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3-D Printing Comes To Amazon

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the world-goes-plastic dept.

Businesses 62

An anonymous reader writes Promising "an appstore for the physical world," Amazon has just unveiled their new online market for products created using a 3-D printer. "Customization gives customers the power to remix their world," explains the co-founder of Mixee Labs (an Amazon partner), "and we want to change the way people shop online." Amazon's ability to sell you things before they've even been built is currently limited mostly to novelties like iPhone cases, jewelry, and bobbleheads that look like you. But this could be the beginning of mainstream 3D printing.

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Strength (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559137)

Are the products of 3D printers actually strong/hard enough for real world application? Something like a phone case needs to be tough enough to resist abrasion or it will shred in contact with hard objects. The material needs to be tough enough and hard enough that the snaps around the edges don't fail after a few of operations.

I haven't actually used this stuff so I sincerely don't know.

Re:Strength (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559157)

You can print in a plethora of different materials; this includes metals and extremely hard plastics.

Re:Strength (-1, Troll)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 4 months ago | (#47559277)

Do you know what the word plethora means? I would hope that when someone uses the word plethora, that person would know what that word means!

Re:Strength (1, Funny)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 4 months ago | (#47559357)

What they mean is there is literally a bazillion materials. So many materials that if you saw the list you'd literally die.

Re:Strength (0)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47559403)

Is this the start of Death Printer: The 3D Printer that Prints Death? It'd be like a modern-day sequel to Death Bed: The Bed that Eats People.

Re:Strength (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559337)

You can print in a plethora of different materials; this includes metals and extremely hard plastics.

The strength and martial properties of medals comes from the arrangement of the crystal lattices. These are things that 3D printing cannot do.

Re:Strength (1)

orasio (188021) | about 4 months ago | (#47559405)

You can print in a plethora of different materials; this includes metals and extremely hard plastics.

The strength and martial properties of medals comes from the arrangement of the crystal lattices. These are things that 3D printing cannot do.

These are things that 3D printing doesn't do maybe. But most certaintly it is feasible. And once that's achieved, you will be able to create metals with a la carte properties.

Re:Strength (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559889)

But most certaintly it is feasible.

It most certainly isn't. You need to arrange each atomic specifically to do that.

Re:Strength (4, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 4 months ago | (#47559451)

The strength and martial properties of medals comes from the arrangement of the crystal lattices. These are things that 3D printing cannot do.

And there's all that tireless training and stressful competition. Who wants to do that?

Re:Strength (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47559531)

It lacks the sci-fi appeal of pure printing; but there are a variety of techniques that use the 3d printed part as the first step and then subject it to additional treatment steps in order to make up for those sorts of deficiencies.

As long as the subsequent processing steps don't change the dimensions(or change them in predictable ways that you can compensate for) you can get away with whatever tempering, annealing, and so on your application requires.

Re:Strength (2)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 4 months ago | (#47559601)

No, they come from training hard and never giving up. In the Army. Or something.

Can I print pinatas (1)

publiclurker (952615) | about 4 months ago | (#47563497)

I've always wanted a plethora of pinatas.

Re:Strength (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47559471)

Depends on what you pay.

A poorly calibrated fused filament unit will produce stringy junk that delaminates if you look at it funny. A well calibrated one will achieve something reasonably close to what the plastic it is using is actually capable of. Outside the cheap seats, you can print all kinds of things(especially if you count parts that require one or more additional processing steps as '3d printed'. Printing wax, for example, is pretty undemanding, and allows you to do lost-wax casts of more or less any shape that will cast properly, without needing a printer that can sinter or melt metals. Some of the techniques for producing ceramics are in the same vein, the printer just needs to tack the ceramic material together long enough for firing, which takes care of the mechanical properties.)

The one thing that is (relatively) easy with injection molding that 3d printing (to my knowledge) isn't so hot for is overmolds. When injection molding you can use insert molding or multi-shot systems to achieve the (enormously common and fairly popular) combination of a rigid plastic structure with an elastomeric surface treatment for grip or aesthetic reasons. For prototyping purposes you can get paint-like coatings that emulate elastomeric overmolds that you can brush on to 3d printed parts; but the quality isn't as good and production takes longer.

Re:Strength (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#47560707)

"A poorly calibrated fused filament unit will produce stringy junk that delaminates if you look at it funny. A well calibrated one will achieve something reasonably close to what the plastic it is using is actually capable of. "

Fortunately Amazon can spend more than 2000 dollars on these printers so in essence, they can print _anything_, guns included if they did choose so.

Re:Strength (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47564315)

The really nice stuff is still pretty expensive per unit volume, even aside from the purchase price, so Amazon probably isn't interested; but they are almost definitely using relatively nice plastic printers.

Re:Strength (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 4 months ago | (#47567965)

Something like a phone case needs to be tough enough to resist abrasion or it will shred in contact with hard objects

Depends. If the case's destruction allowed it to dissipate enough instantaneous kinetic energy to save your phone's display from an expensive repair job, the loss of that 99c case might not necessarily be a bad thing. I've seen drops bad enough to crack the hard inner shell of an Otterbox Defender. Like the time my brother put his phone down on the roof of his car, then forgot about it before driving away. It hit the ground at a *minimum* of 20mph. The case was destroyed, but the phone inside was unscathed.

Re:Strength (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47574755)

3-D printing can be fairly strong depending on how it's made or the kind of printing they are doing in the case of fusion deposition they deposit layer after layer creating the object but depending on how you make the phone case the layer might just separate and come apart similar to the grain of wood.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fused_deposition_modeling

Meh (1)

Ecuador (740021) | about 4 months ago | (#47559149)

Perhaps they should wait a bit until they had something more interesting to launch? They are just some quite expensive novelties for now. Perhaps when you can print your own tiny violin things will start to get interesting.

Re:Meh (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#47559441)

I agree. Furthermore, why make an egg now? Fuck that, wait for a chicken first, THEN make an egg. Greedy fucking ovipares always jumping the gun...

Vacu-form souvenir machine (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 4 months ago | (#47559543)

Is this going to be like the class trip to the State Capitol? There are these "souvenir" machines into which you place some coins. It is not injection molding as that would produce something semi-durable. Rather, it is vacuum forming where in a process somewhat but not completely unlike glass blowing, this really cheesy soft plastic is pushed against a mold, only the machine puts on a show that it is doing something important. And out pops this floppy statue of the head and shoulders (I think the sculpture term is a "bust") of the Great Emanacipator engravened with "Land of Lincoln."

They will need some actual product (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559163)

Every single thing they are offering is over priced, most of them look plain bad, and some of them are literally retarded. 40$ for a vase topper? 50$ for a tiny bone shaped piece of metal? Good luck selling that to anybody with a brain. Oh, who am I kidding, the average american will buy five.

Re:They will need some actual product (2)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 4 months ago | (#47559393)

They are so literally retarded that by seeing them you forget what the term literally means.

Re:They will need some actual product (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559521)

The use of American and retard is a tautology.

Re:They will need some actual product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559735)

You do realize retarded can also mean "very foolish or stupid" so I'm wondering why you think something can't literally be very foolish or stupid? Oh I get it, you are literally retarded :)

Little Appliance Parts (4, Interesting)

resistant (221968) | about 4 months ago | (#47559209)

I know this makes me a boring person who should be stripped of his nerd card, but I'd really like to use this or a similar service to get a small replacement part printed for an old refrigerator's freezer-door hinge. It broke a long time ago, and I've been propping the door on the remnant of the bottom hinge. Needless to say, the needed part is no longer available, and trying to hack a crude replacement for it promises to be just enough trouble that I've been putting it off for lo these many years. If I could somehow translate what I see of the part into a simple CAD model for Amazon, I'd be happy to pay $10 or so just to avoid the fuss of trying to drill and hammer and cut my way to a solution.

In the classic Slashdot tradition, of course, I haven't paid much attention yet to Amazon's pricing structure, which will undoubted turn out to be unreasonable for such small matters. Still, I'm looking forward to an eventual explosion in availability of quick three-dimensional approximation scanners and small-scale solid-matter printers in corner stores where I can take the pieces to be translated into a reasonable facsimile of the original part.

Re:Little Appliance Parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559281)

This will be the future I hope. It will be an explosion for industry and progress

Re:Little Appliance Parts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559335)

It will be an explosion for industry and progress

And patent lawyers. Don't forget them too.

Re:Little Appliance Parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559351)

That is exactly the type of thing a nerd would do. A non nerd would throw away the refrigerator and buy a new one

Re:Little Appliance Parts (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#47559375)

Or just fill it with beer and duct tape the door on.

Re:Little Appliance Parts (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47559565)

Amazon's offering is substantially less flexible than that of existing players (shapeways is the name that comes to mind; but there are others), who already accept basically any STL that isn't horribly munged in some way and spit the result out in a number of different materials.

You still have to model the part, or buy a (currently rather expensive) 3d scanner to do it; but if you are willing to put on your CAD hat, you could have the part by next week, just not from Amazon. I wonder if they are just moving slowly, or worried about the copy cops coming after them once people start knocking off action figures or something...

Re:Little Appliance Parts (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#47562399)

Yeah. I saw this coming years ago. 3D printers are going to kill businesses like Warhammer, because their entire business is built around charging large amounts of money for small figurines that you could easily churn out on a 3D printer. Especially when you consider you're supposed to paint them yourself anyway. Either the presence of cheap 3D printers, or the availability of 3D printers for hire will make printing your own pieces all too easy. $50 for some small figurines is completely ridiculous when you could order the same thing off Amazon and have them 3D print an "good enough" replica for only a couple dollars.

Re:Little Appliance Parts (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47564441)

I suspect that, at very least, 3d printing servics will be harassed (like youtube vs. the music labels) about this possibility, and some users will definitely try it.

The one thing that(as much as it surprises me) makes me a trifle skeptical of the lethality is that doing resin(or wood's metal or similar alloys if you want some extra weight and don't mind a little cadmium) castings from figurines isn't rocket surgery, especially for people with enough interest and fine motor skills to paint the things, and I've not heard anything about major disruption from that.

3d printing will lower the bar, since you don't actually need the master to create a mold from; but even if you exclude clandestine trade in cloned figurines, people could easily buy enough parts to copy an acceptably varied army for much less than they could buy the entire army.

The hardware store key duplicator (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 4 months ago | (#47559577)

So, you will go to your local national-chain hardware store, some zit-faced teen will take the hinge, put it into a scanner, disappear "into the back", come back with the new part still warm from the process, and tell you, "Take this up front and tell them to charge to twelve dollars."

You will then take it home and then figure that it is a tenth mm too big in all dimensions to fit?

Re:Little Appliance Parts (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 4 months ago | (#47559667)

No, this is the essence of nerd. And maker. No need to strip you of your card.

The hard part is that you have to design it yourself. Sinec you call yourself a nerd, I recommend downloading Blender or OpenScad and give it a try. Just send me the STL file and I'll happily print it for you. You can find me, or any of my clones, at your local hackerspace.

Re:Little Appliance Parts (1)

resistant (221968) | about 4 months ago | (#47559877)

I didn't know Blender could be used for that purpose. I'll look into Blender's CAD features and OpenSCAD both. I'd be happy to take advantage of your offer to print out these stupid little parts at a nominal cost for each plus shipping. (I looked again, and the top hinge also needs to be replaced as soon as I can figure out how it looked originally.) It might take me a while to overcome the learning curve for one or both of these CAD programs, though. I need to become thoroughly familiar with CAD anyway for other reasons, but the work queue is rather crushing at the moment. ^^;

Also, I goofed slightly in my original post and wrote "undoubtedly" as "undoubted." The writer in me winces at the inability to edit this appalling typographical error. -_-

Re:Little Appliance Parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559845)

Totally unrelated to 3D printing, if the refrigerator has ever been sold in the USA, chances are Sears has it on their partsdirect site.

Related to 3D printing, small, hard-to-find parts are definitely one reason to have a 3D printer, but right now, you'll need to have or develop some skills with 3d modeling software to fully take advantage... And a pair of calipers.

obgoat: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559233)

first dong! [xkcd.com]

Re:obgoat: (2)

rworne (538610) | about 4 months ago | (#47561535)

Funny as xkcd is, there is actually one on Piratebay's Physibles site. Just google: "physibles 3D dildo"

This country I'm visiting (or their ISP) is blocking the site or I'd post a link, but on second thought, maybe it's for the better good.

3D Printing Issue. (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 months ago | (#47559255)

The real issue right now with 3D Printing, most of the stuff you can print is stuff most people really don't need.

The last time I wished I could have a 3D printer was to replace a Worm Gear for my Garage Door Opener. That was about 6 Months ago.

For decoration, I really don't want Cheap Plastic decorations, and a new phone case isn't that interesting either.

Right now 3D Printing is really still for industry.

Re:3D Printing Issue. (1)

Legendary Teeth (1087209) | about 4 months ago | (#47559421)

I would love occasional access to a 3D printer, but I don't need my own yet. There are a bunch of GoPro mounts I could be printing which would be very handy for me.. but am I going to spend a thousand dollars to print 5 or 6 things? No, but I would pay a bit of money to just get the custom stuff I want printed. Luckily, my local library just set up a 3D printer we can use. So.. looks like libraries are cool again.

Re:3D Printing Issue. (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 4 months ago | (#47559477)

Which is where this is going.

Upload the mount to Amazon they print and ship it to you.

It is still more expensive than the mass produced items. But it is comparable to the one off customs

Re:3D Printing Issue. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559473)

a fried of mine was able to 3d print a replacemnt latch handle for his truck tailgate. seems to be holding up fine.

Printing useful things too (1)

tebee (1280900) | about 4 months ago | (#47560853)

I have to disagree, there are certain areas where 3D printed items are usefully filling gaps in the market.

One group is model railway people who now have many previously unobtainable items made this way. Interesting the first hackers were model railroaders too ! See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

I'm one of the small scale manufacturers who makes his living by selling 3-d printed model trains, both direct to public through Shapeways ( https://www.shapeways.com/shop... [shapeways.com] ) and reselling things I get printed through eBay and other outlets.

Because there is so little up-front costs involved it's possible to cater for market segments where it would not have been economically viable before and make items profitably that may sell in tens rather than thousands - this is the beauty of 3-d printing.

It's just finding those niches - spare parts for household items is probably another one, it just needs someone to start designing them and then workout some sort of online database so the rest of the world knows how to find them.

 

Re:Printing useful things too (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 months ago | (#47567899)

While I am not trying to belittle your hobbies. But Model Trains isn't for everyone, and a lot of peoples hobbies are not about making toys.

Sure if you are making toys, then fine, If I was a 7 year old kid, and I had access to a 3d printer, I would be printing out all kinds of cool stuff, from guns for my action figures, to special Lego blocks.

But my hobbies and interests today do not require too much plastic parts. And the occasional replacement part isn't worth the expense.

"Beginning of mainstream 3D printing" (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 4 months ago | (#47559309)

But this could be the beginning of mainstream 3D printing.

We heard that when Staples did it. [myeasy3d.com]

Amazon's 3D printed product offerings are rather lame. [amazon.com] They're not offering any of the more advanced 3D printing processes; for that you have to go to Shapeways. All you can get from Amazon is plastic junk.

Appstore? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559423)

Like an appstore? A place that licenses you things that mostly work, that you are legally prevented from understanding or repairing, and that might disappear without recourse at a moment's notice?

No, those are the exact opposite qualities I look for in my physical items.

Finally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559427)

I can have a custom dragon dildo!

Re:Finally. (2)

runlvl0 (198575) | about 4 months ago | (#47560715)

I can have a custom dragon dildo!

Why does your dragon need a dildo?

only 1/3 of US in debt over our heads? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47559459)

if we stop now there's some notion our kids will recover from at least our spiritual bankruptcy, as for currency http://finance.yahoo.com/news/more-than-one-in-three-americans-has-debt-in-collections-033649637.html we are it. see you on the other side of 'it'... off topic? http://www.youtube.com/results? search_query=hymen+medical+origins 'weather' report http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+weather,, how many Ds in deception?

Staples' My Easy 3d is MUCH better! Print ANYTHING (2)

mrnick (108356) | about 4 months ago | (#47559483)

With Staples' My Easy 3d you can print ANYTHING! It looks like Amazon's solution is to let you personalize objects, not create your own.

http://staples.myeasy3d.com/in... [myeasy3d.com]

Amazon's 3D Print... uhmm well all I can say is LAME!

Re:Staples' My Easy 3d is MUCH better! Print ANYTH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47560983)

It is also expensive! $40 for a dog tag?

Screw 3d printing! I can have one hand-carved for that price.

captcha: reoccur
(why are we doing this captcha thing again?)

The real question (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 4 months ago | (#47559715)

Can they print a whistle in only three hours?

After all, these things go for 25 cents a pop at a party store.

I already have a 3D printer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47560035)

that prints in any material, even complex chemistries. It can show me pictures of the item before I buy it.

It's called a mailbox.

And eBay.

Yawn (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 4 months ago | (#47560051)

Big deal. There are already people doing great 3D printing that I can access over the Internet. (I have not used them but a good friend has and the results are pretty good.) So I don't need Amazon for that. And on top of that, Amazon is now charging sales tax for my state even though they currently have no legal presence in my state. So if I'm ordering on-line I would rather do it from someone who's primary focus is 3D printing and who will not charge me tax. Let me know when Amazon has a printer installed in a store front in my city, so that I can pick up the item the same day and at least not have to pay shipping. Until then there are better options.

The Fire Phone is a 3D scanner... (1)

WaxParadigm (311909) | about 4 months ago | (#47561113)

4 front-facing camera 3D system with gyroscopic sensors may make for a neat "dynamic perspective."

I'd rather use them to take 3D scans of things I'd like replicated (with or without modifications) through a 3D printing service like this.

An app store for the physical world (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 4 months ago | (#47561243)

It's "an app store for the physical world"? Or in other words, it's a store.

Great :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47561293)

Who decided that the 3D printing market should have all competition removed from it and the remaining products rendered utterly useless ?

Obligatory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47561483)

Now I can print off a single shower curtain ring next time one of mine fails at a cost approaching that of several packages of new shower curtain rings!

Beginning? (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 4 months ago | (#47568237)

The Beginning? Absolutely not. Amazon may have a wider market and may play a big part in the popularization of it, but Shapeways has already done "the beginning" of mainstream 3D printing, so Amazon can't do that. Don't think it's the mainstream? Try checking out the types of people using it. Not just engineers, hobbyists, and avant-garde artists.
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