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A 3D Printer On Every Desktop?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the abs-fab dept.

Hardware Hacking 426

holy_calamity writes "Two Cornell researchers have designed an open source 3D printer that costs just $2,400. The self-assembly kit is part of what they call the Fab@Home project — they hope it will spark development of rapid prototyping for the consumer market in the same way the Altair 8800 did for personal computing in seventies." Here is a video showing a completed machine constructing a silicone bulb (16-MB WMV).
Update: 01/10 04:02 GMT by KD : The developers of this kit are at Cornell, not Carnegie Mellon University as the original post erroneously stated.

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hmmmmm (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531236)

A 3D Printer On Every Desktop?

I just circled my desk, and it looks like the HP Laserjet I already have exists in 3 Dimensions. Surely this means HP has beaten this other company to market.

Re:hmmmmm (4, Funny)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531982)

I'm afraid that's just a stereoscopic projection trick, not real 3d. If you reach out and put your hand on 'top' of your printer, you'll find it's really quite flat.

Heard of Youtube? (3, Insightful)

AaronBaker2000 (480581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531246)

I'd rather not download a video my computer can't even play. Can some nice person post it on youtube?

Re:Heard of Youtube? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531450)

Why can't you play it... and why the hell would you want an equally shitty alternative like flash shit...

Re:Heard of Youtube? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531484)

Ever thought about shoving your mac up your ass?

Re:Heard of Youtube? (1)

Paralizer (792155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531572)

Ever heard of proprietary format? I can't play it either in Linux with a 64-bit media player. I wish MS would either open it or people would start using avi or mpg.

Re:Heard of Youtube? (1)

cag_ii (788110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531684)

Why not? I'm guessing you just haven't tried very hard. http://xinehq.de/index.php/faq#WMV [xinehq.de]

Re:Heard of Youtube? (2, Informative)

Paralizer (792155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532142)

Unless I misread the URL you posted, those are precompiled 32bit codecs from Microsoft. To use it with a 64bit player would not be possible.

Re:Heard of Youtube? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17532162)

Ever thought about shoving your mac up your ass?

Not really -- then my farts would smell like Apple's.
That and I have no interest in taking it up the ass. That's my wife's job.

Not to mention my Linux boxen would all be slightly jealous.

The virus, adware, trojan, and worm infected machines that come through my home (known to you probably by Windows) are only laughed at while they're here. Then we laugh all the way to the bank considering I'm doing 4-5 at a time at $100/pop per *DAY* now. That's just my side work -- you do the math.

Me? I'll shove a Mac in every room in the house. Wait, I already have. Last one to be placed will go with the new projector/theatre room and will be getting the new iTV.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahaha (laughing at you laughing at my Mac :)

Re:Heard of Youtube? (3, Informative)

soapee01 (698313) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531798)

ok. fab@home video [youtube.com]

Re:Heard of Youtube? (4, Informative)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531928)

Fab@Home Video [youtube.com] on YouTube, as requested.

Re:Heard of Youtube? (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532174)

Definately the better video above. Thanks, so much better than a 16MB WMV.

Ok, Flash is still proprietary but name me a better streaming system thats as easy?

Fab@Home Wiki Pictures of the Bulb [fabathome.org]

Its a SQUEEZE bulb, not a light bulb if you hadn't realised!

DugUK

Re:Heard of Youtube? (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532038)

I know the parent is a troll, but this gets better:


Error: 403 Forbidden

Error when attempting to use the Coral Content Distribution Network (http://www.coralcdn.org/).

The hostname specified in the Coralized URL has been blacklisted from the system.

Server CoralWebPrx/0.1.18 (See http://coralcdn.org/ [coralcdn.org] ) at 128.208.4.199:8080


Blacklisted??? How the heck do you get blacklisted from Coral Cache?

IP Issues to Hit Action Figure Market (4, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531250)

IP Issues to Hit Action Figure Market. Seems inevitable. Dad, can you print me a few dozen more Ninja Turtles? If it comes with a 3d scanner, kiss Barbie Good-Bye. Mattel becomes the next Sony.

Suddenly... (2, Funny)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531476)

...the "40K" in Warhammer 40K isn't US dollars.

Re:Suddenly... (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531566)

Twas my first thought exactly. I don't know that it can do the same level of detail, but considering how many games of Epic we played in college with cardboard chits...

Re:IP Issues to Hit Action Figure Market (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531480)

Mattel is ALREADY the next Sony; more like Sony is just copying Mattel Barbie legal tactics from the 60s.

Re:IP Issues to Hit Action Figure Market (1)

DarkGreenNight (647707) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531582)

Forget action figures! Think about wargamming, specially those that play and use Games Workshop figures (I've been told they are rather expensived compared to similar ones).

I think I'd have an army at last ;) Or several.

So it would be algo great for roleplayers, boardgamers, and all kind of geeks.

I'd buy one almost right away.

Can't say much more than (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531274)

that is pretty fucking sweet. I really wouldn't have a use for it, but ~$2500 isn't a bad price.

Re:Can't say much more than (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531342)

that is pretty fucking sweet. I really wouldn't have a use for it, but ~$2500 isn't a bad price.

I think that's quite expensive for printing out a bulb that doesn't even light up!

Re:Can't say much more than (4, Funny)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532178)

Save your money. The API is pretty hosed. I sent a simple command, almost verbatim from the docs, only substituted my own object, and well, it didn't work! Here's the code snippet:

fab("Earl Grey, Hot");

Re:Can't say much more than (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17532214)

I can see a nice use case for plastic surgeons in particular. Here's a sample by-line for the next issue of "Annals of Plastic Surgery" http://www.annalsplasticsurgery.com/ [annalsplasticsurgery.com] - this'll in nicely next to the article "Advances in Mammaplasty - Reversing the droop":

"Fancy not having to order "parts" from your local Dow Corning rep anymore? Do you desire to offer your customers truly customised b00bs in a variety of shapes? Now you can do both - and they're ready in minutes!"

I wonder (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531278)

Here is a video showing a completed machine constructing a silicone bulb (16M-MB WMV).

Given the ungodly expense of regular inkjet cartridges [gizmodo.com] , I can only wonder how much the refills for this thing will run.

Re:I wonder (2, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531456)

The ink in those cartridges costs about a buck. The reason the cartridges are so expensive is because they are a propriatary item for which the printer maker can; and does, charge whatever the market can be forced to bear, usually to make up for the fact that they sold the printer at about cost.

This fabber is a DIY; open "source" device. You get parts lists and plans, then it's up to you. "Refills" will cost only whatever the raw materials are going for on the open market.

KFG

Re:I wonder (3, Informative)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531464)

RTFA? It can run on chocolate or Play-Doh.

No problem (5, Funny)

jspoon (585173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532032)

Whenever you get close to running out of material, print another cartridge.

Re:No problem (2, Funny)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532124)

"Will, don't you see!?!? Chicken or the egg! CHICKEN OR THE EGG!!!"

while ($i==0){
    $i=0;
}

Ink more expensive than gold? (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531292)

Or can you just print your own gold?

Re:Ink more expensive than gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531552)

I'm hoping you can print your own desk-top fabing machine. Self replication FTW.

Re:Ink more expensive than gold? (1)

FirienFirien (857374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531934)

To print your own gold you would need a source of gold atoms, ie other gold. Putting it through a printer isn't going to increase its value :]

Re:Ink more expensive than gold? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531990)

Jewelry sells for more than raw gold.

The uses are endless (5, Insightful)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531322)

Building and using one of these seems like a fun and even practical hobby. Ever get frustrated at the plastic parts that break and render something useless? Now you can make replacements. Ever wonder what to get for the person who has everything? Well, I'm pretty sure you could make them a lot of neat personalized things with one of these that they'll be stumped as to where you could have found them.

This project obviously has a long way to go, but I think the comparison to early personal computers could be fair, given the huge realm of possibilities creating objects in 3D space opens.

Re:The uses are endless (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531356)

imagine being able to download plans to an RC truck and building it yourself...oooo.

Re:The uses are endless (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531482)

C'mon! Silicon, 3D... We all know what we are going to print first!

Re:The uses are endless (3, Funny)

uNople (734531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532066)

Breast implants?

Re:The uses are endless (2, Funny)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532170)

I'd make a present for my girlfriend, but I can't find a cheap 3D scanner...

Re:The uses are endless (3, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531884)

Imagine typing in page after page of DATA statements for it, copied out of the back of Fabricate! magazine. Ah, those were the days....

A real Stereo Microscope (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531344)

This would be really cool for lab guys. A 3-d silicon model is so much easier to look at than trying to visualize the 3-d from a 2-d image. How long 'til we see them using it on CSI? :)

mandelbr0t

Linking a 16 MB vid from the /. frontpage... (5, Funny)

PsyQo (1020321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531352)

I bet they are printing a new webserver right now.

Re:Linking a 16 MB vid from the /. frontpage... (1)

yali (209015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532086)

Maybe this youtube link [youtube.com] will survive a little better?

Print itself (1)

Vile Slime (638816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531364)

Why,

Can't this 3D printer just duplicate itself by printing a clone of itself. Surely the price could drop from $2,400?

Re:Print itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531420)

In fact that's the plan. Practically speaking, you'll never get these things to create their own copies, because they're printers not milling machines. They deal with plastic or plasticy stuff, not metal. And of course the electronics are pretty unlikely to replicate that way.

Re:Print itself (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531972)

At least with some designs I have seen, it would be a fairly simple operation to replace the plastic extruder head with a milling tool head. Also, there has been some work [reprap.org] done on incorporating conductors into the plastic to form a machine which can build circuits. Semiconductors, not so much. But connection circuits, even low-tolerance capacitors and inductors could be made.

Re:Print itself (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531576)

Can't this 3D printer just duplicate itself by printing a clone of itself.

Build one and try to print a stepper motor. You'll find out.

KFG

Re:Print itself (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532074)

The RepRap [reprap.org] folks have already started using their machines to print parts for their machines. Their aim is a Von Neumann universal constructor.

openengineering (1)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531388)

Neat to see open source applied to something outside of software. I've recently started a wiki for mechanical design, and I'm interested to see what collaboration on such a project is like. Anyone here done that before?

Re:openengineering (1)

bishop32x (691667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531710)

I've never heard of it being done before, but it sure sounds neat. Would it be too much to ask for a link to yours?

Re:openengineering (1)

Rac3r5 (804639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532166)

hey EaglemanBSA, what is the link to ur wiki for mechanical design. I would be really interested in openly engineered mechanical design.

So What's Next Then? (3, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531390)

Digital Rights Management for physical objects?

Re:So What's Next Then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531704)

Well, that's in the long term strategic plan for the corporatists. Our responsibility, for the future of humanity, is to get general purpose unrestricted replication in everyone's hands. If you think open source and free software has upset the elites, just wait for open physics...

Re:So What's Next Then? (1)

rapett0 (92674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532042)

Chastity belt? :(

Re:So What's Next Then? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532048)

The objects are generated from files. They'll DRM those. Unsuccessfully of course. Even if you can't get ToyCo's action figure file, you'll easily get the "analog loopholed" version. Analog loophole might not be the right term, but it's the same idea. If it gets really bad, they'll start trying to control the basic materials. We'll end up with a tax on the silicone goo, like the blank media tax. Then every innocent Joe who needs to calk windows will be paying $50/tube for the stuff.

Re:So What's Next Then? (3, Insightful)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532172)

Yeah well thats alot of what critics of DRM have been saying. If you make all these laws for music and drugs, when it comes time for nano forges to roll in, they will be used to enforce an artificial scarcity on everything. What could completely eliminate materialism would end up being for profit, like every other god damned invention.

Can it "print" a copy of itself? (0, Redundant)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531396)

Because _THAT_ would be cool...

By the way... how much do the consumables for this thing cost?

Re:Can it "print" a copy of itself? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531708)

how much do the consumables for this thing cost?

Well, that would depend a good deal on what you were feeding into it as a consumable, wouldn't it?

Corn Starch and water would be pretty cheap. Molten platinum a bit more.

This isn't a "product." There are no offical accessories and supplies. You build it yourself and then pour whatever you can into the hopper (well, syringe I guess) and see what you can do with it.

This is a real fabber for real fabbers. It's fun, but not a "toy."

KFG

My left foot. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531410)

"they hope it will spark development of rapid prototyping for the consumer market in the same way the Altair 8800 did for personal computing in seventies."

I see them being used this way. [archive.org]

So useful I could cry (3, Interesting)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531430)

I'm a robotics post grad student, and I often work on robotics hobby projects in my spare time (little of it that there is!). Something affordable like this would rock my world in so many ways. The biggest question I have is how accurate is a self-assembly kit in practice? If you're trying to build prototype mechanisms or moulds for metal with the parts, how tight are your tolerances going to be? That said, for me, if it came down to a new car or a desktop rapid prototyping machine, the rapid prototyping machine will win every single time.

Where's the porn angle? (3, Insightful)

MyOtherUIDis3digits (926429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531448)

If the manufacturer's want one of these on every desktop, figure out how it will provide titillation (porn) to Joe User (and me too).

Worked for the internet, dvd players, VCR's, cable and satellite TV, etc, etc.

1. (immaterial)
2. add porn
3. profit!

Re:Where's the porn angle? (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531638)

I am hesitant to post this... but think of the interaction that could occur if body parts were fabricated using this method.

Also, it would create a new type of cybersex...

Re:Where's the porn angle? (4, Funny)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531674)

Download and compile your own Realdoll?

Re:Where's the porn angle? (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531724)

I think you are better off investing the $2500 in hookers.
With that kind of money, even I could get laid.

Materials are the problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531496)

Almost any product uses a variety of materials. The trick to using one of these machines is to reduce the number of materials needed. It is a fairly daunting challenge. Suppose that you need a toothbrush. The plastic body is easy but what about the bristles? How about a simple cooking pot? Better make that of metal. Even the simplest products are a beyond the capability of machines like this one. On the other hand, the rewards of coming up with a "Santa Claus Machine" are immense.

If someone finds a way to make these machines practical, it will completely change the world's economy. Countries like India and China will lose their cheap labor advantage. We won't have to import our consumer goods anymore. The mind boggles.

Re:Materials are the problem (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531694)

If someone finds a way to make these machines practical, it will completely change the world's economy.

My tongue-in-cheek answer: Loaded dice. Fund the development of the machines by producing dice to cheat at craps.

Reality is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531784)

"The mind boggles."

The imagination always boggles reality.

Re:Materials are the problem (1)

scum-e-bag (211846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532194)

If someone finds a way to make these machines practical, it will completely change the world's economy.

The Star Trek replicator economy ensues!

We won't have to import our consumer goods anymore.

Raw materials will be valuable.

What's the precision on these things? (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531502)

If it's possible to use these to "print" inexpensive lego pieces (within 0.005mm precision, iirc) then I am *SO* sold....

We need something like this for transistors (5, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531536)

When I read fab I was so hoping it could print out a working circuitboard from a custom design. Don't get me wrong, this is cool too. But imagine if we could get a circuit one. Computing has already accepted open source for software, there's some effort of open source hardware designs going on. With the equivalent of this for circuits, we'd put the ability to make new electronics designs in the hands of thousands of hobbyists. Just look at all the cool stuff that hobbyists have made with software, imagine what we be invented if they had hardware as well!

Now that I think of it- the combination of that and this would be truely awesome. A talented hacker, or a small team, could design software, hardware, and test out of their own homes without expensive produciton costs. It'd be a huge breakthrough.

Re:We need something like this for transistors (1)

sanimalp (965638) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531702)

I think what you are looking for is an FPGA [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:We need something like this for transistors (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531742)

FPGAs are limited. First off, they're great for testing a circuit, but horrible for production- they cost far more than a custom asic. Secondly, they're digital. You can't make an op amp out of a FPGA. You can't make anything that acts like one. You can't deliver power to a port. Perhaps I should have been more general in the topic and said circuit rather than transistors. Imagine being able to lay out an entire circuit via a machine- power delivery, data bus, logic, etc. Thats more along my lines of thinking.

It exists. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531754)

In spring of 2004 I toured a UK university nanoscience/optics lab which was working on behalf of a major electronics manufacturer. They were, they said, printing transistors with a bubble/ink-jet type printer on to sheets of some material (they didn't specify what it was) for use in future displays. There was, we were told, no limit to the size of display they could print other than the carriage width.

The technology also allowed them to print extremely efficient light sources - 60% efficiency was the figure we were told, iirc. They were hoping it would replace normal lighting.

Re:We need something like this for transistors (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531924)

There are a couple of problems with such a printer:

A. Although you probably could get something to print circuit boards, you'd have one hell of a time printing capacitors, resistors, transistors etc.
B. As such, you'd have to solder every little piece in by hand.
C. As such, why couldn't you just use a preexisting solution (i.e. print up a schematic and use a UV light to burn it to a copper clad board)?

If hobbyists wanted to create open source electronic gizmos they could. However, whereas I can use ./configure && make && make install to create the most complicated open source software from scratch, any open source hobby kits will be limited by how complex fabrication a home user can really do (without getting bored)

Remember, there is no compiler for electronics.

Buck would be proud (3, Interesting)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531546)

Buckminster Fuller [ourpla.net] wanted to give every other person a lathe, and have the first thing each of them made to be another lathe - so, buy a 3D printer and make another one for a friend :)

Re:Buck would be proud (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531896)

. . .buy a 3D printer and make another one for a friend . . .

Ok, but you'll need a . . .lathe.

KFG

Not actually at Carnegie Mellon (2, Insightful)

linefeed0 (550967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531590)

The fabathome wiki indicates Hod Lipson is at Cornell, and CMU's directory has no record of either researcher (which would usually be present for a year or so after leaving the university).

And I was beginning to think this would be something that would make me *proud* of my alma mater for once...

Memo to freshman Democrats in Congress: Please please tie research funding to doing useful research, and running an institution well for its students (that means a clean, consistent financial aid system and reasonable tuition), not defense and homeland stupidity pork. Your constituents will thank you.

Amazing (5, Insightful)

saladpuncher (633633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531652)

Seems a little expensive. Could someone build one of these printers and then print the printer itself and mail it to me? I promise to duplicate it as well and give some to my friends. Seriously though, if I owned a manufacturing company of any any kind I would be scared of this thing. In 30 years you might witness the end of large scale production of small consumer goods. Throwing a party? Print up the plates and forks and chairs and tables you need. Need a gift? Print up some Barbie dolls. In 50 years the only thing that might actually be sold are the plans needed to fabricate something and the "ink" for this thing. If I was very cynical I would say this could end capitalism itself :)

Re:Amazing (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531726)

How recyclable are the materials that you "print"? Can they be readily broken down and reused in another object? It would be ideal if the facilities to do this were self-contained in the unit itself.

Re:Amazing (0, Troll)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531858)

>> If I was very stupid I would say this could end capitalism itself :)

fixed for accuracy

Re:Amazing (5, Funny)

MyHair (589485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531918)

If I was very cynical I would say this could end capitalism itself :)


Capitalism will end when I can print a blow job.

Re:Amazing (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531956)

Seems a little expensive.

So were VCRs when they first came out. My dad bought a top-loading Sony Betamax gig the size of a small fridge in 1980 that used a cable remote for about ~$2,500. Ditto for DVD players. Remember the first ones? $1,000 and up and big as a brick? Last year I bought a Samsung about two inches thick that does DTS and has an HDMI input at Costco for $60. So it goes.

I think this thing has incredible potential, and if enough people buy it it will eventually commoditize itself.

Actually... (1)

chaboud (231590) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532040)

This is the goal of the RepRap project [wikipedia.org] . The idea is that the tool will eventually be able to print all of its parts from raw materials.

It's a lofty goal, but a good one.

Honestly, I'm thinking about making a fabathome machine just for the tinkering. How many times have you wished that you just had something to mess with that was custom?

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17532116)

Nah. Capitalism would chug on, but there'd be something like what's happening in fashion now: there would be a massive emphasis on 'original' designs, from high-end designers to people working out of their spare bedrooms.

You wouldn't print out freeware Barbies, but you might just pick up a customized doll template from a favoured online artisan...

Re:Amazing (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532236)

All the obvious problems are in the way though, the worst of which is working with metal; I have trouble imagining the rebirth of the micro(pico?)forge(birth if you don't wanna count musket balls...). If you want to machine metal, everything gets bigger and harder to work with. From what I have seen, material quality and finish aren't all that great, or all that bad, but they are pretty much going up against injection molding, which is a very mature process. Stuff will get better, but if you look at how cheaply, say Lego, turns raw material into product, this stuff has to get *a lot* better.

Charlie Foxtrot for law enforcement (1)

Walter Wart (181556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531736)

The current models work with soft stuff. When they get better with metals and ceramics we can kiss any sort of gun control goodbye. Likewise proprietary parts and trademarked designs. Oh Brave New World that has no enforceable patents in it!

Re:Charlie Foxtrot for law enforcement (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532158)

When they get better with metals and ceramics we can kiss any sort of gun control goodbye.

You can just go to the home store and buy fabbed metals.

The only thing standing between you and a zip gun right now is a few tools, twenty bucks and a bit of knowledge. The knowledge is available on the web.

Effective gun control has always been as impossible as effective DRM. It's medieval technology for goodness sake. At heart a gun is nothing more than a tube, a pebble and something to make the pebble leave the tube really, really fast.

KFG

Great headline! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531746)

Reading that headline gave me a little tiny tingle. I hope before I die there is a true 3D printer (nano-constructor/replicator thingy, not a single material) headline on slashdot =)

Re:Great headline! (1)

MyHair (589485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532138)

I hope before I die there is a true 3D printer (nano-constructor/replicator thingy, not a single material) headline on slashdot =)


Slashdot headlines can already replicate themselves.

Rise of the Machines (0, Redundant)

Swimport (1034164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531752)

Can this thing print a copy of itself?

Tea, earl grey, hot! (5, Funny)

McGoon76 (707601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531844)

Nuf said...

Bootstrapping? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531854)

Can this thing assemble (a copy of) itself?

Also, back to the programming-languages famous problem — can it output its own design document(s) in some format?

Re:Boobstrapping? (2, Funny)

modecx (130548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532012)

I don't care what else it can do, as long as it can produce a nice pair of silicone tits.

I may be missing something... (2, Insightful)

gigne (990887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531872)

Surely this is just plans for a CNC goo dispensing machine? I modded a £120 manual milling machine to laser acetate, surely it's only 1 more step to attach a syringe and screw thread dispenser. Total cost £200. Seems a hell of a lot cheaper than $2500 (estimated, it's plans remember)

Re:I may be missing something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17532216)

"I may be missing something".

You think? From TFA, the commercial versions cost between $20K and $1.5M. They must have overlooked taping a tube of redi-caulk to a glorified drill press.

I don't need a 3-D printer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531890)

I need a printer that uses inexpensive ink, and where the ink cartridges only need to be changed once every one or two years.

Fixing things... (2, Interesting)

Qubit (100461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17531930)

I just tried to repair the handle on a steam cleaner (it had broken in half). I don't think I could buy a replacement handle for ANY price (it's an older-model, non-industrial machine), but I could just scan and re-fab one with this machine.

I'm also missing a foot for my laptop (it popped off at some point). Again, I could just print one in a couple of minutes...

Like most /.ers, I'm continually fixing things and trying to create new tools and bins and toys in my workshop -- with a 3D printer, we can just think something up, model it, then print.

Speaking of which, what's a good open-source CAD tool? I haven't found one yet, and I'd like to get familiar with one before these printers go mainstream.

Re:Fixing things... (1)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532160)

I have a similar problem with a radio.
The tuning capasitor(sp) works but the plastic know broke.
Even if it is not cheap it is better than throwing it away.
Though I wouldn't do that either.

As for CAD, I don't know.
I do know that if you want one before these are common then you have alot of time.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17531976)

I just registered "3Dbabes.org"... a repository chocked full of blueprints for anatomically correct hot women. It's probably the closest that most /.'ers will ever get...

Spare keys (1)

Stephan Seidt (803125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532028)

What will the "Print Screen" key print then?

Well, maybe not the cheapest... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17532200)

"It's probably the cheapest machine of this kind out there," he adds.

Well, it's not cheaper than the CarveWright [carvewright.com] , which is retailing as the Craftsman CompuCarve for about $1700. No soldering iron required, and it can be outfitted as a 3D scanner as well (for duplicating objects).

Suffice it to say, I want this market to become very, very crowded so I have lots of devices to choose from.
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