Desktop 3D Printing Goes Big with gMAX

I’m a pretty big additive manufacturing (AM) cheerleader. How can you not be a fan of technology that can produce everything from new ears to airplane wings? I also tend to believe that most of the limitations with current generation 3D printers can and will be solved by future advances in the field.

While the size of prints offered by desktop AM systems might not be considered a huge limitation, it does have an impact on consumers that require a certain build envelope for their work or home projects. It’s certainly possible to print out multiple parts of a larger object using a system with a small build envelope, but a larger build area allows for prints that are really meant to be one, solid piece. Continue reading

Rapid Ready Roundup: 3D Systems, LEGO-bot, Fasotec Returns, and SDCC

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 acquisition news from 3D Systems. Continuing with its “growth through acquisitions” strategy, 3D Systems has completed the acquisition of French 3D printing firm, Phenix Systems. The company paid $15.1 million for 81% of the share capital and will immediately launch a simplified take-over bid process in accordance with the French Markets Authority on the remaining shares and voting rights. In addition to strengthening its European presence, the move brings more metal-based AM expertise to 3D Systems. Continue reading

3D Printing is What’s for Dinner

Additive manufacturing (AM) seems to have its fingers in almost every pie these days. From rapid prototyping to large-scale production to medical and dental usage; 3D printing is everywhere. With that in mind, it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise that AM has designs on your dinner plate.

Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) has received a six month, $150,000 grant from NASA to investigate the potential of using AM to build meals. The basic idea follows the standard pattern of AM. In this case, instead of slowly building up layers of metal or plastic, the RepRap style printer will build up layers of protein, sugar and carbohydrates. Continue reading

EZ3D Offers Fresh Ideas for Hobbyist 3D Printing

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

3D Systems Launches Cubify Invent

A fair amount of the Apple’s success has been based on branding. The company convinces its audience that its product is superior and easier to use than competing products. This results in an almost cult of personality level of devotion from Apple fans. Devotees eagerly follow each new release and update, happily ditching slightly outdated tech for the newest thing.

Some people might argue (I’m not judging here) that you don’t really need a MacBook Air to surf the web, but you can sure look cool doing so. At this point, 3D printing is a niche product for the home market. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to compare the efforts of companies like MakerBot to sell the maker idea to efforts of Apple to sell the iPad experience.

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