Bleeding Edge

by Mike Masnick

If You Behave Yourself, I'll Print You A Toy

from the sign-me-up dept

The gadget geek in me finds the following story pretty compelling. 3D printers have been around for quite some time, but they've always been very expensive and, generally speaking, are limited to industrial design shops. Now, however, some manufacturers of the equipment are talking about ways to manufacture the printers more cheaply, so that the average consumer might be able to buy one. The big question, right now, is whether or not there's a real market for such a product. I must admit, beyond the initial "coolness" factor, I'm not quite sure what it would be useful for - but I'm sure people can come up with some pretty compelling uses. The article spends some time describing many of the different methods that these printers use to create products, which is quite interesting.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2003 @ 6:00am

    Hobbyist's dream

    It would become a hell of a lot easier to make spare or custom parts for plastic models, appliances, everything. The artistic possibilities are endless too -- plastic sculptures by the masses. Home-made cell phone casings. Perfect replicas of Rodin sculptures on every lawn. A new generation of pranksters -- make a perfect fit for the traffic signal light, so the signal shows purple, pink, and grey. Make perfect or parody replicas of popular toys. Make realistic police badges, license plates. A 3-D model of 9/11 for your kid's school science project, with melting people on the edges.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      nil-ram, 29 May 2003 @ 2:42pm

      Replacement parts

      A part broke on my weed whacker and currently, I can either drive across town and get a new part, or order one on the internet and wait a few days. With a 3D printer, I could license the data file and make myself one (though it'd probably take a few hours).

      Even better, the carafe on my coffee pot is also broken, but it's 15 years old and that style of carafe isn't even made anymore. Too expensive to stock the part -- but data's cheap, comparatively. Just insert the tempered glass cartridge into the 3D printer...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DL, 29 May 2003 @ 9:30am

    Von Neumann

    When will a printer be able to print a printer?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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