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3D Printing Revolution: the Complex Reality
Make ^ | February 14, 2013 | Michal Zalewski

Posted on 02/21/2013 8:45:17 PM PST by JerseyanExile

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This miniature, high-precision assembly started with a CAD model and not much more. It cost about $10 to make it at home – with no 3D printer required.

In the past couple of years, the concept of low-cost 3D printing has captured the hearts and minds of millions of geeks. The allure of an upcoming manufacturing revolution has seeped into the mainstream, too: take The Economist, which ran about two dozen articles about this technology within the last year alone. Something must be in the air!

The charm of 3D printing is easy to understand, especially as it coincides with the renaissance of the DIY movement on the Internet. But all this positive buzz also has an interesting downside: it makes it easy to overlook that the most significant barriers to home manufacturing run very deep, and probably won’t be affected just by the arrival of a new generation of tools.

After all, affordable and hobbyist-friendly manufacturing tools that convert polygons into physical objects have been available for more than a decade. Take desktop CNC mills, for example: home- or office-friendly and costing about as much as a 3D printer, they have revolutionized the lives of many jewelers and dentists; they have shaken up quite a few other niche industries, too. But spare for a small community of hobbyists, these self-contained and tidy mills have not brought on-demand manufacturing into our garages or living rooms.

CNC mills and 3D printers are different in many ways, but they also have a lot in common; and looking at the parallels, it’s reasonable to suspect that the prospects of home manufacturing may have relatively little to do with the choice of a particular tool.

(Excerpt) Read more at blog.makezine.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 3dprinting; cncmachine

1 posted on 02/21/2013 8:45:21 PM PST by JerseyanExile
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To: JerseyanExile

Would there be enough available printing media to economical reproduce, say, a first-lady’s caboose? Stunt men could use it to fall on out of buildings


2 posted on 02/21/2013 8:53:31 PM PST by Insigne123 (If you can't do, teach; if you can't teach, teach gym)
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To: JerseyanExile

Would there be enough available printing media to economically reproduce, say, a first-lady’s caboose? Stunt men could use it to fall on out of buildings


3 posted on 02/21/2013 8:55:36 PM PST by Insigne123 (If you can't do, teach; if you can't teach, teach gym)
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To: Insigne123
Printing media ranges from precious metals to mashed potatoes.

Those fancy cakes in the grocery store? 3-D printer for the decoration, in a lot of cases.

/johnny

4 posted on 02/21/2013 8:57:16 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JerseyanExile
As it happens, I am in the midst of having prototypes 3D printed for an invention I hope to market. The value of even the rudimentary ABS ten year old printer has proven itself, allowing me to handle my concept and make minor alterations that will now go to a 3D printer using elastomers to make my prototypes very close to the final product.

Even at 67, the new project and new technology fascinates. I will be availing of it for a second invention as soon as I have the final protos in developers' hands. As to printing at home? ... The Objet Connex is well over $100,000, and that is perhaps state of the art yet not accessible for typical middle class homes.

5 posted on 02/21/2013 8:59:00 PM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: JerseyanExile; AFPhys; AD from SpringBay; ADemocratNoMore; aimhigh; AnalogReigns; archy; ...

3-D Printer ping!


6 posted on 02/21/2013 9:01:05 PM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable tyranny.)
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To: All

BTW, 3D printing with biological materials is already a reality. Can you imagine? LOL


7 posted on 02/21/2013 9:01:18 PM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: MHGinTN
Can you imagine?

Dude, I'm waiting on it. I'm missing a kidney and a spleen. Growing my own from my adult stem cells would be something I would seriously consider paying cash money for.

I never thought I'd miss my spleen. We never talked. We were close, but not close... I would like it back. Or replaced. ;)

/johnny

8 posted on 02/21/2013 9:06:32 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Thurston
Why they call these little injection layering machine tools “printers” is beyond me.

Because from a CAD user's perspective (that would be me) that's how they work.

A CNC machine takes a billet of material and cuts away anything that doesn't look like my part. What's left is my part.

A 3D printer hooks up to my computer the same way a 2D printer does, and lays down material on an otherwise blank space until my part is built. It looks like a printer, and acts like a printer, and associates with printers.

Quack.

10 posted on 02/21/2013 9:16:30 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Thurston
'Printers' is shorter than 'little injection layering machine tools'.

They aren't printers. But they will need a short name. Printers works for a word place holder.

Welcome to FR, BTW. I don't think I've ever interacted with you before.

/johnny

11 posted on 02/21/2013 9:17:28 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JerseyanExile

“they have revolutionized the lives of many jewelers and dentists”

I got a Cerac restoration, instead of a crown, for a molar that cracked off. The process was amazing and only took an hour.


12 posted on 02/21/2013 9:18:13 PM PST by Selene
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To: ArrogantBustard
Gotta be a better name out there.

I'm not in a rush, though. I'll know what you are talking about if you talk about a mashed potato printer. Or a concrete printer (those are pretty cool).

Fabber, or something like that. Ruin a verb (fabricate) to make a noun... It's the way, in English.

/johnny

13 posted on 02/21/2013 9:22:18 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Insigne123

I read one article on it where they had a hangar sized one in development for plane fuselages. But I believe the answer to your question is still no.


14 posted on 02/21/2013 9:27:05 PM PST by ScottinSacto
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To: JRandomFreeper
Gotta be a better name out there.

Maybe, but I can't think of one.

Nor am I inclined to spend much time on it. I'm too busy drawing (am I realy "drawing"?) stuff in SolidWorks and ... "printing" ... it.

Sometimes we call it "The Magic Plastic Machine".

15 posted on 02/21/2013 9:33:17 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: JRandomFreeper
Gotta be a better name out there.

Maybe, but I can't think of one.

Nor am I inclined to spend much time on it. I'm too busy drawing (am I realy "drawing"?) stuff in SolidWorks and ... "printing" ... it.

Sometimes we call it "The Magic Plastic Machine".

16 posted on 02/21/2013 9:33:26 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ScottinSacto

That one is neat ... near as I can tell, it’s a welding machine ... just lays down layers of weld. Molten metal. Not terribly accurate, still some machining to do after the part is built. Printed. Whatever. It’s supposed to be faster than starting off with a forging or casting.


17 posted on 02/21/2013 9:36:19 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: JerseyanExile

I ordered a 3D Printer last Monday.
I’m already good at drawing in 3D, it only took me 12 minutes to draw up my first part, a potato chip clamp. But I have to wait 6 weeks for delivery.


18 posted on 02/21/2013 9:51:18 PM PST by Haddit
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To: JerseyanExile

I agree with this article, but there is one angle that is important that they don’t mention. Cheap 3d printers, and cheap milling machines, bring manufacturing to a home level that previously was not available. Which means it is ok for kids to learn on these tools. Even encountering the limitations of the materials and machines helps kids learn how to make things better. By the time they are out of school, many of them will be as highly skilled as someone who has been in the industry many years.


19 posted on 02/21/2013 9:54:34 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: ArrogantBustard
Changes and developments are happening very rapidly. There was a thread about a company called Metalysis. There electrolysis process for titanium is economical and leaves titanium powder as the product. We are living in both exciting and interesting times.
20 posted on 02/21/2013 9:59:34 PM PST by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)
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To: JerseyanExile
Here is a "printer" that completely ignores/exploits the "weaknesses" of the medium.

3Doodler

21 posted on 02/21/2013 10:03:25 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: PA Engineer

There = Their (ugh)


22 posted on 02/21/2013 10:06:37 PM PST by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Having spent untol hours ‘drawing’, I would have to say this new system is no longer drawing, it’s ‘virtualizing’. When you take the X and Y axes and add the Z, that’s vitualizing ... IMHO.


23 posted on 02/21/2013 10:22:43 PM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Having spent untold hours ‘drawing’, I would have to say this new system is no longer drawing, it’s ‘virtualizing’. When you take the X and Y axes and add the Z, that’s vitualizing ... IMHO.


24 posted on 02/21/2013 10:23:11 PM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: MHGinTN
SolidWorks (and its competitors) certainly do entail a different mentality from physically drawing on vellum, or virtually drawing in AutoCAD.

SolidWorks is more like running a virtual machine shop. It's a process of building up and then cutting away, until my part is sitting in in virtual space.

You're right; it's an entirely different way of designing.

I'm a huge fan of it.

25 posted on 02/21/2013 10:31:19 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard
(am I realy "drawing")

I can't "draw" anything except stick figures. With CAD...anything is possible to me.

And to think...I beta tested AutoCad R13 when it was released with solid modeling and now my skills have languished over the years to the point that I would have to relearn just to keep up with the latest version.

Family before self has a price.

26 posted on 02/21/2013 10:47:19 PM PST by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: ArrogantBustard

In prior years I designed and built a few houses (living in the last one I built). I had a CAD program and learned to use it well. But 3D virtual design is a whole nother animal. I like it because it fits the mental imagery process I already used in designing & building houses.

I have one more house I’ve designed (I always draw up vellums with pencil and rule before starting a building project), but it isn’t likely I’ll ever build it. Maybe I’ll build it with a 3D printer at drawing scale! I had incorporated neat stuff that I learned I would like to have in a home, like the master bedroom closet has a doorway to the laundry room. Oh well, we can’t have everything we dream of ...


27 posted on 02/21/2013 10:59:32 PM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: JerseyanExile

I question the liability aspect of this. If you replicate a product and it fails causing injury... who is liable? The maker of the replicator or the original manufacturer? Courtroom nightmares ahead...


28 posted on 02/21/2013 11:10:10 PM PST by autumnraine (America how long will you be so deaf and dumb to the tumbril wheels carrying you to the guillotine?)
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To: JerseyanExile
The article makes some good points, however I always have a problem when someone starts preaching that only the “experts” are capable of accomplishing certain tasks. Many times it is the non-experts who are the ones who come up with revolutionary new processes... or figure out new ways to use older technologies.

I do know understand the point he is trying to make however about people not understanding the limitations of the 3D printing process. I do remember the excitement I felt when a friend of mine first showed me products he was able to produce on a $60,000 machine he purchased several years ago. I thought it was absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, he misjudged the market and lost his shirt, he had to sell nearly everything he owned and eventually declared bankruptcy.

I come from a manufacturing background. For many years I ran a small lumber re-manufacturing business. We made mostly siding, paneling, flooring, and other specialty products. As an example of how the wood re-manufacturing business worked we could run our customer's wood through certain machines at 120 feet per minute and get paid approximately 2 cents per lineal foot. That comes out to $2.40 per minute or $144 per hour while the machine is running.

It sounds pretty good, but there is a lot more downtime than anyone ever figures. The machine is frequently idled while product is moved to and from it, and there are frequent break downs and constant maintenance and sharpening or changing of blades that must be performed. My point is that you hardly ever make even half how one might think that it should pencil out. With a newer technology people tend to overestimate how much they will be able to produce to an even greater extent. This kind of unrealistic expectation is what caused my friend to fail at his new business.

He already had a business that he was making a decent living at, but when he tried to expand into this new area, he was unable to make it work the way he thought. I think he actually was swindled by the people who sold him the machinery. He was dazzled by the products that could be produced. Unfortunately, even if he could have successfully marketed the output, the amount of production necessary to make a profit was far beyond his capabilities.

29 posted on 02/21/2013 11:38:02 PM PST by fireman15 (Check your facts before making ignorant statements.)
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To: null and void

what the heck is it?


30 posted on 02/22/2013 12:25:33 AM PST by cherry
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To: cherry

It’s a little room at the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that’s not important now.


31 posted on 02/22/2013 12:50:56 AM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable tyranny.)
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To: JerseyanExile; All

http://www.robotshop.com/ProductInfo.aspx?pc=RB-Tds-01

$1300


32 posted on 02/22/2013 3:36:28 AM PST by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: ArrogantBustard
"A 3D printer hooks up to my computer the same way a 2D printer does, and lays down material on an otherwise blank space until my part is built. It looks like a printer, and acts like a printer, and associates with printers."

So do small CNC mills. See the Roland line of MDX machines. My firm bought a Roland MDX-40 some years back for ~$10K, and it has paid for itself over and over and is still in use. Right now, I'm drooling over their MDX-50, designed for the dental market. FIVE-AXIS, sits on the table like a printer.......$30K. Just about perfect for the scale and volume of parts my company produces.

Also of interest is the QU-BD "open source" printer. Does both "additive" (thermal plastic deposition) AND "subtractive" (CNC milling) ON THE SAME MACHINE......fully assemble......$1700......"put it together yourself".....even less.

33 posted on 02/22/2013 4:49:01 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: ArrogantBustard
"SolidWorks (and its competitors) certainly do entail a different mentality from physically drawing on vellum, or virtually drawing in AutoCAD."

Man, that is a profound comment. I learned mechanical drafting in the "t-square and triangles" era, and have been doing 2D designs for almost forty years now. I've been using 2D CAD for about 15 years (couldn't afford Autocad), and am working to make the shift to the solid model route....but I've been doing 2D for SO LONG that I am finding it a hard slog. I use Turbocad Pro and have been for a long time. Solidworks it is not....but then it only costs about 1/4 as much (less if you buy when they are coming out with an upgrade).

36 posted on 02/22/2013 4:58:05 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: Wonder Warthog

I have Autocad, an old version, but I went thru these tutorial videos and Sketchup looks impressive for ease of learning.
http://www.sketchup.com/intl/en/training/videos.html


37 posted on 02/22/2013 5:21:19 AM PST by Haddit
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To: ArrogantBustard
"It’s supposed to be faster than starting off with a forging or casting."

Also uses a LOT less raw material and generates a lot less waste.

Think about it, in standard machining, you start off with this big chunk (of sometimes very expensive) material, and then THROW MOST OF IT IN THE TRASH. When you're talking Hastelly C or titanium, that can become a HUGE factor.

38 posted on 02/22/2013 5:50:55 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: Smokeyblue

Ping


39 posted on 02/22/2013 10:55:06 AM PST by Smokeyblue
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To: JerseyanExile
But all this positive buzz also has an interesting downside: it makes it easy to overlook that the most significant barriers to home manufacturing run very deep, and probably won’t be affected just by the arrival of a new generation of tools.

Saw a blurb on uncrate yesterday for an inexpensive 3D printer pen. I works just like a 3D printer except you draw the object of your desire freehand, laying down a layer at a time. The promoters seem to think it'll revolutionize 3D printing. But I kind of doubt it. If most people are like me, they can't draw worth a hoot in 2-space, much less 3-space.

40 posted on 02/22/2013 11:44:03 AM PST by LibWhacker
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