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Why 3D Printing?

The product development landscape has evolved tremendously over the last 20 years.

Product designs have become much more complex in both their shape and functionality, while the need of reducing time-to-market has increased

The evolution of CAD Solid Modeling and computer technologies have brought forth a new way to produce prototypes know as Rapid Prototyping (RP).

Where it once took many weeks and lots of money to produce a prototype of a design, with RP it is now commonplace to produce the same prototype in a matter of hours for a fraction of the cost.

This evolution of RP has afforded companies the ability to verify and change designs more often while spending less time and money doing so. The end result is a product that:

Works the first time
Costs less to design and manufacture
Takes less time to design and manufacture
Meets customer demands
Gets to the market faster

How It Works

There are a number RP technologies on the market, all work under the same fundamental principals.

Solid Modeled CAD data, in a specific file format (STL), is processed and oriented in an optimal build position.
The data is then sent to the RP machine where it is numerically sliced into thin layers.
The RP machine then fabricates each 2-dimensional cross section and bonds it to the previous layer. A complete prototype is therefore built by stacking layer upon layer until the prototype is completed.

Uses for RP Models
Models produced by Rapid Prototyping can go far beyond engineering form, fit and functional models.

Today, RP models can be used as:

Patterns for other tooling and manufacturing process.
Focus group models for sales analysis
Marketing models to create literature and ad campaigns,
Quoting Models – Sent to the manufacturer in addition to CAD data to help reduce tooling costs

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7. What can you make with a 3D printer?

In 3D printing area, people say "If You Can Draw It, You Can Make It". In the video below shows many items can be made with a 3D printer. However complicated objects can only be made by professional 3D printers, they are not yet affortable for common family. 

What type of plastic is used ?

It really depends on what you want or need. Pricing gets crazy based on this choice too.

The company I work for has 8 of these things (for creating all of our product housings whether prototypes or production units).  Ours produce items in either standard ABS, plastic or Ultem though I know there are other plastics that can be used.

Ultem offers outstanding elevated thermal resistance, high strength and stiffness, and broad chemical resistance.

I won't describe ABS as it is so common and easy to look up.

ABS is cheaper but softer though good for a quick prototype. Ultem is usually a better solution for a production product in many cases.


The 3D printing revolution could be coming to your home with a new machine that costs less than an iPhone and can sit on your desktop.

MD3 is a company trying to produce an affordable 3D printing device and has set up a Kickstarter page in hopes that it can raise enough money to bring The Micro 3D printing machine to customers' homes.

The novelty machine is intended for beginners in 3D printing and can only "print" items that stand a few inches tall, but MD3 hopes that the affordable printer can bring the concept of 3D printing to the average consumer in order to get more people interested in the concept of home manufacturing.

Micro 3D weighs 2.2 lbs and prints objects up 4.6-inches tall, the company says.

The machine will be able to print in plastics and will be able to make toys, key chains, jewelry, and can even print with food stuffs such as chocolate.

MD3 says that their printer is plug and play and easy to use with open source software.

"At M3D we knew at some point in the future these tools would be a part of everyone’s lives, so we asked why not now?" said the company's founder Michael Armani.

"In order for [3D printers] to live up their potential, they need to be affordable and completely effortless to use," Armani said.

The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to end on May 7 and has already raised $250,000.


Now if folks embrace resin based vacuum casting technology TOGETHER with 3DPrinting AND CNC technologies - then we'll start seeing a real change. Vacuum casting would allow limited production runs of 3D printed master models in industrial resin materials.

WB DTOM, I can not offer any tech comment, I posted this in the hopes to save our business, which has now left me unemployed. My friends still work there so I still seek to get them some work.

Cool! I would love to have one of those printers...but they are outta sight priced though.

Store allows you to action-figure yourself

Would you pay to print an action figure/statue of yourself?
3d printer photo
Jonathanjuursema via Wikimedia Commons

By Cox Media Group Web Staff

PALO ALTO, Calif. —

Ever fancy making your own action figure, not building one, but actually turning yourself into one of those one-of-a-kind comic book store collectables?  A small store in California will do just that.  

Industrial scanner manufacturer Artec uses the Kinect sensor bar from Xbox to scan, and later, create a small, accurate, full-color statue of yourself.



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