Rapid Ready Roundup: NIST, Ink, Photography and Pacific Rim

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 an announcement from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In response to concerns the US might be falling behind in advanced manufacturing technology, NIST has issued a $4 million grants notice. The grants will be offered in chunks between $250,000 and $500,000 to organizations that are “… focused on developing advanced technologies to address major technical problems that inhibit the growth of advanced manufacturing in the U.S.” Continue reading

Hobbyist Builds High Resolution DLP Printer

Most companies pour a significant amount of money into research and development, but aren’t always willing to take chances on simplifying existing technology to appeal to your average consumer. This makes a certain amount of sense. If your customer base is made up of companies with deep pockets, there isn’t much of an incentive to decrease the perceived quality and prestige of owning one of your products by “dumbing it down” for a broader audience.

This leaves a gap that has pretty consistently been filled by small businesses willing to innovate or hobbyists who would like to enjoy the benefits of a certain technology, but aren’t willing to pay a premium price. The world of consumer grade 3D printers is mainly dominated by material extrusion systems, such as those produced by MakerBot, but not every hobbyist is content with the resolution offered by these systems. Continue reading

The Music of 3D Printing

Even with the recent focus on additive manufacturing (AM), we’ve only really scratched the surface of potential applications for 3D printing. Along with the expected rapid prototyping, we’ve seen the technology used for everything from haute couture to food preparation. AM is like having a huge bin of Lego; the process of making objects seems simple, but the end results are myriad.

Now AM has extended its reach into making music. This is one application I don’t think anyone saw coming. A new article on Instructables by Amanda Ghassaei, relays her account of creating a vinyl record using 3D printing. Continue reading