduated in... wait for it... inches.

*Sight*

I guess that's what sets the US and Burma apart: one of the two countries can make antiquated objects with 21st century technology. (No wait! Even Burma is switching to the metric system [wordpress.com] !)

Inches / metric is not an issue. Give this a moment's thought.
Just apply a scaling-factor to the design & print it, you'll have a metric version.

His dial-caliper design already has comments at thingiverse giving the size to print at to produce a metric version marked in mm.

Re:Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556833)

A great creation, made using a great new technology, obviously thought of by a bright mind, and it's graduated in... wait for it... inches.

*Sight*

I guess that's what sets the US and Burma apart: one of the two countries can make antiquated objects with 21st century technology. (No wait! Even Burma is switching to the metric system [wordpress.com] !)

You are regurgitating what others have told you and trashing on the USA to try and culturally shame them into using metric 100%. Doesn't seem to be working as fast as you'd like. How about instead you start citing (and feeling) temperature in centigrade, switch all of your navigation software to meters, and discuss things in litres. You'll receive a lot of stares as you wonder why more people aren't on the same path as you.

Here's just one example to help you think a little outside the box someone has put you in. Ask someone in an "all metric" country like Canada how tall they are and watch what a lot of them reply. Go ahead and go into homes and take a look at thermostats and wonder why a bunch say "F". Stroll by a construction site and note how they measure lumber.

"keep plucking that chicken"

Re:Typical US creation (1)

graphius (907855) | about 6 months ago | (#46557177)

Canada is a bad example. We are so overwhelmed by US influence we cannot convert fully. Use a less schizophrenic European country, for example, and there is not a whiff of the US imperial system.

Re:Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557709)

Canada is a bad example. We are so overwhelmed by US influence we cannot convert fully. Use a less schizophrenic European country, for example, and there is not a whiff of the US imperial system.

Canada is -one- example the poster above appears to have had experience with. One example is all that you need when someone blindly sites Internet studies that there are -only- two countries on the entire planet -not- using metric (*see OP). So I'd say, Canada is a pretty good example.

Re:Typical US creation (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#46557829)

Another example: try to buy metric drill bits at regular hardware stores.

Re:Typical US creation (1)

graphius (907855) | about 6 months ago | (#46558225)

Drill bits, sockets, and other tools are usually not a problem. Printing paper (A4 vs US Letter) or building material (4' x 8' plywood, or 2x4's) are not metric. Canada is a bit of a hodge-podge...

Re:Typical US creation (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 6 months ago | (#46558235)

Yeah, metric drill bits are harder to find. I generally use number & letter gauge drills and just use the closest one. For my needs, the tiny difference is negligible. But I don't make aerospace & government parts, if so, then I'd use the specified size. A lot of cities seem to have a nearby machine tool supplier (there's two in my nearby mid-sized city), and they'll sell you just about any variation of metric tooling you want.

Re:Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46559943)

Once you get into a decent machine shop, it doesn't matter which units you use for anything that is custom machined to high precision. You can either flip the switch on the machine that controls what units it displays, or just convert the units and go. Otherwise there are enough drill bits to get close enough for most cases, and if you are going to go to the effort of using a reamer, chances are you will use an adjustable one or need a new on frequently depending on the precision needed.

Re:Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46559325)

The imperial system was foisted on the world by the British empire, not the US. Calling it the "US imperial system" is blatantly inaccurate. The word 'imperial' is right there and you still screwed it up.

Re:Typical US creation (1)

profplump (309017) | about 6 months ago | (#46559575)

And pretending the UK doesn't still use it is even more inaccurate.

Re:Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46559979)

Because there are differences between the US imperial system and the British imperial system it evolved from. People who get upset over it still having the name "imperial" in it can use "customary" instead.

Re:Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46559657)

Use a less schizophrenic European country, for example, and there is not a whiff of the US imperial system.

I live in France, I just bought some jeans. The size is listed in inches.

Re: Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46558753)

The personal height measurement comment is correct, and weight would be, too.

But, to be fair, you only see "F" in older people's homes (those that grew up with the old system) or on really old thermostats. Anyone younger than 50 grew up with the Metric system and with Celsius. Our own personal height and weight seem to be the big exceptions.

One other thing... and I'm trying to troll here... but "centigrade" is a *really* antiquated term. It's Celsius.

Re:Typical US creation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556843)

How is replicating a decades-old tool, with a decades-old overhyped technology, by a mind focused on the trivial, great? It's like the disappointment about 3D printing is so great that you guys are desperately clinging to the most idiotic use of the toys as some sort of great innovation...

Look! Guys! We can finally recreate flimsy imitations of mass-produced items for 100x the cost and 25x the effort!! What a breakthrough!!!

And now, I'll get a -1 mod and a very keen insight about how computers got better, event though there's no connection between making smaller bits and the material world.

Re:Typical US creation (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#46556851)

I thought Burma was called Myanmar nowdays.

Re:Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556959)

Don't forget the US wants to go back to the Moon, that's another antiquated notion they want to do in the 21st century.

Re: Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46558797)

Calling a return to the moon antiquated is like saying the first six trips from Europe to the New World was enough exploration. "We've been there and done that. Why go back?"

Re:Typical US creation (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about 6 months ago | (#46560445)

China wants to do the same thing. Don't see how this is a bad thing for either nation to do.

Re:Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557359)

A great creation, made using a great new technology, obviously thought of by a bright mind, and it's graduated in... wait for it... inches.

*Sight*

I guess that's what sets the US and Burma apart: one of the two countries can make antiquated objects with 21st century technology. (No wait! Even Burma is switching to the metric system [wordpress.com] !)

Calm the hell down there, junior. They still drive on the "wrong" side of the road when going to take a trip to see the Crown Jewels before tea time, so we're certainly not the only ones still wrapping ourselves around antiquated concepts or objects.

What you call antiquated others call standard or tradition.

Most Divisors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557385)

The reason for twelve inches per foot, etc., is that there are simple ways to divide things into halves, thirds, quarters, etc. This is really useful for a craftsman.

Re: Most Divisors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557633)

What is 1/3 of a mile? 1/4 of a yard?

Re: Most Divisors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46558217)

5280/3=1760 feet (also the number of yards in a mile) 12x3/4=9 inches

Re: Most Divisors (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about 6 months ago | (#46560431)

So much easier than shifting a decimal from place to place. But let me take it a step further smartypants:

How much liquid is in a container 12 inches x 12 inches x 12 inches?

How big of a cube do you need to exactly contain a quart?

Re: Most Divisors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46560725)

Ummm, for both problems, what is the liquid, altitude (or local gravity), air pressure, and temperature?

The metric system only simplifies a few grade-school problems.
It encourages people to confuse volume and weight with mass.
For real work, you still need the same set of equations and conversion factors.

Today, the metric system provides three benefits: a simple base-10 conversion between units at different scales, a redefined and repeatable set of references, and "harmonization" with the rest of the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metre#Timeline_of_definition

Re: Typical US creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46558781)

Don't forget Liberia! :-)

Re:Typical US creation (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about 6 months ago | (#46560415)

US instance an cling to the imperial system is indeed maddening.

Your friend is creating a religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556501)

Your friend is slowly creating a religion, not just a toolbox, it first commandment says:

You shall have no other units before inches, feet and yards.

Most people in the world are infidels.

Thank god for Africans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556573)

Oh wait... the creator of this was WHITE. I am so surprised...
Still, let's continue to allow millions of non-whites to waltz into our WHITE countries every year, because apparently, living around THEIR OWN KIND is just awful and terrible, and we are 'evil' for wanting them to continue to do so... LOL.

Why aren't millions of WHITE people desperately moving to non-white countries every year? Why aren't thousands of WHITE people sailing across the ocean on a crappy old boat, in order to FORCE their way into AFRICA to 'seek asylum' from their OWN PEOPLE?

Re:Thank god for Africans... (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about 6 months ago | (#46560457)

IIRC Snowden fled to a non white nation, but they wouldn't have him.

Just saying.

meh (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46556613)

I like the caliper better. But really... the 3D printer folks need to stop printing things that clearly wont work well once they are 3D printed. For example, he's copied an existing tape measure... a device that has existed and has worked very well for well over a century. It's been perfected to the point that you can now buy one for less than a dollar just about anywhere. I'd think he should design an entirely new tool that does the same job but better... taking into account the limitations and advantages of the medium he's working in.

I'm interested in 3D printing but I'm still unimpressed with the quality of the material it prints. When they get better, higher temperature plastics, or even some sort of metal alloy, I'll be a lot more interested. And yes, I'm aware there are $50k+ machines that can do that, but I mean machines for home use.

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556803)

..I'm interested in 3D printing but I'm still unimpressed with the quality of the material it prints. When they get better, higher temperature plastics, or even some sort of metal alloy, I'll be a lot more interested. And yes, I'm aware there are $50k+ machines that can do that, but I mean machines for home use.

I keep saying this at work, yet they're still going to go and blow several thousands on a 3d printer as one of the PTBs responsible for this waste of funds is a narcissistic prick who also thinks he has his finger on the pulse apropos technology.
Still, on the bright side, as he and his little cadre are technical incompetents to a man, the toy (for that's all I regard them as unless they're of the ilk made by this lot www.arcam.com) will be coming in my direction..

Re:meh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557025)

At best, the very best, there are industrial technologies like laser sintering that get tossed into the "3D printing" grab-bag. Then you have people who look at bits of plastic from a crappy hobby "3D printer" and they think that the metal stuff is weeks away. People vastly underestimate the complexity of even cheap, commonplace items: "oh just download a file and print it!". Wow.

People also think those industrial machines with their staff of engineers, industrial ventilation and 600V three-phase power are just days away from fitting in a pocket.

I think we've hit "peak 3D", when years later we're still at the level of imitating cheap items with great effort. Without giving context of how many times the person tried before it worked, how long it took when it finally did work, and how much it cost.

We've been promised Star Trek many times before, like for example nanotechnology, which was supposed to be so powerful it would turn the entire planet into Gray Goo. Decades later "nano" just means a really fine powder. Wow. We'll, I'm impressed.

Oh this time it's different, this time we've nailed it, 3D printing is the future.

Re:meh (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 6 months ago | (#46558483)

3D printing is a pretty poor name. It's all additive techniques, of which there are at least six major types, I think. And they go from inexpensive hobbyist machines to over a million dollars.

They're useful technologies, but I think people are getting ahead of themselves. The focus should be on doing things that couldn't be done as well before, not making existing things, but more poorly and more expensively and thinking that's going to change the world. There are some uses though, tor example, I think GE has an turbine engine injector design that's now one piece instead of 23 pieces when done with conventional machining. In the GE case, it's a benefit, less complexity, less weight. Making a plastic tape measure with plastic tape, that looks like a waste of material & time.

Re:meh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556917)

You want to go from 0-60 while skipping 1-59. This is still the R&D phase of life for additive manufacturing. It's going to remain more expensive and produce less durable goods right now. What you're griping about is the R&D that needs to happen on the people side of things: people need to get used to working up designs for additive processes. So, at the same time we're improving the actual printers, we're also improving the people who will use them. ;) You need to crawl before you can walk or run, but nobody would argue you shouldn't run because you might need to crawl first...

Re:meh (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556977)

You've had decades to go from 1-59. Now we're at the 60, and you're still convinced that we're weeks away from Star Trek. The required ignorance of how the world works is astounding.

Re:meh (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#46557857)

The replicators from Star Trek basically "print" objects using atoms instead of plastic, so we only need to use atoms filaments instead of plastic filaments!

Re:meh (2)

swillden (191260) | about 6 months ago | (#46557595)

I'd think he should design an entirely new tool that does the same job but better... taking into account the limitations and advantages of the medium he's working in.

That would require understanding the limitations and advantages of the medium he's working in -- and no one yet fully understands them. That is the point of exercises like this. He didn't print a tape measure because he needed a tape measure (duh), he printed one because he's exploring the limitations and advantages of his 3D printer.

Doing that while simultaneously devising some entirely new sort of object would be a truly impressive feat indeed. I presume it's the sort of thing you do routinely, though. Got links? I'd love to see genius of higher order than represented by this tape measure at work.

Re:meh (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46557775)

Doing that while simultaneously devising some entirely new sort of object would be a truly impressive feat indeed. I presume it's the sort of thing you do routinely, though. Got links? I'd love to see genius of higher order than represented by this tape measure at work.

I do and have. I've had a few of my tools/jigs featured in magazines (like 3) You'll have to take my word for it though. I don't care to link my slashdot account to my real name :-)

Oh, and if software counts, I've got a bunch of that all over the place.

Re:meh (1)

swillden (191260) | about 6 months ago | (#46559853)

Feel free to e-mail the links to me, then.

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557735)

There isn't a whole lot of reason to 3D print anything other than prototype items. 150 years of mass production has made mass producing anything very efficient. 3D printers will never be very efficient.

3D printers are already efficient at some tasks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46558759)

As of today, there are several medical implant companies that use additive technologies (Laser sintering and EBM) to mass produce standard titanium implants like knees and hip cups. Using 3D printers is cheaper, faster and can add product value (e.g. generated lattice structures for faster bone in-growth).

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46559191)

Make a Gömböc
http://plus.maths.org/content/gomboc-object-barely-exists

Re:meh (1)

heson (915298) | about 6 months ago | (#46559301)

I like the tape measure choice.
It shows how advanced constructions you can do, and the limitations of such advanced constructions. As I understand it, it is fully functional right out of the printer. This is a little bit more advanced than "possible" but thats why it is cool.

Amazing (2)

seven of five (578993) | about 6 months ago | (#46556713)

Brilliant stuff. I wonder what kind of printer he used?

Re:Amazing (1)

Trep (366) | about 6 months ago | (#46557841)

It is a pretty high-end Objet Connex printer. He and I used to work together at a company that was very generous in allowing employees to use tools for personal projects. He still works there. One of the things I miss about working there is access to an amazing shop.

Jesus. CHrist. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46556827)

This is 21st century whittling for OCD autistic nerds.

Not a functional tool. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 6 months ago | (#46556973)

The submitter claims it's fully functional - but he obviously has neither ever used a tape measure nor actually watched the video. With no markings, it's just a cool ribbon and not a tape measure. And the narrator on the video even admits it's not fully functional because wear will cause increasing errors in the length of the ribbon. The non repeatability of the "dial calipers" readings lead to the same conclusion - neat art object, not a functional tool.

Re:Not a functional tool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557061)

Most 3D printing stories are mostly performance art for nerds. But they take themselves so seriously and get so upset when you point out reality to them. It's like telling an asteroid miner/Mars colonist/Species Space Nutter that they're wrong...

Re:Not a functional tool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557085)

too bad we can't print a cure for myopia, yet

Re:Not a functional tool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557101)

That's right, if you could print functional -2.5 glasses (no cylinder), maybe I'd be impressed. Why don't you guys take on the disgusting monopolistic industries like optometry? Come on, show me how incredible 3D printing is. Go on. Do it. Stop talking, stop posting ridiculous little defensive posts. Do it. Show me.

You can't. Because the emperor has no clothes.

Re:Not a functional tool. (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46557149)

you're very confused

even your normal machinists cnc milling machine can't grind glass lenses, that's done by different means. to put it simply, putting blank on rotating table, and then making many passes with rotating abrasive head where the amount of time spent in each area of the lens is varied. for a convex lens, more time spent around the edges. at times, the size of grit on the rotating abrasive head is made smaller and smaller

Re:Not a functional tool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557175)

I know. That's my point. Even commonplace items depend on such specialized materials and technology. So why is 3D printing hailed as this incredible technology? It's obviously not.

Re:Not a functional tool. (1)

Trep (366) | about 6 months ago | (#46557861)

It does have markings, actually. Though the video did not really make that clear. As far as accuracy...yeah, it isn't the most precise. But it is better than 1% accuracy. I guess by functional I mostly meant isn't a block that resembles a tape measure, but actually has a retractable "tape", moving parts, etc. No one is claiming you should replace your tape measure with this. It's clearly just a cool toy. I still kind of want one to keep on my desk though...

About time (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 months ago | (#46557003)

I was wondering how long it would be until we would start making tape measures in this country again.

too late for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557043)

I work in construction and I would like to see fast, portable, and durable 3D printing presses that can churn out all the parts you would normally have to order from the wholesale house.

Im guessing we will be 3D printing whole structures like those giant bots on Coruscant before the guys in construction even notice they've lost their jobs permanently.

We are so ass backwards, everything is still done on paper in the field. Contractors won't trust us with the fancy electronics and are too dumb to see how much money they are losing.

Rant End

Re:too late for us (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 6 months ago | (#46557087)

Whole structures, I doubt it, but having a machine available on site to churn out any small parts you need, absolutely.

Re:too late for us (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557299)

Yes, so now instead you have to order your raw material from the wholesale house. Idiot. There's a reason you work in construction and it's not your intellect.

And Heaven help us if you rednecks get to build even cheaper and flimsier ramshackle cabins. Like shit's not cheap enough already. Great. Let's 3D print critical pipes and have brown water spew out between the walls after a year because Hammerhead McGee here wanted a 3D printed plastic elbow that took three hours to print instead of (gasp! horror!) ordering the parts ahead of time because he knows what he's doing, or worse, driving to fucking Home Depot to get the part.

"We are so ass backwards, everything is still done on paper in the field."

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe these people know more than you do? And that simple paper is the perfect tool for the job? Do paper plans shatter when they're dropped on a concrete floor? Does a wet plan suddenly stop being a plan? Does a paper plan require an IT staff to upgrade every two hours to the latest and greatest paper? Does the paper plan get attacked by hackers from around the world, all the time? Does a tablet let you quickly show to a bunch of people the plans in the dark, in the sun, in -20 temperatures? Does a paper plan require to be charged?

There are often very good reasons why things are the way they are, and it rarely has anything to do with other people being "ass backwards", but rather your naivete and ignorance of what's really going on.

Re: too late for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557567)

Wow...just wow.

Re: too late for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557803)

Can you describe the different materials used in construction today, why they are used, and why you think you'll be able to replace the form fit and function of these thousands of parts and hundreds of materials with a single material from a single machine? Go on. Don't just make coy little remarks that betray your utter and total pig-ignorance of the complexity of modern materials and technologies.

Go. On. Show me.

And as for paper plans, your only experience in construction is hanging a picture frame. If that.

Re:too late for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557765)

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe these people know more than you do? And that simple paper is the perfect tool for the job? Do paper plans shatter when they're dropped on a concrete floor? Does a wet plan suddenly stop being a plan? Does a paper plan require an IT staff to upgrade every two hours to the latest and greatest paper? Does the paper plan get attacked by hackers from around the world, all the time? Does a tablet let you quickly show to a bunch of people the plans in the dark, in the sun, in -20 temperatures? Does a paper plan require to be charged?

This quote has just been forwarded to my boss, many thanks, you've just summed up something rather nicely I've been trying to get into their thick skulls here now for a couple of months..

Re:too late for us (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 6 months ago | (#46557309)

Time and refinement is needed. The parts don't have the structural capacity (not in any size which is practical), and the finish parts are not up to the level of actual architectural finishes in most cases.

Imperial unit really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46557063)

Impressive achievement! Too bad it is still using archaic units...

calipers, ha! (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46557121)

the tolerances on cheap 3D printers are abysmal for attempts at precise parts or machinery, 0.1 - 0.4 mm (four to sixteen one-thousandths of inch)

as aside, even in the realm of hobby cnc milling machines, it's always amusing to see the claims made in forums by clueless geeks for their rigs of their tenths of a thousandth of inch repeatable accuracy......no pal, more like 5 thousandths slop or more...

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