Additive manufacturing (AM) is one of the least expensive and quickest ways to get a prototype completed. In place of the machining, tooling and loss of material that comes with standard manufacturing processes, AM offers object turn around in days rather than weeks with low waste. A 3D printer isn’t a magic box, though, it does still take multiple hours to complete a print.
Build times can be sped up by reducing the resolution of a print. Choosing speed over resolution generally results in obvious strata lines and a prototype that looks somewhat rough around the edges, particularly in the case of material extrusion printers. The 3D Refiner by 3D Prints Express offers a potential solution to the quandary by smoothing the strata in low res prints. Continue reading
Being honest, a great number of hobbyist 3D printers are little more than RepRap builds that have been prettied up for consumer appeal. I’m not saying the systems are necessarily bad, but they don’t offer anything new to additive manufacturing (AM), even when compared to other home 3D printers. In theory, anyone with a fair grasp of mechanics can put together a RepRap printer. That’s kind of the point.
So, when I look at a new 3D printer, regardless of whether it’s a hobbyist model or not, I’m looking for something at least slightly innovative. A RepRap printer that glows in the dark is not innovative, it’s gimmicky (I hope I made that up). The EZ3D printer fulfills my desire for innovation by paying attention to details intended to make the 3D printing process more user friendly. Continue reading
Nearly every product with an appeal to the public has some form of peripheral. I remember seeing the first neon lights that people strapped underneath their cars just to add distinction and draw attention to their vehicles. Computers have loads of peripherals. Everything from light-up towers to USB-connected Hula dancers bring more personalization to what is pretty much a standard feature of both home and office.
You might not immediately identify 3D printers as something that might have a market for peripherals. The majority of the systems sit in offices or workshops and are mainly used by engineers and design firms to create prototypes. That isn’t the sort of crowd that is likely to be interested in peripherals without a dedicated purpose.
Kickstarter is pretty awesome. It harnesses the power of the Internet and the creativity of small businesses or individual inventers to develop and manufacture products that larger companies might not ever take a risk on. And why shouldn’t it? The Kickstarter model reduces some of the risk of designing a new product.
Rather than hoping you can persuade your audience to buy a product with advertising or hoping your company can tap into a particular market, the Kickstarter process comes with built-in cheap market research. If people are interested in your product, they’ll pony up the cash to see it built. If no one is interested, the product will never see the light of day.