The US has been the leader in additive manufacturing (AM) ever since Scott Crump designed Stratasys’ first 3D printer, but that may be changing. Both the UK and China have invested serious amounts of money into the technology, and the EU, with partner ESA, isn’t far behind. The US does have its own investments in place as well, such as America Makes (formerly known as NAMII), but with the turmoil in Washington, getting funding for new projects isn’t always easy.
MakerBot is hoping to help return the US to the forefront of AM with its MakerBot Academy program. The program would like to put a 3D printer in as many classrooms as possible to educate students about AM, and generate interest for the technology in a new generation of engineers and designers. MakerBot Academy represents a partnership between donorschoose.org, Autodesk, America Makes, and, of course, MakerBot (now a subdivision of Stratasys). Continue reading
Smart companies are always looking for new ways to fill customer needs. In additive manufacturing (AM) one need that needed filling was an easy to use, reasonably priced 3D scanner. MakerBot recently offered a 3D scanner with its Digitizer, and it seems natural that other companies will offer competing products.
The first company to step up to the plate is 3D Systems. The AM giant has launched the Sense 3D scanner and is promoting the scanner as part of its Cubify experience. The Sense is a portable scanner, with auto-sensing features for the low price of $399. For those keeping score at home, that’s $1,000 less expensive than the Digitizer. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) may end up being one of the most versatile tools to ever hit the shelves. The technology can produce food and assist operations, along with providing rapid prototyping and end-use capabilities for manufacturing. Researchers in any number of scholarly disciplines have found ways to use AM to improve their studies, and now geologists have joined their numbers.
The ability to visualize information in three dimensions is a necessity when studying many different aspects of geology, including topography, flow research, and strata. Geologists have been building their own scale models of key geological structures for years, eventually turning to three dimensional designs on computers when they became widely available. The GeoFabLab at Iowa State University (ISU) has begun experimenting with AM to build extremely accurate geology models that students and researchers can be see and touch. 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 some business news. MakerBot has inked a deal with Ingram Micro to distribute its lineup of AM systems and related products throughout the US. While MakerBot has a similar deal with Microsoft to sell 3D printers in the software giant’s brick-and-mortar stores, this represents the first time the company has used a large, independent distributor in the US. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a fantastically flexible tool that has brought new possibilities to life for handicapped people around the world. AM has been used for everything from 3D printed prosthetics to high-tech wheelchairs for Paralympians. The technology also represents a wealth of opportunity for the blind.
3D printing produces objects you can touch, and is capable of building everything from architectural models to reproducing paintings. Hands On Search, from Yahoo Japan, combines the power of AM with humanity’s largest database, the internet, to give blind children at the Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired a chance to feel the world around them. Continue reading