You may have heard about all of the new innovations from 3D printers, and now they are available to the general consumer. A 3D printer can build physical objects on a desktop printer by arranging layers of melted plastic into a specified model. Staples now offers the Cube 3D Printer for $1299.99 and Amazon launched a new 3D Printer department offering a range of 3D printers from $1,099. This is a big step towards growing from something only available in large CAD departments, to something you could have in your home, if you drop $1,000 plus.
But do you need a 3D printer? Are you a CAD designer? If not, there may not be much you can print. For the majority, you will have to find a pre-made plan that you can download and print.
MakerBot’s Thingiverse does offer an open-source library of free 3D models ready-to-print. You can find patterns for Fashion, like necklaces, Gadgets, like iPhone cases and more. Many digital designs are available to share.
Keep in mind, without the CAD software and knowledge, you will be limited to designs that others have created. The ease of use has been compared to picking up MS-Dos. Is this the new custom creator for every home? Not yet. There is a great potential as the machines become more main stream, easier to use, and more affordable for the average consumer.
Will you be getting a 3D Printer? Let us know!
Have you heard the buzz on 3D Printing? Maybe you read about the evolution of printing devices lately. More and more 3D printers are coming out on the market, and are ingenious for "printing", or manufacturing, a wide variety of products. With 3D printing you can mass produce custom or personalized products without incurring a significant price increase. We are talking about significantly lowering the cost and risk of manufacturing, transforming many sectors of the manufacturing industry.
Many more sectors are able to utilize 3D printing as we progress; new materials like stainless steel, glass, and in the last month, silver are added to the Shapeways line, an online marketplace offering personalized production via 3D printers spun out of of Royal Philips Electronics. Looking for more fun? FigurePrints, a Seattle company, makes 3D replicas of Xbox Live avatars and World of Warcraft characters. Larger manufacturers are also coming on board, including Clark’s, the British shoe brand, which this month began using Z Corp’s 3D printers for prototyping. More than 20% of the output from 3D printers is actually final products, according to Terry Wohlers, who runs a research firm specializing in the field, and this number is sure to grow substantially. 3D printing is also used for quite remarkable production, like medical implants that are more likely to stay put than conventional ones.
One day I am sure you will own something manufactured by a 3D printer, whether it is a custom made shoe, a replica of your avatar, or a femur implant.