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Old 02-08-2013, 08:55 AM   #1
shilala
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Default I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

The kid had an open house at a school he wants to go to.
3D printing is kind of a cousin to what I do with my cnc machine in some respects, so I've read up on them a little but have never seen one, let alone watch it do it's thing.

Last night I got to watch this one run, and it was just plain cool. If you have a minute to read up, it's worthwhile.
It basically works the same as an inkjet printer, but has 3 axes. It builds a layer at a time via a printhead that squirts out melted plastic. It's crazy slow, but so are CNC machines. It can do complex models easier than a CNC because it builds the model from ground up rather than removing material. CNC has limitations this thing doesn't.

The plastic string for this machine comes spooled in cartridges. Some models use pellets or powder. This particular machine has all sorts of different colored cartridges, so it's extra cool. The resolution isn't fantastic, but it's down to about .25mm, I'd guess. Good enough to model just about anything bigger than small screws or watch parts.

Anyways, here's a pic. Maybe there's a video back at the website I linked.

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Old 02-08-2013, 09:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

My friend owns an orthotic company and actually designs his own braces, headgear, etc. He got the first plaster based 3D printer in the USA last year. It's amazing what it does. He can actually do an image with moving parts! It's great for prototyping.

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Old 02-08-2013, 09:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

You can actually get kits to make them yourself for a few hundred bucks online, even those smaller ones are very very cool, or pay 1200 or so for a complete machine.

http://cubify.com/cube/index.aspx?gc...FSHZQgodRicAcA
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

And, as we learned on The Big Bang Theory last week, you can use them to make action figures of yourself.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

They are pretty cool right

My buddies dad is an IT/engineer guru and made his own 3D printer...it's pretty freaking cool watching one in action.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

Definitely awesome! Some can do moving parts like Scott mentioned, but I watched special on Discovery where these machines made wrenches and other tools that were strong enough to tighten lug nuts without breaking.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Poet View Post
And, as we learned on The Big Bang Theory last week, you can use them to make action figures of yourself.

That was a funny episode!
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

Cool
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

Very cool, Scott.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

3D printing will eventually replace most current forms of CNC, its just a matter of time and technology. Eventually, full engine heads and components will be 3D printable using molten steel to super tight tolerances. Id say 10-15 years at the rate things are going. Even at today's level, what can be done with a 3D printer (even at home) is simply amazing.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:27 PM   #11
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

Scott, I agree with you completely, but I'd bet ya that they'll have machines capable of mind-blowing processes in just a few years, working with a vast array of materials. Especially considering how fast tech moves ahead nowadays, and the endless opportunities for plugging these machines into so many areas of manufacturing.

They'll easily displace cnc in many arenas, but in mass production environments it'd be really hard to beat CNC. For specialty shops that do a lot of one-offing, high-quality 3d printing would save a huge amount of time and bring costs way down. Think car parts and other fabrication-type outfits. The uses are endless. It truly boggles.

I'm fascinated by it. I'll definitely be watching as this moves ahead.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:33 PM   #12
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

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Originally Posted by shilala View Post
Scott, I agree with you completely, but I'd bet ya that they'll have machines capable of mind-blowing processes in just a few years, working with a vast array of materials. Especially considering how fast tech moves ahead nowadays, and the endless opportunities for plugging these machines into so many areas of manufacturing.

They'll easily displace cnc in many arenas, but in mass production environments it'd be really hard to beat CNC. For specialty shops that do a lot of one-offing, high-quality 3d printing would save a huge amount of time and bring costs way down. Think car parts and other fabrication-type outfits. The uses are endless. It truly boggles.

I'm fascinated by it. I'll definitely be watching as this moves ahead.
I will as well, I used to do CNC programming and operation years ago. I almost set up my own micro CNC shop at home, and I am still considering one - but at this point it may be better to invest in 3D printing and learn ahead of the curve.

I agree, there are some areas where 3D printing cannot replace CNC due to nuances of the material being machined (e.g. heat treated steel, tungsten, nuclear metals, etc) or the complexity of the machining operation. It will definitely be an interesting next decade. Hopefully the end result is more on-shoring of manufacturing operations due to 3D printing technology.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

Here's a cool story about a 17yr old using a 3D printer to create a Brain-Powered Prosthetic Arm. I remember 17 being different...

"When he was 14, Easton LaChappelle built a robotic hand because he thought it would be cool. He made the hand out of Lego bricks, fishing wire, surgical tubing for fingers, and five independently-controlled servos. "

http://blog.makezine.com/2013/02/08/...rosthetic-arm/
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

I ran into 3d printing about 10 years ago while doing some web and marketing work for an HVAC parts manufacturer but it was called stereolithography then. I was definitely impressed but it was wicked pricey back then, it's come a long way.

There's plans out there for making your own if you're adventurous (Scooottt) or http://www.makerbot.com/ for the slightly less adventurous.

My favorite application so far http://defensedistributed.com/

I think in 5 years the tech will be consumer level affordable if we still have a decent economy
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:26 AM   #15
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

Not a chance, Jason.
I have a CNC in the shop that I play with most every day. Printing in plastic would be useless to me, but just because of what I do. A woodworker kinda needs wood to make stuff out of wood, ya know?
There's all kinds of plans out there for making your own cnc, too. I chose to buy one and save the headaches. It's been an excellent choice.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

Does anyone remember the movie Starship Troopers? how far away are we from machines repairing limbs good as new?Kinda the same lines?
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:43 PM   #17
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

Wow... Things have really moved ahead. I remember using the 3D Printer back in highschool... took 3 or 4 days to print anything and 2-3 days for it to be ready for handling. Basically a week long affair.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:49 PM   #18
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

I really hadn't heard of this before, wow, just wow.This actually scares me a little bit. This could potentially end whole industries. or at least a lot of labor trades.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:59 PM   #19
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

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Originally Posted by hazydat620 View Post
Does anyone remember the movie Starship Troopers? how far away are we from machines repairing limbs good as new?Kinda the same lines?
It's being pursued. A lot of work already in progress on replication on organs and other tissues on degradable scaffolding now.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: I Got To See A 3D Printer Last Night...

I found that they already do make a 3d printer for wood, it's a spoogy plastic/mdf mix.
They're even developing a 3d printhead for my cnc machine. It'll work with plastic, mainly to repair mistakes in substrate that will save a fortune for fixing goofs. Up till now, if you make a bad cut or have a crash, a $300 piece of material goes in the garbage.

I enjoyed the Burritobot. Yes, a 3d burrito printer.
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