The shutdown plan has been rolled back and effective immediately new users are again able to sign up for the site. Even better, at the request of Autodesk, we have supercharged the free plan. You can now create unlimited designs, all import and export functionality is enabled and ShapeScripts are turned on for free accounts. We have automatically upgraded all existing free accounts to this new powerful plan. This account will be offered for a limited time only so make sure you sign up as soon as possible.
by General Fabb
Our beloved Tinkercad lives again. The very popular web-based 3D modeling service was used by many due to its ease of use, web availability and inexpensive pricing. But in a move shocking everyone, the owners of Tinkercad announced it was closing as their business moved off into other ventures.
But now, in a rather sudden move, they've announced they've sold off the assets of Tinkercad to Autodesk, makers of much fine 3D software. According to their press release:
And it gets better. Apparently: "Autodesk has some very exciting plans for Tinkercad." We obviously don't know what they might be, but saving Tinkercad alone is certainly good. You'd best resurrect your Tinkercad account or sign up as soon as you can.
We have one slight concern: it appears that Autodesk is intent on cornering the market on low-cost 3D modeling services, as they've already provided a number of free tools such as 123D Design. Will there be any competition?
Formlabs has now shipped its first actual production units of their breakthrough resin-based personal 3D printer, the Form 1.
The USD$3,299 high-resolution device was launched on Kickstarter some months ago and raised close to USD$3M, a record amount for a technology item. Based on this alone, the Form 1 is a highly desired machine and soon people will finally get their hands on it.
We're anxious to see reports of user reactions to the Form 1. While it's clear that the machine does work, we don't know much about the reliability, software ease of use, resin lifetime or other longer-term usability features.
For those of you that are fortunate to receive one, please let us know how your experience goes.
We've run across a new 3D print service called "Kees", which specializes in personalized mobile phone cases. While there seems to be oh, a zillion iPhone case options out there, the Kees service permits significant customization, as you can see in the image below. Each option offers many different choices, with dozens of backgrounds and images. Push the button, pay USD$45 and you'll receive a personalized case.
We understand that in addition to the customizable designs, Kees will also offer fixed options from notable designers:
For our next step we will be offering specially designed Kees from various designers. These special editions will not be customisable, they are specially produced to the designers specifications. The first design studio to participate in this will be Dutch design studio 310k. 310k are based in Amsterdam and have a recognizable but undefinable style, of course we are very enthusiastic about this new direction.
Industrial Designer Joris van Tubergen and augmented reality artist Sander Veenhof have invented something we've not seen previously: a way to view your 3D printing operation using augmented reality.
Wait a sec, what does that mean? Watch the video above to see what we mean, but it is a way to observe the final appearance of your 3D print overlaid on the actual in-progress 3D print.
This process seems strange and unnecessary at first, but then we realized that we're always doing this at the lab. Looking at an in-progress print to see where it's at, how much is left to do, how the current layer's shape will fit into the final appearance.
van Tubergen says:
Although the techniques share a similar vision, they are opposites as well. Whereas augmented reality is instant and infinitely customizable, 3D printing takes time and the output is static. But what is the result when both are combined?
Now you can do this automatically with UltimARker. At this time it's only available for the Ultimaker and a particular vase, but we imagine a service could be made for any commonly available personal 3D printer that has an open case. Perhaps this should be a standard feature of personal 3D printers, at least until they get a lot faster.
For the last few decades, American companies have dominated and advanced the field of additive manufacturing to its current state. However, in a recent report from industry analyst Terry Wolhers, America’s dominance in additive manufacturing could be waning.
In preparation for Wohlers Associates annual Wohlers Report,the analysis firm hase released some data that might surprise a few people. Of all the manufacturers of professional grade 3D printers out there, 16 of them are from Europe, 7 are located in China, 5 call the US home and 2 reside in Japan. Compare that with data from a decade ago when 10 companies found there base in the US while Europe and Japan both had 7 companies and China rounded out the group with 3, and you’re beginning to see a change in the additive manufacturing landscape.
Read more at ENGINEERING.com
We're reading a post by Shelly Palmer of Huffington Post entitled, "3D Printing is Way Scarier Than Plastic Guns". Palmer describes the recent 3D printed gun scenario that we've covered in several posts and then goes on to suggest that the knee-jerk reactions of various politicians are misguided, sensational and "like putting a Band-Aid on a heart attack".
He feels these machines are indeed scary because, for example, one could 3D print guns not only in plastic, but in metal if you happened to have the right kind of 3D printer. And you can print any type of weapon imaginable, even those not even imagined yet. He says:
Plastic guns? Seriously. How about guns printed in steel, guns printed in carbon fiber, guns printed in, you name it - there's a 3D printer that can print in the medium. In a world of 3D printers, there is no such thing as gun control - people who are so inclined will print all the guns and ammo they need - untraceable, no serial numbers, no markings about point of origin, no trade marks, nothing!
He goes to propose that notwithstanding the potential problems, the "benefits of 3D printing are overwhelmingly positive".
We agree with this assessment. Over time 3D printers will become more capable and with vastly increased availability. At some point they will be commonplace and society must catch up, or at least react in some sensible way.
Being able to create any object on demand is powerful. But like any technology, it can be used for good or evil.
Think about it. What happened when suddenly everyone could write and say what they thought?
That didn't turn out bad, did it?
Via Huffington Post
Everyone loves mobiles - those delicately balanced sculptures that hang and swing. Artist Marco Mahler, in collaboration with fellow artist Henry Segerman, has released a collection of 3D printed mobiles this week that we find fascinating for several reasons.
First, Mahler explains that:
After an extensive Google search, it appears that these are the first fully 3D printed mobiles in the world.
There are a lot of things in the world and not all of them are 3D printed - yet. But artists such as Mahler are doing their part to convert the world's stuff into 3D models.
Aside from the precedent, the models (and there are a bunch of them) are very delicate. While mobiles are always light, the technology of 3D printing permits models of unusual shapes and dimensions. The precision of balance is designed to 1/1000 of a millimeter.
Another way Mahler has leveraged 3D printing is to create mobiles with a staggering number of parts. Children's mobiles are typically 6-12 pieces, but through the magic of mathematical generation, Mahler has one piece that is comprised of an astonishing 1365. Good thing you don't have to assemble that one yourself - it is 3D printed in assembled form.
You can have any of these amazing mobiles by purchasing them from Mahler's Shapeways shop. They come in 3D printed nylon, fulfilling one of Mahler's objectives:
Yay, finally a mobile we can put in the dishwasher!
The stock price of ExOne, makers of high-end commercial 3D printers specializing in sand and metal printing, took a 15% tumble yesterday - in sharp contrast to the few other 3D printing company stocks who continued to sail higher.
Why the tumble? Evidently ExOne missed analysts predictions for quarterly sales and per-share losses announced were almost twice as bad as expected.
The company assigned blame to the struggling European economy, which actually makes some sense to us. ExOne does not sell any low-end machines, meaning their customers are large industrial operations that can be subject to budget cutting. ExOne's strategy is to sell a few units at very high prices - but if the number of units is affected even slightly, they'll take a big hit, which is what seems to have happened here.
We're not too concerned, as demand for 3D printing continues to increase. Just because one company has hit a bump doesn't mean the ride is over.