3D printing is hot

3D Printing Flies High now. Articles on three-dimensional printers are popping up everywhere these days. And nowadays there are many 3D printer products. Some are small enough to fit in a briefcase and others are large enough to print houses.

Everything you ever wanted to know about 3D printing article tells that 3D printing is having its “Macintosh moment,” declares Wired editor -in-chief Chris Anderson in cover story on the subject. 3D printers are now where the PC was 30 years ago. They are just becoming affordable and accessible to non-geeks, will be maybe able to democratize manufacturing the same way that PCs democratized publishing.

Gartner’s 2012 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Identifies “Tipping Point” Technologies That Will Unlock Long-Awaited Technology Scenarios lists 3D Print It at Home as important topic. In this scenario, 3D printing allows consumers to print physical objects, such as toys or housewares, at home, just as they print digital photos today. Combined with 3D scanning, it may be possible to scan certain objects with a smartphone and print a near-duplicate. Analysts predict that 3D printing will take more than five years to mature beyond the niche market. Eventually, 3D printing will enable individuals to print just about anything from the comfort of their own homes.Slideshow: 3D Printers Make Prototypes Pop article tells that advances in performance, and the durability and range of materials used in additive manufacturing and stereolithography offerings, are enabling companies to produce highly durable prototypes and parts, while also cost-effectively churning out manufactured products in limited production runs.

3D printing can have implications to manufacturers of some expensive products. The Pirate Bay declares 3D printed “physibles” as the next frontier of piracy. Pirate Bay Launches 3D-Printed ‘Physibles’ Downloads. The idea is to have freely available designs for different products that you can print at home with your 3D printer. Here a video demonstrating 3D home printing in operation.

Shapeways is a marketplace and community that encourages the making and sharing of 3D-printed designs. 3D Printing Shapes Factory of the Future article tells that recently New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg cut the Shapeways‘ Factory (filled with industrial-sized 3D printers) ribbon using a pair of 3D-printed scissors.

The Next Battle for Internet Freedom Could Be Over 3D Printing article tells up to date, 3D printing has primarily been used for rapid commercial prototyping largely because of its associated high costs. Now, companies such as MakerBot are selling 3D printers for under $2,000. Slideshow: 3D Printers Make Prototypes Pop article gives view a wide range of 3D printers, from half-million-dollar rapid prototyping systems to $1,000 home units. Cheapest 3D printers (with quite limited performance) now start from 500-1000 US dollars. It is rather expensive or inexpensive is how you view that.

RepRap Project is a cheap 3D printer that started huge 3D printing buzz. RepRap Project is an initiative to develop an open design 3D printer that can print most of its own components. RepRap (short for replicating rapid prototyper) uses a variant of fused deposition modeling, an additive manufacturing technique (The project calls it Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) to avoid trademark issues around the “fused deposition modeling” term). It is almost like a small hot glue gun that melts special plastic is moved around to make the printout. I saw RepRap (Mendel) and Cupcake CNC 3D printers in operation at at Assembly Summer 2010.

There has been some time been trials to make 3D-Printed Circuit Boards. 3D Printers Will Build Circuit Boards ‘In Two Years’ article tells that printing actual electronics circuit boards is very close. Most of the assembly tools are already completely automated anyway.

3D printing can be used to prototype things like entire cars or planes. The makers of James Bond’s latest outing, Skyfall, cut a couple corners in production and used modern 3D printing techniques to fake the decimation of a classic 1960s Aston Martin DB5 (made1:3 scale replicas of the car for use in explosive scenes). The world’s first 3D printed racing car can pace at 140 km/h article tells that a group of 16 engineers named “Group T” has unveiled a racing car “Areion” that is competing in Formula Student 2012 challenge. It is described as the world’s first 3D printed race car. The Areion is not fully 3D printed but most of it is.

Student Engineers Design, Build, Fly ‘Printed’ Airplane article tells that when University of Virginia engineering students posted a YouTube video last spring of a plastic turbofan engine they had designed and built using 3-D printing technology, they didn’t expect it to lead to anything except some page views. But it lead to something bigger. 3-D Printing Enables UVA Student-Built Unmanned Plane article tells that in an effort that took four months and $2000, instead of the quarter million dollars and two years they estimate it would have using conventional design methods, a group of University of Virginia engineering students has built and flown an airplane of parts created on a 3-D printer. The plane is 6.5 feet in wingspan, and cruises at 45 mph.

3D printers can also print guns and synthetic chemical compounds (aka drugs). The potential policy implications are obvious. US Army Deploys 3D Printing Labs to Battlefield to print different things army needs. ‘Wiki Weapon Project’ Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home. If high-quality weapons can be printed by anyone with a 3D printer, and 3D printers are widely available, then law enforcement agencies will be forced to monitor what you’re printing in order to maintain current gun control laws.

Software Advances Do Their Part to Spur 3D Print Revolution article tells that much of the recent hype around 3D printing has been focused on the bevy of new, lower-cost printer models. Yet, significant improvements to content creation software on both the low and high end of the spectrum are also helping to advance the cause, making the technology more accessible and appealing to a broader audience. Slideshow: Content Creation Tools Push 3D Printing Mainstream article tells that there is still a sizeable bottleneck standing in the way of mainstream adoption of 3D printing: the easy to use software used to create the 3D content. Enter a new genre of low-cost (many even free like Tikercad) and easy-to-use 3D content creation tools. By putting the tools in reach, anyone with a compelling idea will be able to easily translate that concept into a physical working prototype without the baggage of full-blown CAD and without having to make the huge capital investments required for traditional manufacturing.

Finally when you have reached the end of the article there is time for some fun. Check out this 3D printing on Dilbert strip so see a creative use of 3D printing.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Coaxial Hotend [gd0144]

    Full-colour FDM? Continuous fiber? Low resistance 3D printed circuits? Tube extrusion for light parts?


  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Without experienced and skilled staff, even the most advanced 3D printers are useless
    Despite of his young age, 24-year-old design engineer Jesse Kitinoja knows Tasowheel almost like the back of his hand. During his 4 years at Tasowheel, he has worked all around the company with plenty of different people, which facilitates him working with anyone and anything within the company. In his every-day-work, he is used to utilize 3D printing in his daily tasks, and now takes us to know better the multifaceted possibilities of 3D printing.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    3D Printing Safety (According To The UL)

    f you want to start a heated discussion in 3D printing circles, ask people about the requirements to print safely. Is ABS safe to print without ventilation? Can you drink out of a PLA cup? How nasty is that photo resin if you spill it on yourself? If you are at home, it’s more or less up to you. But if you are building a shared hackerspace, a corporate workstation, or a classroom, these questions might come up, and now, the UL has your answer. The UL200B document is aimed at 3D printers in “institutions of higher education,” but we imagine what’s good for the university is good for us, too.

    The 45-page document isn’t an easy read. It does cover both “material extrusion” and “vat photopolymerization” technology. In fact, they identify seven “most common” processes ranging from powder bed fusion, energy deposition, and more.


  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Scharon Harding / Ars Technica:
    3D printer maker Bambu Lab blames a cloud outage for an issue that caused some of its customers’ devices to start printing without their consent — Bambu Lab says it will help with repairs, replacement parts. — Imagine waking in the middle of the night to the sound of your 3D printer, printing away.

    3D printers printing without consent is a cautionary tale on cloud reliance
    Bambu Lab says it will help with repairs, replacement parts.

    Imagine waking in the middle of the night to the sound of your 3D printer, printing away. You know you didn’t request a print. In fact, you’re sure of it, because your previous project is still on the printer. It sounds like an eerie technological haunting or as if the machines have finally become self-aware. Thankfully, the problem stems from something less creepy but perhaps just as scary: a cloud outage.

    As reported by The Verge, on August 15, numerous owners of Bambu Lab 3D printers reported that their device started printing without their consent. It didn’t matter if said printing resulted in bent or broken nozzles or other components or if it involved printing a project on top of another. It didn’t matter if it was an ungodly time, like 4 in the morning; the printers, which cost anywhere from $599 to $1,449, were printing.

    “Started a print @ 11 PM. Time-lapse shows it finish successfully at just before 2 AM. At ~2:30 AM while I slept, the machine started itself again with the last print still on the bed. I see a timestamped time-lapse video that starts at about 2:30 AM,” a Reddit user going by u/beehphy complained on the r/BambuLab subreddit.

    The user continued by saying, “filament spilled out the side and coiled up all inside the chamber, and it only stopped feeding once the temperature sensor was ripped out.”

    The company announced a “cloud printing failure” on its system status page and wrote an August 16 blog post saying it would look into the problem.

    Also contributing to the problem was a “large number of API access requests” performed simultaneously, preventing a timely response. This is because the printers’ Bambu Studio software uses a logic that “reinitiate[s] a print request immediately after accessing the cloud.”

    Cloud conundrum

    The confusion, concern, and chaos created by a 3D printer activating in the middle of the night is a reminder of the risk inherent to consumer tech products that rely on the cloud. The concerns are especially notable when considering that these 3D printers are remotely controllable devices with heating elements. Further, 3D printer owners often leave their printers either to print without overseeing the project or powered on while unattended.

    “I’m glad I was home and was able to turn it off, looks like it was burning into yesterdays print job and damaging the hot end at the same time,” a user going by u/SyntheticStart on Reddit said of their experience. “This is my first issue with the machine, but I’m scared to do longer prints now when I’m not available to monitor it.”

    Last week’s fiasco also brings to mind security concerns. Of course, cloud security concerns aren’t new. But it’s always worth considering if a product that doesn’t need the cloud for its most important functions should rely on it. This incident has shown that it’s possible for 3D printers to be controlled outside of owners’ desires. Did we mention that these printers have integrated cameras?

    In the past, Bambu admitted that it had to educate itself on network security since “the security design of the whole Bambu Lab system was not the best from the very beginning.” This was because “the initial team has a background in robotics, but very little experience in network security,” the company said in 2022.

    Bambu’s response

    Bambu was quick to apologize to owners, and some users online reported that the company told them it would send replacement parts promptly.

    On the technical side, Bambu said it updated its Cloud Service’s SDK service logic and “increased the database connection sizes for better throughput.” It plans to update the Cloud Printing logic so that “every time print is initiated, the printer will check the timestamp and automatically discard any outdated print which does not follow our strict configuration.”

    Its printers will also get firmware updates to help prevent a new project from printing when the printer’s plate isn’t cleared, including pop-up notifications that users must dismiss, Bambu said.

    Printers will also be updated to “continuously monitor the hotend and heatbed temperature. If a fault is detected, an error message will be prompted on the printer screen, Bambu Studio, and Bambu Handy,” and “the heaters will be turned off to further minimize any potential risk,” Bambu added.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Powder Your Prints For Baby-Smoothness

    Layer lines are a dead giveaway to non-normies that a thing was 3D printed. There are things you can do to smooth them — sanding, chemical smoothing, and fillers come to mind. Although this technique technically uses all three, it starts with something very simple.

    In the video after the break, [DaveRig] gets right to the point: baby powder and resin mixed together make a fine smoothing agent when cured. Having read about it online, he decided to give it a try.

    Starting with a half sphere that had admittedly pretty big layer lines, [DaveRig] mixed up enough resin and baby powder to make the consistency of milk or cream. Then he put five coats on, curing and sanding with 120 in between each one.

    Then it’s on to standard post-processing stuff. You know, wipe it down with alcohol, sand it a little more, wet sand, and then it’s on to the airbrush and clear-coat. The end result looks to be as smooth as your average bowling ball, as you can see in the main photo.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    3D Printing At 100C

    Normally, 3D printing with filament takes temperatures of around 200 °C. However, there are some crafting plastics that melt in hot water at 60 °C. You can get spools of similar plastic that prints at very low temperatures, and some 3D printing pens use it. [Lost in Tech] picked up a spool of the stuff meant for medical printing and found that printing with it was a challenge. You can watch a video of the results below.

    The first problem is that most printers don’t want to extrude at low temperatures. You can override this or, if you want to print with this plastic — PCL — you can rebuild the printer firmware. He never got bridges to work very well, but some prints came out reasonably well.

    The Low Temperature 3D Printing Filament you probably haven’t heard of.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ARPA-H Moonshot Project Aims To Enable 3D Printing Of Human Organs

    The field of therapeutic cloning has long sought to provide a way to create replacement organs and tissues from a patient’s own cells, with the most recent boost coming from the US Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) and a large federal contract awarded to Stanford University.

  8. karnal satta king says:

    Thank you for sharing such a useful information.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hobbyists Push Back Against 3D Printer Crackdowns
    By Sascha Brodsky published 3 days ago
    Laws in New York and California could make it tougher to buy a 3D printer.

    As some lawmakers look for ways to reduce gun violence, they’ve shifted their sights to 3D printers, introducing and, in at least one case, passing laws that would restrict their sales. Though the worst thing a 3D printer, even the best 3D printer, can do on its own is burn you, any model can print the parts for so-called “ghost guns,” homemade firearms that have no serial numbers. 3D printer fans and gun rights advocates are both concerned that these laws would cause undue hassle to hobbyists and students, without making the public safer.

  10. kalagya arts and craft says:

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  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Stockmann Tampereen tavaratalo on uusinut kohdevalaistustaan ja korvannut vanhat halogeenivalaisimet Philipsin 3D-tulostetuilla LED-kohdevalaisimilla. Tämän myötä Stockmann saavuttaa vuositasolla 178 000 kWh:n energiansäästön. Lisäksi Philipsin 3D-ratkaisu tukee kiertotaloutta, mikä sopii Stockmannin omiin vastuullisuustavoitteisiin.

    Lue lisää: https://www.prointerior.fi/natiivi/4028/stockmann-tampereelle-asennettiin-philipsin-kierratysmateriaaleista-valmistetut-kohdevalaisimet


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