3d printing is cool

I got this made. It’s a 3d-printed model made of plastic, using a 3D model from a spaceship from one of my games.

The company is called shapeways.

I think it’s pretty cool. It’s amazing to think that this tech just didn’t exist 10 years ago (AFAIK), and now its relatively affordable.
Progress FTW.

I don’t know much about the tech itself, but about 10 years ago, I was in a CS class and the professor showed us a 3D printed topographical map less than 1 foot square. We passed it around the class, and he said to be extra careful with it, because the materials and tech to create it had cost some tens of thousands of dollars (I forget the exact number).

Assuming the tech is roughly similar and it’s actually 3d printed rather than just one of the rapid-prototyping techs out there, its pretty neat to see how for the tech has come.

Adjustable spanner printed in one piece.

That is awesome, cliffski. But are there 3d printers yet that can print 3d printers?

Yes, but some human assembly and wiring of the pieces are required.

A YouTube search for Stratasys brings up all kinds of amazing 3D printing stuff.

Whew. Good. Once machines can replicate themselves, humanity is boned.

I was reading a thread about this on a tabletop gaming forum, and the conversation immediately turned to piracy. And the death of Games Workshop.

Imagine a world where you can download your wargames models from the internet and print them off. The only thing stopping people from downloading your sculptures from a torrent site is the loyalty they have for your company, that they’d actually want to give you money. It’d completely end Games Workshop (from what I know pirated models are already being made from illicit molds.) Games Companies would have to deliver an appealing product.

Bring it on I say.

(+ How long 'til replicators! Squee!)

Yeah, this is like some kind of bizarre alien technology from the future that I can’t even believe exists. Seriously, it’s a machine that just makes whatever object you ask it to make? That’s literally something they had on Star Trek. Amazing.

Be careful what you wish for, though; sooner or later, people will be able to pirate not just games, but entire game consoles, and then where will we be?

I’ve built a makerbot, anyone can build a reprap (reprap.org) for $600. Don’t order 3d printed stuff, make yourself a 3d printer!

I’ve actually already pirated an extarbags.

Not only are there, but you can build your own for 500 euros:

EDIT: Doh, RSofaer beat me to it while I was digging up the video link.

So why doesn’t everyone instantly have one, if that’s the case? Can’t anyone who has one of those just make infinite copies of it and sell them? Seems like they should spread exponentially and get super-cheap as a result.

Imagine a world where replicating a copyrighted material is a crime, and imagine how legitimate businesses would deal with that. You think you can walk into Kinkos and make a copy of a book?

Or, imagine wanting to make X-Wing and Tie Fighters. Think LucasArts will sit back and nod and say “Cool!”

Stuff like this isn’t a problem until we can buy a cheap replicator and do it in our own homes.

We’ve had 3d models of castings done for prototype work since around 2003 or 2004. I think the vendor uses Z Corp printers, but not sure. We even had a prototype cover made and had it installed on a car with real equipment for customer evaluation. Pretty nice, not sure what the price is nowadays (been about a year or so since the last one).

One thing that’s cool is that we can get them so we can put production paint on them, so it’s very hard to tell the difference from the real thing until you pick it up.

So we’re talking about this world? Good stuff, I always get confused over what world people are talking about.

and imagine how legitimate businesses would deal with that.

I don’t need to imagine, I already know how they deal with it, quite badly.

You think you can walk into Kinkos and make a copy of a book?

I don’t know what a Kinko is, but I’m guessing it’s some office supply place or a printers. And I’m guessing it’s an American chain, otherwise you probably wouldn’t reference it. As such, I don’t think they offer the same specialised services that the independent printers near me offer. Like the pre-photocopied law books for every year in the Law degree course in the University.

Or, imagine wanting to make X-Wing and Tie Fighters. Think LucasArts will sit back and nod and say “Cool!”

No, they’ll probably say “RAAAAWWR” and punish their paying customer’s by putting restrictions on what you can do with an X-Wing or Tie Fighter, or requiring you to send them a picture of a smashed 3d printer every three weeks.

Stuff like this isn’t a problem until we can buy a cheap replicator and do it in our own homes.

So what you’re saying is that is a problem or it isn’t? The premise of this entire thread is that these things will be in our own homes soon, and that a device for copying books, music, films, games, etc. already exists, as alluded to in my first post. But you decided to be a sarcastic douche, firing out snarky remarks rather than say something constructive discussing the issue.

Good job.

Don’t confuse electronics printing machines with 3D object printing machines. The same printer doesn’t do both things.

Printed objects from a place like Shapeways have the following characteristics:

  • relatively small. Anything larger than a handball starts costing a lot.

  • relatively soft or brittle. (yeah, I know they have materials with a range of properties, but none are as good as common solid metals, even if they are made out of metal powders). The harder materials are expensive, too.

  • moderate tolerances. Despite being computer controlled, it’s still not as precise as you would think.

An ordinary machinist shop is superior for machine parts in terms of both cost and functionality.

Shapeways is more for toys and one-off models that might be a prototype for something a machine shop or factory would eventually make. That doesn’t mean they’re useless. I have a resin tesseract model from Shapeways on my desk, by the way, and I think they provide a clever and fun service; it’s just not an industrial solution right now, so far as I understand the technology.

that’s pretty awesome

Ordinary machinist shop? It is to laugh. Let’s see a motherfucking human machinist pull this shit off.

I was just thinking about this this morning – I’ve never been a hardware guy, only software. My dad and I tried to do some breadboarding when I was ten, but it never really went anywhere, and once I found BASIC I never looked back. And now that replication technologies are starting to seriously take off, all hardware is starting to be directly created by software. It’s a really good time to be a software guy, and it’s only going to get much much better.

(Until the Great Solar Storm of 2050 blows out the entire U.S. power grid and we software guys are the first against the wall, while the old-school machinists lead the way to rebuilding civilization… but ANYWAY it rocks NOW at least :-)

cliffski, what kind of 3d package do they accept as models? I swear, this kind of thing is cool enough that I might learn a modelling package just so I can get random cool shit made.