Even if you never feel the need to own a 3D printer of your very own, the odds are fair you may want to take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) at some point for a special gift, hard to find item, or just for the novelty. Print-on-demand manufacturing is a growing business, already operating at enough volume for companies such as Shapeways to build their own dedicated factories.
Following the general modus operandi of, “If it’s sold online, we want a piece of the action,” Amazon has taken note of the potential for sales in the print-on-demand market. The result is a partnership with 3DLT to launch a pilot program offering both print-on-demand items and digital designs ready to be printed at home, or at the office if you are sneaky enough.
If asked to list the fields in which additive manufacturing (AM) has had a big impact most people probably wouldn’t think to add music. 3D printed instruments are a thing, as are reproductions of vinyl records, and MakerBot is making the mixtape cool again by printing out a cassette tape body for a flash drive filled with music.
Artiphon is using AM to help create and share music with the introduction of the INSTRUMENT 1, a music machine that has carved out a new product category the company has dubbed the multi-instrument. With assistance from an iPhone or iPod, the INSTRUMENT 1 can be strummed like a guitar or banjo, placed on a musician’s shoulder like a violin, or placed flat across the lap to produce steel drum and drum pad sounds. Continue reading
It could be said that one way to measure how much a new technology has caught on is by the amount of support offered. Additive manufacturing (AM) might not be exactly new, but it has been propelled into the spotlight fairly recently. Companies like Autodesk have offered support for 3D printing for years, but only recently have companies immediately recognizable to the general public, such as Microsoft, begun to offer similar support intended for a more general audience.
Now Adobe, provider of the most well-known image and design software on the planet, has added 3D printing support to Photoshop Creative Cloud (CC). Not only does Photoshop now allow users to work with 3D images, it also directly supports a number of 3D printers, including the MakerBot Replicator and 3D Systems’ Cube, along with built-in service bureau access in the form of Shapeways. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a powerful and versatile technology that can be used to build wonders in an ever-expanding number of materials. Parts of all kinds are manufactured, AM medical devices aid patients in new and amazing ways, and endless prototypes roll out of 3D printers. For the majority of the year, Siemens, like most companies, puts their AM to work on serious projects, but the holidays brings out a bit of the whimsical in everyone.
Siemens’ Olaf Rehme has used an AM process generally intended to repair turbines to produce some high tech Christmas trees with print files from grabcad.com. The alloy used in Rehme’s trees is heat resistant to 1,300°C and is often found in turbine fans. Used for Christmas ornaments, the metal produces an interesting strata line that is perfect for representing the lines of a tree. Continue reading
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.
We’ll start today’s Roundup with 3D printing service news. Office Depot announced it would be expanding its in-store AM service to 150 stores across the US. The office supply chain will be placing 3D Systems Cube or the CubeX in both the service department and on the floor. Office Depot will also be providing 3D printing demonstrations at select stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas. Continue reading