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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2010 edited
     (8240.1)
    Here

    So is this the start of a PC revolution for 3D printing/fast prototyping or just a bunch of hype?

    Personally, I'll be impressed when they make a 3D printer than can make copies of itself.
  1.  (8240.2)
    So is this the start of a PC revolution for 3D printing/fast prototyping or just a bunch of hype?

    I looked into these a while back and wrote them off as hype. The quality of the output is pretty awful; people who want good looking 3D printed objects have to go mail order, and I don’t think that will change much any time soon. On top of that you have the usual open source “free only if your time is worth nothing” hassles working against it. I think we’ll see serious interest when the prices on commercial 3D printers crash they way they have with laser printers in the last decade.
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      CommentAuthoroutlawpoet
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2010
     (8240.3)
    Makerbots are a offshoot of the RepRap project, which is explicitly about selfreplicating 3d printers. Makerbots are less capable, but easier to use.

    We've got two Makerbots at crashspace, and I can confirm that the object quality is pretty bad compared to conventional plastic manufacturing like injection molding and such, but they're tough and detailed enough to use as gears, replacement plastic bits for broken parts in consumer electronics and such.

    The larger RepRap project has some impressive implementations, they have been demonstrated print heads with plasma cutters, they can deposit all kinds of plastics and clays and so on. Makerbot is notable mostly because it's the only one you can just buy from someone and have work. All the others are handbuilt prototypes.

    Honestly the best thing they've done is standardize some of the control electronics, and launch Thingiverse, which is going to be really great once their library of objects fills up.
  2.  (8240.4)
    I have dreamt my whole life of an action figure printer. By the time I can afford one, it should work fairly well for my needs.
    • CommentAuthorUsh
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2010
     (8240.5)
    Services like Shapeways and Grow It 3D can print in a variety of different materials to a relatively high standard. At the other end of the spectrum, this gentleman has built a Makerbot-like printer out of low-cost materials and scavanged parts for $200 to $300.