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Sat Jan 21, 2012, 04:21 AM

The disruptive future of {3D} printing (BBC)

Imagine a school where a student could sketch out an idea for a new design of bicycle and not only draw it in 3D using a computer-aided design package but actually create a scale-model and test it out, using inexpensive materials and a special printer that they can build themselves in the classroom.

That's the vision put forward by Ben O'Steen, a software engineer with a social conscience who is thinking about the implications of a world where 3D printers are no longer just expensive prototyping systems for large companies but have fallen into the hands of the masses.

He has been inspired by the RepRap, a desktop 3D printer capable of printing plastic parts by extruding a heated thermoplastic polymer under computer control, which then sets as it cools and makes a usable object.

The RepRap project was started in 2005 by Adrian Bowyer, who teaches mechanical engineering at Bath University.

The schematics and all aspects are freely licensed for anyone to implement or adapt, and the current version, called "Mendel", can be built for around 350.

It makes objects from a cheap plastic made from corn starch, so is well within school budgets.
***
more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10089419

http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page

http://www.thingiverse.com/


18 replies, 2666 views

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 08:07 AM

1. The neat thing about rerap is that you only have to make one printer

and then you can print most of the parts to build more.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 09:30 AM

2. "Earl Gray, hot."

 

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 04:20 PM

7. Next up: tricorder scanners.

One by one, they're all coming true. I love it!

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Response to silverweb (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 04:26 PM

8. "Dang - the tricorder found my penile implant!!!"

 

"That's why they call you Bones, right?"

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 04:40 PM

9. I missed that episode.




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Response to silverweb (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 04:51 PM

10. It was in the outtakes.

 

Just kidding. I made that up.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 04:53 PM

11. Easy to imagine, though.



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Response to silverweb (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 05:00 PM

12. "That's funny coming from a guy who had sex with every moon princess and Tirakian slave girl...

 

...on the show"

-- Galaxy Quest

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 11:45 AM

3. I think I will make one

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 06:50 PM

4. People are already releasing files that let you make gun parts.

 

http://www.guns.com/how-to-use-a-3d-printer-to-build-an-ar-lower.html

3D printers can't make a complete gun...yet...but they can certainly make gun parts, including high-capacity magazines. The implications are interesting.

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Response to Jean V. Dubois (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 11:31 AM

5. I'm counting the days before the first really big ridiculous moral panic-fest over the things

I love them, but if there isn't a concerted attempt to outlaw them in the next few years I'll be (pleasantly) astonished. People gotta keep the fear engines at speed, dontchaknow.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 10:33 AM

14. The patent and copyright implications alone will turn things on their heads.

There are much more sophisticated commercial printers available, the ones that cost like $75K. A company in Europe called Shapeways uses them to 3D print objects in glass, steel, gold, silver, and other materials. They refuse to print copyrighted or trademarked objects, but I'm wondering what will happen when the quality of items they produce is available on everyone's desktop...

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Response to Occulus (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 04:04 PM

15. Yeah, the combination of that and the Think Of The Children freakouts will be .. interesting. (nt)

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 04:05 PM

6. Great for things made purely from cheap plastic

but a lot of designs require more sophisticated materials than thermoplastics.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 09:46 AM

16. Actually, this general category works for metals too.

SLS.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:44 AM

13. And the people making a mint...

...will be the ones selling innovative sex-toy designs.


"Hon, I've downloaded Shane Diesel's prick design. Do you want anything special done to it before I hit 'Print'?"

"Could you make it bumpy?"

"Yeah, no problem. Gimme a few minutes to add them. You want a lot or a little?"

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 09:47 AM

17. And there are 3D scanners too...

you can do all kinds of things.

I never thought about it, but you really are right. That's something people want, but might not want to go to a store to get.

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Response to originalpckelly (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:06 PM

18. Throughout the history of manufacturing...

...things were custom made. If you wanted a stool, you made a stool. If you wanted 5 stools, you made a stool and a stool and a stool and a stool and a stool. None of the parts of one were directly interchangeable with another.


Then came precision measuring and mechanization, and we got mass production. Now you could make a bin full of stool seats, another bin full of stool legs, and a third bin full of stool leg cross-members. If you needed 5 stools, or 500, you just took them out of the parts bin and assembled them.


Now we're stepping into the realm of mass-customization.

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