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It’s hard to know where to begin when covering a company like 3D Systems. Do you start with the product lines? The problem with that approach is you have to include systems like the ZPrinter line and then you have to go back over the same information a second time when talking about 3D Systems’ acquisitions. Maybe the best place to start is at the very beginning, before the company turned into the juggernaut we’ve become familiar with today.
Each new 3D printer launch is a peek into the development of additive manufacturing (AM) in general. New systems will, of course, offer features like faster build times, more colors or a larger build envelope, but how these features are put together suggests what sort of feedback manufacturers have received from their customers. After all, it only makes sense to develop what you know is going to sell.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the new offering from 3D Systems. It’s the first ZPrinter to be released since 3D Systems completed its acquisition of Z Corporation in January. According to the company, the ZPrinter 850 offers 390,000 colors from five print heads with a resolution of 600 x 540 dpi. It has a build envelope of 20 x 15 x 9 in. (508 x 381 x 229 mm) and offers a layer thickness of 0.0035 – 0.004 in. (0.089 – 0.102 mm).
Ask any geek what World of Warcraft (WoW) is and you’ll probably be treated to either raves or rants. Briefly put, WoW is a multiplayer online video game in which players create characters to take part in fantasy genre adventures. Each character can be created with different features and can be clothed and equipped differently, resulting in an individual character that can look much different from ones controlled by other players.
Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind WoW, has further tapped into their customer base’s imagination by releasing sculpted plastic figurines of common character types. This created a broad range of figures that appealed to a mass interest. FigurePrints instead caters to the individual.