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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

HP Plans Line of (Relatively) Affordable 3-D Printers | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

Wow....looks like HP is making a printer that will be perfect for AutoCAD users..NOT. 3D printers are for grown ups who design buildings for a living, not for those who draw lines, circles and arcs for a living. I'm glad my company is an HP dealer and can't wait to get my hands on one of these babies so we can start printing out Revit models.

My son turns two on January 28th, one day after my birthday. I'd love to make a cool Revit model, cast it in plaster and make a cake pan out of it. Imagine all of the cool looking cake shapes you could make from using Revit. I know, a half baked idea, but it's midnight and I'm in the mood for cake and ice cream. From: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/hp-3d-printers/ By Priya Ganapati January 19, 2010
Printers equipped for 3-D are poised to go mainstream, now that Hewlett-Packard plans to start selling them. The company’s inkjet and laser printers are staples in offices and homes.
The devices, which can crank out three-dimensional plastic models through a process similar to printing text on sheets of paper, have until recently been available only to high-end industrial designers. HP’s devices will be targeted at a broader market of mechanical-design professionals, and will probably cost less than $15,000.

“This is the boldest step we have seen so far in 3-D printing,” says Scott Summit, chief technology officer for Bespoke Innovations, a company that creates 3-D artifacts for medical use. “A lot of people want to do 3-D printing but it is a mysterious world. With HP embracing it, it is likely to demystify the idea to many consumers.”

HP’s printers will be manufactured by Stratasys, a company that specializes in 3-D printers.

The printers have long been used by designers and architects in computer aided design (CAD) to create prototypes before finalizing on the design for large-scale production. But these printers cost many thousands of dollars and have been popular with only a select group of specialists.

Over the last three years, hobbyists have found a way to make inexpensive 3-D printers, bringing the technology to do-it-yourselfers. The Makerbot, a 3-D printer that started shipping last April, costs $750 for a basic kit that includes, among other things, three NEMA 17 motors to drive the machine; nuts, bolts, bearings, belts and pulleys to assemble it; an electronics motherboard; and a pinch-wheel extruder to shape objects. A premium version of the Makerbot printer costs $950.

The HP-Stratasys line of printers are likely to be much more expensive than the Makerbot, since they are targeted at users in automotive and aerospace industries. HP and Stratasys declined to mention pricing for the upcoming line of 3-D printers. But last year, Stratasys offered an office-friendly 3-D desktop printer for around $15,000.

“There are millions of 3-D designers using 2-D printers,” says Santiago Morera, vice president and general manager of HP’s large format printing business, in a statement. “Stratasys’ technology is the ideal platform for HP to enter the market and begin to capitalize on this untapped opportunity.”
HP’s line of 3-D printers could straddle the world between hobbyists and small design businesses such as Summit’s that are looking to create individualized objects for consumers.

For instance, Summit’s firm has created a backpack for firefighters that is molded individually to each user’s body. The backpack also doubles as a suit of armor, he says.

Another application for 3-D printers could be prosthetic limbs, because they could be customized for every individual.

Summit says, “3-D printers were not used in the production stage. But it is no longer just a prototyping tool, it’s become a manufacturing tool.”
The availability of inexpensive computer aided design (CAD) programs has helped make 3-D printers accessible to more users, says Summit.
“Five years ago you had to pay quite a bit of money to get a program that would let you export your design file in the STL format that can be sent to the 3-D printer,” he says. “Designers had to know Solidworks or Maya. But now you have Blender and Sketchup and other inexpensive 3-D-design programs.”

Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/hp-3d-printers/  HP Plans Line of (Relatively) Affordable 3-D Printers | Gadget Lab | Wired.com


цarьchitect January 20, 2010 at 3:08 PM  

I've been thinking about getting a Rep Rap - and open-source alternative to these things.

It costs about $520 for the newer model, but for students and small companies with a little know how, it's a good deal.

The best part about it is that you can make all the plastic parts with the 3-D printer and therefore make more models for even less money. Also, all kinds of fun Christmas presents, like ABS spoons.

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