Not signed in (Sign In)
  1.  (164.1)
    Forget illegally downloading MP3s in a few years peopel will be illegally downloading MP3 players.

    http://www.ponoko.com/

    Ponoko looks like cafe press with a 3D printing capability.

    Design a 3D object and they'll manufacture it to order. Design a good object and people can order it.

    At this stage, bowel disruptors are right out but Spider Jerusalem Glasses will probably be feasible inside a couple of years.
    • CommentAuthorCaBil
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (164.2)
    Argh! They are in New Zealand!!!!

    I was having all sort of evil plans there. Damn my North Americanism!!!
    •  
      CommentAuthorlofidelity
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (164.3)
    Before anyone else mentions it... Cory Doctorow saw this coming.
    PrintCrime (mini comic adaptation, 4MB PDF) and the comic is under a creative commons license before anyone asks.
    •  
      CommentAuthorpKone
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2007
     (164.4)
    I love New Zealand! They do a lot of great things there!
    •  
      CommentAuthorm1k3y
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (164.5)
    @ lofideilty see also Cory's After the Siege - about the aftermath of a society throwing away copyright and making whatever they wanted..

    also in Bruce Sterling's short-story Kiosk from Jan '07 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction or Asimov [sorry, don't have with me at work, but it's one of those].. and, from memory there's also something similiar in his novel Holy Fire - I definitely remember characters instantiating clothing there
    •  
      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (164.6)
    I love New Zealand! They do a lot of great things there!


    Yeah, but it's shit boring living here.
    •  
      CommentAuthoraike
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (164.7)
    yeh, 3D printing has actually been around for quite a while, the problem is that the plastic they use is sort of dinky. Z Corporation has a big one that does high rez stuff in coloured plastic, but I dont think it can handle transparency yet. And it costs a small fortune to buy and another one to keep it running. Some other company just came out with a desktop sized one, but the resolution stinks... the stuff looks really grainy. Another several years, methinks, before we get past the crap plastic garbage that melts when you wave anything warmer than a cup of old tea at it stage to something vaguely usable.
  2.  (164.8)
    The original post was about Ponoko, which isn't exactly 3D printing - everything they make is cut out of flat sheets of one material or another. But on the "real" 3d printing front, there's some awfully nice sintered metal work available, notably from ProMetal. It's still pretty pricey though.

    There are some really nice examples of ProMetal work from Bathsheba.
    •  
      CommentAuthoraike
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2007
     (164.9)
    Nice, hadn't heard that about yet, thanks. Looks like a similar technology to the layered plastic approach, but with metal powder, cool. I wonder how stable/solid the things are?

    As to the 3D printing, yeh I realise Ponoko is a bit different, I meant more along the lines of bowel disruptors and transmet glasses. I phrased it badly, though, no doubt.
  3.  (164.10)
    Prometal does a first pass in steel, if I remember correctly, which works pretty much like a layered resin or plastic fabricator. But then they sinter bronze into the piece and the metals fuse together. It really seems pretty cool, though like I said it's fairly expensive.

    Apparently the actual color of the piece is unpredictable - sometimes more like bronze, sometimes more like steel. I'd love to try it sometime.
  4.  (164.11)
    I think the interesting thing about Ponoko is not the technology so much but the way they're marrying the technology with a proven business model - cafe press.

    One thing we can predict with a fair degree of certainty is that the printing technology will continue to improve.

    I tend to doubt that most people will want a 3D printer in their home anytime soon and considering how many people go to photoprint places to get their digital pics produced I suspect they're be a big group of people just not comfortable with or capable of using the technology themselves.

    But I can see a lot of those people comfortable with the idea of ordering something off the internet.