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3D Printer for $3000
Posted: 16 November 2012 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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JoeMamma2000 - 16 November 2012 05:41 PM

I’d really be interested in hearing of an actual example where this technology would make a real difference. Just ONE product that would be indicative of this “global change”. And by example I mean one that has been really evaluated for costs and practicality.

Medical, skin and cartilage specifically. Not far off now, and 3d printing other biological “parts” not that far behind. Advantage, persons own tissue can be used to create compatible replacement medium.

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Posted: 16 November 2012 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Many people with severe damage to their skulls have been 3d scanned and replacement sections of their skulls built in cad, then 3d printed or cnc machined.

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Posted: 16 November 2012 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I saw where the 3d printing technology was used in experimenting in making concrete buildings, layer by layer…..I think it was in a Popular Science magazine ??

Edit: Here’s the article…
http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-08/researcher-aims-print-3-d-print-entire-houses-out-concrete-20-hours

I do see how it could be very useful in making parts that would be impossible to mold or cut in todays conventional ways, however, there is also a casting technique called lost foam casting that is used to make very complex engine parts for outboard motors.

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Posted: 17 November 2012 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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I fear this is one of those ideas that sounds really cool until you figure out the “devil in the details”, at which point you realize that there are better, cheaper, and faster methods already existing. It’s just that they don’t sound as cool and awesome, and aren’t as fun to think about.

Building a house with a 3D printer? Wow, sounds really awesome. Practical and cost effective? Not even close. But when people don’t realize and/or understand what is already in existence, they assume anything new and awesome must be much better.

This might be good for some VERY small niche markets, but in terms of changing the world I really doubt it.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 01:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Solidoodle has a 3D printer (not a kit) for $500.  Their “top end” version is only $800.  Cost of material is less than $2 per cubic inch.

Layer thickness can be less than .2 mm.  Build volume is approx 8” cube.

The 3D house building machine is just a proof of concept.  The planned use is for building structures in hostile environments:  send some robotic 3D printers to the moon, they use lunar soil mixed with a binder to create the shells for the base.  Once complete, the astronauts can arrive and complete the interior.  Same concept may be possible with undersea structures or in nasty areas here on Earth, such as a desert where there is lots of sand but no wood, steel, etc.

Printing human parts is a definite advancement.

Also, my wife has been pestering me to fix that plastic thingy that broke off the fridge door a few years ago.  With a 3D printer, I could make a replacement part for about 80 cents.  To order it from the manufacturer will cost around $2.00 and $20 shipping and take 6 - 8 weeks to arrive.  Now, I am not going to spend $500 to build a $2.00 part, but I probably could get a friend to make it, and pay him a beer for his trouble.  Nah, I am still to lazy to fix it anyway.

However, these 3D printers are going to be crazy popular.  They may even bring manufacturing jobs back to America, since you will still need people to run them and repair them.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 02:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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KorvisBlack - 22 December 2012 01:08 AM

However, these 3D printers are going to be crazy popular.  They may even bring manufacturing jobs back to America, since you will still need people to run them and repair them.

Okay, but again, I think that the devil is in the details, and if you actually think about it, and put numbers to it, you’ll realize it’s probably not the world-changer that you might think.

Let’s take your refrigerator part….

Now, let’s say you buy a printer yourself and have it standing ready to make little parts. Which, by the way, have to be of the right size and materials that are handled by your printer. Which is probably quite limited. So that’s $500 plus S&H. Plus you have to maintain a computer to hook it up. Okay, so you have your system running and ready to go.

Oh, wait, you need to buy a supply of the right plasti-goop material to reproduce your refrigerator spare part. Just any old plastic material may not be right. It might have to have a certain strength, or tolerance to cold, or whatever. And if you don’t use the right material, it will fall apart after the first time you open the door. So you order the plasti-goop and it costs $2.00 and $20.00 shipping and handling and takes 6-8 weeks.

Hmmm….

Oh, and then you have to design the part so you can tell the printer what to print. So you spend some of your own free time on some sort of CAD program so you can draw it out. Maybe it comes with the software, maybe you have to buy the software. I dunno.

So then you design the part, pour in the plasti-goop, and out comes your refrigerator part. Total cost: $500 for printer, time spent setting it up, $22 for plasti-goop plus time waiting to get it in the mail (6-8 weeks), maybe additional cost for software, and time you spent in the CAD program designing the part.

Hmmm….not sure I see the benefit.

Now, maybe you’re lucky and there’s a guy down the street with a 3D printer just waiting for people like you who need widgets made for their refrigerator. So he has to keep a stock of different types of plasti-goop for different customers’ needs. And of course he will also charge you to design the widget in his CAD program. Unless you’re lucky and happen to have a compatible CAD program lying around for his version of 3D printer. And let’s say he’s generous and only charges you minimum wage at about $10 per hour. Well, probably not because he also has to re-coup his costs (3D printer he took out a loan for, stock of a variety of plasti-goop, charge for computer use, etc.)

So suddenly that $2.00 cost plus shipping and handling is starting to look FAR better.

Lesson #1 in economics: custom made stuff is generally more expensive than mass produced stuff. When the refrigerator maker manufactured the refrigerator, they used mass produced parts, and ordered a zillion more for spare parts. That’s why they’re cheap. Making them from scratch, custom made, is probably gonna be more expensive.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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I agree with you Joe about the pie in the sky posts, but the real way it will change the world is in design. The little guy with an idea for an invention or maybe just somebody designing a toy can really benefit form this technology. The value is in producing proof of concept models for showing to clients or investors, or in models that can maybe have casts made of them from which dies and molds could be made cheaply.


I used to work for a company that made scissors in the early ‘90s to early ‘00s. At first blush, not exactly high tech, but looks can be deceiving. Let’s say you want a make a scissor for the left handers out there. I’m not sure what went into the early test production phases as far as mock-ups and how they were produced, but I can tell you from the manufacturing end of it, they would send us a two cavity book style mold (or die if you prefer), we would run a series of sample runs, the engineers would take some and look for engineering issues, marketing would take some and use test groups and send samples to trade shows, etc. Then inevitably the molds would be shipped out to be modified or even re-cut (a six week process). I know for a fact that just the cost to cut the final molds alone could be in the $10,000 to $30,000 range each depending on the complexity of the part. We usually had multiple production molds per part, sometimes as many as eight individual molds.


Since not all products are successful, it seems to me that if you could use a 3D printer to generate some samples and concept pieces to test or take to trade shows, you could save the $10,000 to $30,000 by not cutting a prototype mold for a product that there is no interest in. You’d obviously still need to prototype mold before production began, but you wouldn’t waste the money on a maybe.


Now imagine you’re a little guy and not a deep pocketed multi-national. The cost saving alone would be incredible.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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I used to be a DBA for a metal-casting foundry that used the “wax investment” process for making parts. To produce a sample for a customer was extremely expensive since aluminum moulds had to be cut. Then they bought a 3D printer and our design guy was able to model in SolidWorks and print the wax sample. It saved tons of money for the company. I completely concur with evilproducer about the cost saving (plus it was just insanely cool to watch it work…mesmerizing even).

I hadn’t heard about skull fragment replacements being built—that is very cool. I am sure we’ll see greater use of the tech as is it expanded in the future.

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- Garstor
Australian-Canadian currently trapped in Texas (maintaining sanity with doses of Carrara, LightWave and PhotoShop)

My 3D art Flickr page for final or near-final images
My 3D art Flickr page for work-in-progress or experiments

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Posted: 22 December 2012 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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JoeMamma2000 - 22 December 2012 02:38 AM

Hmmm….not sure I see the benefit.

That’s OK. Lots of people didn’t see the benefit of the “horseless carriage”, airplanes, computers, CDs, DVDs, MP3 Players, etc.

Many of the “problems” you describe do not exist.  Design software is free, mesh correcting software is free, materials are cheap, and strange as this may sound, some people like making things.  Loads of people buy bench saws, and other wood working tools costing thousands of dollars. 3D printers and materials are likely to be less costly, not to mention less dangerous. 3D printing is going to be a major game changer.

I work for a company that sells 3D printers and also does rapid prototyping.  Our clients have remarked that we reduce their costs over traditional methods by at least 50% and we can get them their models in 20% of the time.  That is progress.

3D Systems has launched The Cube 3D printer.  It is a printer aimed at kids aged 8 to 12.  It comes with free software, loads of designs and costs only $1500.  The leading company for 3D printing would not develop such a product if they didn’t do the market research.

Like it or not, 3D printing is going to be come more popular and in the not too distant future I believe that at least 20% of households will have one.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Well, just another take on owning your very own 3d printer - because you think that they’re cool and want to make something (anything) with it.
How many people out there own Poser, Carrara, C4D, Modo, (3d software that requires purchase) etc., that have no intention of using it for profit. Some of us just like to have cool stuff. Even with free Daz Studio, most users who have it will purchase stuff to use with it - not necessarily to make money or to better themselves in some way, but because it’s fun and cool.

I have built a name for myself in this area for my imaginative (but a bit more expensive, in many situations) stone work. My hands, eyes and mind work well together - along with the years of experience towards “seeing” the next step. I’m not worried that a 3d printer is going to change the demand for my work, though I do welcome it - my skeleton and muscles are slowly but surely getting tired of manipulating heavy materials on steep grades! lol

Anyways, I’m just saying that there should always be a market for “old school” labor and manufacturing. But that’s certainly not to say that these 3d printers will not be changing the world! I’ve seen a 3d model artist from a small firm try his hand at making custom assets for computer game haks - and actually get hired by the game company. I know that there are many people who’ve started out a hobby and ended up going pro in that field.

For me, if I spent $500 - $3000 on a 3d printer, I could easily justify that cost including tax and shipping and material costs simply from the cool stuff I’d end up making with it for my own, personal pleasure. Add to that the fact that I enjoy collecting and painting Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, and other miniature figure models. I currently make many of my models myself out of modeling epoxy called Green Stuff (and other various similar mat’s) and that takes a lot of time. I certainly don’t save money that way - but it definitely sets my army apart from the next guy’s - if even in only a small way.

Now imagine that I made my miniatures using my computer and a 3d printer. There are miniature companies that would be happy to buy them and cast them to add to their product lines - I already know this. Sure… it would likely take forever to get a return from the initial cost of the printer… but that’s not why I got the thing in the first place. I bought it because I, like most everybody in this hobby, am a hobbyist. I have many hobbies that cost more than most of the printers mentioned in this thread. My drums are constantly needing up keep and drumsticks have more than quadrupled in price since I started, 32 years ago.

Now that I have my printer… the one that I bought for fun - because I’m a hobbyist, I’m actually getting real-world experience in making the darned thing work. Feeding the brain is a great thing… and it helps us grow and change… keeping up with the fast pace of the times.

Well, now that I’ve strolled so far off what I was originally going to say, I can’t remember the point I was going to make.
Oh well.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Dartanbeck - 22 December 2012 03:54 PM

  Now that I have my printer… the one that I bought for fun - because I’m a hobbyist, I’m actually getting real-world experience in making the darned thing work. Feeding the brain is a great thing… and it helps us grow and change… keeping up with the fast pace of the times.

Only said as an example. I do not have a 3d printer… just to clear that up! wink

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Posted: 22 December 2012 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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KorvisBlack - 22 December 2012 12:26 PM
JoeMamma2000 - 22 December 2012 02:38 AM

Hmmm….not sure I see the benefit.

That’s OK. Lots of people didn’t see the benefit of the “horseless carriage”, airplanes, computers, CDs, DVDs, MP3 Players, etc.

.

Right. And some people thought the world is flat. Yes, I realize I’m an old fuddy-duddy, I have no foresight, I’m blind to great inventions, if it was up to me we’d still be using steam engines, blah, blah, blah. Instead of addressing the issue, you attack the person. Yeah, I’ve been on this forum for a long time, and I know that’s how people respond to things.

And I also realize that, being in the 3D printer business, you have some incentive to hype them a bit. That’s fine.

But I merely gave an example, using real numbers, showing that it might not all be the wonderous dream, that will change the world, that everyone here seems to want to believe. I used numbers. Nobody here has responded with anything close to real numbers, other than “yeah, it will save a lot of money” and “yeah it will change the world”, with nothing whatsoever to back it up.

If you want to make a point and have someone believe you, use a real example with real numbers, or else all of your talk is just talk. And if anyone here can make a real example that shows how this is going to change the world, I’ll GLADLY change my mind. And I’ll probably invest in a 3D printer company.

And BTW, as I said before, I’m sure there are some small niche markets that will benefit from this technology. Like making houses on the moon. But I still don’t see the economics where it will change the world.

Just because you want to believe something doesn’t make it true.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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And also BTW, keep in mind, as I’ve stated before, that this technology has already existed for many, many years in the form of CNC and related machinery. You can, today, go online, use a company’s software to design an item, transfer it to them, and they will build it for you and ship it to you. Yes, it’s subtractive, not additive, but I suggest that you consider that when you give hypotheticals of what this printer technology can do.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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KorvisBlack - 22 December 2012 12:26 PM

Design software is free, mesh correcting software is free, materials are cheap, and strange as this may sound, some people like making things.

Sorry, but that’s just nonsense. The “software is free” idea is a total myth. Software is not free. Someone wrote it, and usually people want to be paid for their time and expertise. So someone, somewhere, had to pay for it. Which means they have to recover those costs. And how to they do that? They charge a portion of that cost to their customers. Or they jack up the price of their product so that they recover their costs.

Somehow, you the customer pays for it.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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KorvisBlack - 22 December 2012 12:26 PM

That’s OK. Lots of people didn’t see the benefit of the “horseless carriage”, airplanes, computers, CDs, DVDs, MP3 Players, etc.

Many of the “problems” you describe do not exist.  ...I work for a company that sells 3D printers and also does rapid prototyping.  Our clients have remarked that we reduce their costs over traditional methods by at least 50% and we can get them their models in 20% of the time.  That is progress.

Like it or not, 3D printing is going to be come more popular and in the not too distant future I believe that at least 20% of households will have one.

[curmudgeon mode]

CDs and DVDs started and are nearly already a dead market, within my lifetime. MP3s? There are lossless codecs that don’t compress the frequencies of the music I love. There was no reason to accept bad digital music at all, there were better solutions even then, but we all bought into the exciting future. Another example? Home laser printers are pretty much useless now; I’ve printed maybe ten pages in the past five years, when I used to use it daily, I have replacement components sitting here for it I will never use.

I seem to have trouble getting too excited about new gadgets these days, so many were barely worth the cost.

So I don’t listen to salesmen much, even a 3D printer salesman who tells me the first/second generation are going to be in 1 in 5 households. I"m quite sure it’s useful for prototyping, but how many of us need that at home? I don’t need real models. I have them in 3D space in my head and on the screen.

And until there’s a major paradigm shift of some sort we can’t begin to foresee, nothing comes for free. Even software I bought at the beginning that would be free to me for the rest of my life has turned out to be an unsustainable business model. The cost is hidden from sight now perhaps, but it’s not free. 

[/curmudgeon mode]

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