It's surprising how rapidly the capability and capacity of affordable 3D printers has increased.
There were several exhibitors at Maker Faire in NYC last week showing off printers with print envelopes large enough to print really big objects. Of course the print times can be extremely long, and there is also the issue of warping with large parts. Still, the results were very impressive and encouraging.
Design World has an online webinar scheduled for next Tuesday, December 4th, featuring Chong Pak of Olloclip explaining how they used 3D printing technology to design and manufacture their 3-in-one lens system for the iPhone camera. According to the webinar registration webpage:
"Olloclip has created the ultimate 3-in-one lens system for your iPhone that fits in your pocket and takes your picture taking ability to the next level. Product design in the most recent years has been impacted tremendously by 3D printing and Olloclip’s camera lenses are no different. Whether it’s wide angle, fish eye or a macro picture view, this development in camera phone technology has been made possible by Objet 3D Printing. Please join Chong Pak of Olloclip and Objet Geometries as they discuss product design within the iPhone era and how 3D printing can help engineers design, create and ultimately bring products to life faster.
Attend this webinar to learn about:
-Olloclip and their fast hitting iPhone accessory
-3D printing and the design process
-Objet’s multi-platform capabilities"
Just discovered that there's a regular Makerbot User Group meeting in New York City and the meetings are shared live via Ustream.
Archived videos of meetings are available online, though it looks like they just started adding content. Could be a treasure trove of information and inspiration as more meetings are added in the future.
I won't embed the stream here because it tends to auto play in some browsers, but you can access it via the via link below.
There's an old saying that "Politics makes strange bedfellows." Apparently that's true for 3D printer startups as well. According to an article in the online edition of Monday's Wall Street Journal, Makerbot Industries will soon be sharing building space and rubbing elbows with the likes of Morgan Stanley and the Goldman Sachs Group.
’Makerbot and Wall Street – Strange Bedfellows?’ continues
iheartengineering found that the key to producing large parts without warping was to maintain a stable ambient thermal environment.
This was especially true because their offices are located in a converted brick warehouse building with concrete floors, lots of drafts, and inconsistent heating during the winter.
To deal with the unstable office temperatures, and to make sure that any objectionable vapors given off by the MakerBot were exhausted outside the building, they constructed a simple housing and venting system.
As a part of the venting design they needed a part to mate between the housing and off the shelf ducting. So they did what any self-respecting engineering firm would do - they quickly designed the part they needed, using open source CAD software of course, and printed it out on the MakerBot.
The special housing allows them to run the 3D printer continuously for hours, and sometimes for days, on end. The stable temperatures result in consistent prints as well as allowing them to produce parts as large as the MakerBot workspace will allow.
Last week I visited the iheartengineering headquarters in Brooklyn and was surprised to find that they have managed to build a rapidly expanding business around the print-on-demand model and unique product designs. Besides their abundant creativity, the heart of their business is a first generation MakerBot 3D printer that manufactures parts as orders come in the door (or over the internet).
It's not unusual for them to keep the printer running for hours, and sometimes days, at a time when orders peak. They've developed some special techniques for producing large parts with some unique fill patterns that I will post more about later.
Most important, the work, and the business model, that iheartengineering is pioneering convinced me that all the buzz about 3D printing generating a rebirth of manufacturing and creativity in the U.S. is much more than just hype. It is a practical and achievable goal, one that may soon be a reality for a growing number of start-ups.
’Affordable 3d Printers Hit The Market…? (Video)’ continues