For a Museum of Mathematics fundraiser dinner, I created a series of mathematical table centerpieces. These are each eight inches in diameter and built on the hi-def color ZPrinter model 650 from 3D Systems. They vary in color and style, expressing different mathematical ideas in sculptural form. Some, like the above, convey an organic sensibility, while others are more geometric.
by General Fabb
This week's selection is sculptor George Hart's Centerpiece. Actually we should say, "centerpieces", as it's really a large collection of similar objects, each with variations in color design as well as structure.
We can show only a few of the amazing Centerpieces here. You can see all twenty-three sculptures at Hart's site at the link below.
Via George Hart
Considering that Shapeways is located in New York City, it seems a little strange that they did not exhibit at the Inside 3D Printing expo last week. But they had a rather good excuse: they've raised another round of funding from their existing investors to the tune of USD$30M.
Shapeways Director of Marketing Carine Carmy explained that they could not exhibit as they were overwhelmed with the investment announcement, which you must admit is pretty dramatic.
This is a staggering amount of cash, suggesting they have grand plans for world domination, or perhaps merely domination of 3D print services.
When we visited Shapeways "Factory of the Future", we were struck by the absolutely cavernous factory floor - most of which was empty. At the time the question we pondered was, "who's going to pay for all this space?"
The answer is now clear. Expect another 50 large scale 3D printers to appear in that space soon.
After 3D Systems' acquisition of ZCorp, they found themselves owners of the Zprinter line of the only full-color 3D printers available. These machines continued to be improved and new variations added up until this week.
What happened this week? 3D Systems has rebranded the entire Zprinter line into new ProJet models. No more Zprinters! The new machines not only have new names (although the numbering scheme is kinda similar, as, for example, the new ProJet 660 Pro strongly resembles the previous Zprinter 650) but also attractive new exterior styling that matches the rest of the ProJet line. You can see this style in the image above of a new ProJet 460 Plus.
The new printer line includes:
- ProJet 160 – compact size, most affordable monochrome printing
- ProJet 260C– compact size, most affordable full color 3D printer available
- ProJet 360 – medium size, monochrome printing affordability
- ProJet 460Plus – medium size, high-quality full color printing
- ProJet 660Pro – large format, premium-quality full color printing
- ProJet 860Pro – super-large format, premium-quality full color printing
This was an inevitable step, but it begs the question: when will full color capabilities be integrated into other 3D Systems products?
Via 3D Systems
At this point in time 3D printing has a significant amount of buzz. With that buzz comes investment, as entrepreneurs attempt to build new businesses in the new space.
But there's another kind of investment: raw capital. Wall Street types, attracted by the buzz, want to plow money into 3D printing startups, hopeful that they'll grow dramatically and convert that pile of money into an even bigger pile of money.
At this week's 3D printing conference in New York City, Wall Street is literally only blocks away. It was thus unsurprising that around 25% of the attendees were from the investment community. It was very common to see a name badge with "XYZ Capital Corp" or similar displayed.
That didn't prepare us for the blatant and aggressive investment conversations we heard. Consider these actual quotes overheard from a pair of well-suited gentlemen surveying the expo floor:
Which company is going to get big?
I'm looking for the next Shapeways!
And delivered in a tone similar to shopping at Wal-Mart. Yes, these are actual, true quotes from actual suits.
Who knew making millions was this easy?
Image Credit: Wikipedia
In a first for the Middle East, a full-service 3D printing shop has been founded in the Mar Mikhael-Rmeil neighborhood of Beirut.
Founded in March by veteran French Architect Guillaume Crédoz, the 3D printing shop, named Rapid Manufactory, will offer design, modelling, scanning, prototyping and even investment casting and ceramic production services to anyone.
Read more at ENGINEERING.com
You may have seen their periodic and increasingly frequent solicitations for new employees. These have indeed added up and we now find that MakerBot's staff exceeds 200 persons. This is vastly larger than almost all of the other personal 3D printer companies with the exception of the big commercial companies.
Along with their staff they've also been increasing their space, currently some 40,000sf and perhaps doubling by the end of the year to a massive 80,000sf.
Their NYC retail store still stands - but we speculated earlier that they just might open a London retail store. No one from MakerBot would confirm this - but there were no denials either. Odds of this happening? Increasing.
During our visit to New York City this week we heard directly from Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed on the latest progress they've had developing 3D models of functioning firearms.
During his talk at Inside 3D Printing, Wilson described some significant breakthroughs:
- Defense Distributed has been able to produce an ABS barrel able to withstand up to eleven rounds of live fire. Evidently an Acetone treatment increases the barrel's strength.
- Other previously metal parts, such as springs, have 3D printed equivalents under development.
- Large capacity magazine designs have been developed. Wilson says, "Magazines are easy to do".
- The team has been focusing on a design for a handgun in the past few months.
- Wilson has obtained a license to manufacture ammunition, and presumably will pursue this in the future. He's already obtained a license to manufacture firearms.
- Future plans include experimenting with more commonly available plastics that might be compatible with RepRap 3D printers.
During his talk, Wilson related a couple of rather interesting pieces to the backstory:
- When Stratasys revoked the lease on Wilson's uPrint, they apparently also referred his activities to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Wilson recalled spending several unpleasant hours explaining his project to them.
- The most frequent visitors to Defense Distributed's sites are the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice.
Regardless of your opinion of this project, it has to be done. Why? Because if Wilson isn't doing it, another surely will. Someone will do this work sooner or later, and, as Wilson puts it, the politicians will have to catch up to the technology.
Play this out in your mind five or ten years out. Will the legal frameworks be the same as today? We don't think so either.
We're reading a very short post on Zheng 3 where they attempted to print a Magic: The Gathering Beast Token. As you can see above, there were some very slight problems in successfully completing this operation.
And that's the problem - 3D printers are simply not sufficiently reliable. We've used many different 3D printers from many manufacturers and while they all have very different characteristics, one thing most 3D printers have in common are print failures.
It might happen immediately, partially, or tragically just as the print nears completion. Filaments seize or run out, objects unexpectedly unstick from the print bed, belts slip or calibration errors are unfortunately revealed. We've all been victims of these phenomena, even on the most expensive 3D printers. The odds of a successful print are not one hundred percent; they are lower than one hundred, sometimes a lot and sometimes not so much. But never one hundred.
If personal 3D printers are ever to succeed, the successful print ratio must be higher.
Via Zheng 3