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Printer Technology

3D Printing For Everyone 183

mmacx writes "Technology Review has up an article about Shapeways, a new online rapid-prototyping service that allows users to upload digital designs which are then printed on 3-D printers and shipped back. A spinoff from Philips Research, the service gives small businesses, designers, artists, and hobbyists access to prototyping tools that were once available only to the largest corporations. The fee for a typical printed object is $50-$150. Their video shows the steps behind the process." We've been talking about 3D printing for years.
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3D Printing For Everyone

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  • direct link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Speare ( 84249 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:33AM (#24433439) Homepage Journal

    I would have complained about a direct link ( [] in the summary, but the site is a bit rude to looky-loos like us who just want to see what's going on. Almost all their front page links are blocked until you log in, even the "getting started" page! The "about" page is about all you can see, and it's got no real details. What is the printing resolution? What material choices? Can you print two-material designs? Come on, Shapeways, if you want to generate buzz, put out a bit more welcome mat.

  • Very nice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:46AM (#24433683) Journal

    But it still suffers from the age old problem of control by those who own the press. Let's get the printers in the hands of everyone to insure that control goes where it belongs. Then we can make our own DRM free hardware for instance.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:55AM (#24433825)

    DUDE! 50x50cm is the max size (source []).

    If you get sqrt(2*50)cm (about 28in) into any orifice of yours, I'd go for a career in the porn industry. I'm pretty sure there's a market for that (hell, there's people who get off on anything, so I'm almost sure!).

  • The Techshop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by btarval ( 874919 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:56AM (#24433855)
    While this is a really cool service, nothing can beat hands on. My preference is The Techshop [].

    The site seems slashdotted already. Google's cache should have a copy of their 3D printer, laser etcher, and other services for building (nearly) anything that you can imagine.

    This is the most innovative thing to hit Silicon Valley in years. It really should've been covered by Slashdot long ago.

    The advantage the Techshop has over mail-in is that you can get advice on how to create your prototype. The costs for a 3D print job can vary greatly depending on how you do it. Just the orientation alone can either save you or cost you quite a bit. So that's why I prefer "hands on". Now, if I really knew what I was doing, or I didn't have a TechShop nearby, then I'd probably do a mail-order service.

    As far as apps goes, you can pull down one of the Google apps (whose name I've forgotten at the moment) and use that.

    Oh - and the guy who founded the TechShop used to work with Mythbusters in creating their gadgets. I hear they even showed up on opening day.

    I have no connecting with the Techshop other than has a happy and frequent customer.

  • Everyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes&xmsnet,nl> on Friday August 01, 2008 @10:57AM (#24433875)

    I can see one stumbling block for 3D printing becoming more popular: the software you need to create a 3D model is generally expensive and difficult to use.
    Google Sketchup is a potential answer here, but the last time I checked, the 3D printing house I wanted to use didn't accept Sketchup files (and/or the free version of Sketchup doesn't allow export to any generic 3D format).

  • by Libertarian001 ( 453712 ) on Friday August 01, 2008 @11:38AM (#24434551)
    I'm a garage-kit maker -- 1/285 Macross and 1/2500 Star Trek, available at []. All of my models are done in CAD first, then rapid prototyped. I spent several months looking for an affordable way to get my parts printed out in the quality that I needed and I'm always on the lookout for being able to just buy my own machine. So when this PAID ADVERTISEMENT masquerading as an article came along I was pretty interested. RTFA and you'll see: "The 3-D printers that Shapeways is using are commercially available, made by Israeli firm Objet and Stratsys in Eden Prairie, MN." That means they're nothing more than a print bureau. Big farking whoop. Last night I saw a nice, big Objet add on the front page and now I know why. Incidentally, I'm already having my stuff printed on Objets. The quality is top-notch. I'm just irritated (no coffee this morning) because this is a non-article.
  • Well, non-adult, but similar... Printcrime []...

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