3D Printing News — Cube 3D vs. Makerbot, The Art of 3D Printing

Two new competing 3D printers that retail for under $2000. Also: using 3D printing to create sculpture.

1. Cube 3D Printer

  • Prints Objects up to 5.5 X 5.5 X 5.5 in. (140 x 140 x 140 mm)
  • EZ Load Print Cartridge
  • Durable, ABS Plastic in 10 Colors
  • 50 Free 3D Print Files
  • USB & Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • Starting at $1,299 (link)

2. Makerbot

“The Replicator starts at $1,799 for a model with a single extruder, and $1,999 for the dual-extruder attachment, which allows for two-color-printing (or Dualstrusion, according to MakerBot Industries).” (link)

3. The Art of 3D Printing

“Oxman, who trained as an architect, says buildings are designed today with an eye toward the components they can be made of—sheets of plywood, panes of glass, steel beams, and concrete columns. As a result, those designs are limited, in much the way Lego bricks constrain the shapes that children can build. Oxman is exploring ways to break with conventional design thinking by looking to patterns and processes found in nature, and using equations that define these processes to generate new designs. The results are often surprising shapes and structures that can be made only with 3-D printers.” (link)

3D PRINTING NEWS (12/30/11) — Additive Concrete Printing, Complex On Demand Components, Online 3D Printing Services

Upcoming developments in 3D printers are poised to:

1. Revolutionize the Construction Industry 

“Concrete Printing Process developed at Loughborough University in the UK is capable of producing building components with a degree of customisation that has not yet been seen. It could create a new era of architecture that is adapted to the environment and fully integrated with engineering function.” (link via Mark Lewis)

2. Enable the Efficient Creation of Previously Impossible Components

Pictured above: jet engine components printed by GE.

“The 3-D printing techniques won’t just make it more efficient to produce existing parts. They will also make it possible to produce things that weren’t even conceivable before—like parts with complex, scooped-out shapes that minimize weight without sacrificing strength…. The technology could also reduce the need to store parts in inventory, because it’s just as easy to print another part—or an improved version of it—10 years after the first one was made. An automobile manufacturer receiving reports of a failure in a seat belt mechanism could have a reconfigured version on its way to dealers within days.” (link)

3. Be Increasingly Accessible to Students and Desktop Users in 2012

Pictured above: an array of objects that companies like My Robot Nation, Stratasys, and Ponoko will help you to design and print.

“…starting this year, the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is planning to put 1000 production-quality 3-D printers in high schools across the United States… Even if you don’t have access to one of those machines, you can get a free download of Autodesk 123D, a 3-D computer-aided-design program still in public beta testing, which gives you push-button connections to online 3-D-printing services, of which there are now dozens, if not hundreds. So if you’re not already printing objects on a regular basis, there’s a good chance that in 2012 you will be.” (link)

3D PRINTING NEWS (12/12/11) – World’s Smallest 3D Printer, Bone Printing, Copy of a Stradivarius Violin

New breakthroughs in 3D printing continue to close the gap between physical products and information products:

1. The World’s Smallest 3D Printer

“A research team at the Vienna University of Technology says it’s built a small, low-cost 3D printer that could soon make it into people’s homes. Unlike existing 3D printers, the Vienna prototype is no larger than a carton of milk. It weighs just 1.5 kilograms, and can be manufactured for only 1200 Euros. The team says the printer’s resolution is excellent… This means it can be used for applications which require extraordinary precision.” (link) 

2. Bone Printing

“It looks like bone. It feels like bone. For the most part, it acts like bone. And it came off an inkjet printer. Washington State University researchers have used a 3D printer to create a bone-like material and structure that can be used in orthopedic procedures, dental work and to deliver medicine for treating osteoporosis. Paired with actual bone, it acts as a scaffold for new bone to grow on and ultimately dissolves with no apparent ill effects.” (link)

3. Copied Stradivarius Violin

“A Stradivarius violin has been “recreated” using an X-ray scanner normally used to detect cancers and injuries, according to researchers. The US-based group used a computerised axial tomography (CAT) scanner on the 307-year-old instrument to reveal its secrets. They then used the data recovered to build “nearly exact copies”. The team said the technique could be used to give musicians access to rare musical equipment.” (link)