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3D Printer Round-Up: Cube 3D, Up! Mini, and Solidoodle 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the bang-for-your-buck dept.
MojoKid writes "3D printing is a fascinating new technology and an exploding new market. The process involved is pretty basic actually. Heat up some plastic, and sort of like that Play-Doh Fun Factory you were so fond of as a kid, you extrude the melted plastic out to create objects. It all started back in 2007 when the first RepRap machine was built. The idea behind RepRap was to design a machine that could build complex parts in three dimensions using extruded molten plastic and that machine could also "self-replicate" or build a copy of itself. Since then, 3D printers of all types have emerged from the community and this round-up of machines covers a few of the more prominent names in 3D printing systems. The Cube 3D, the Up! Mini and the Solidoodle 2 can all get you into 3D printing at retail consumer price points with precision down to 100 microns. The technology has very much come of age and it's going to be interesting to see where these machines can take us."
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3D Printer Round-Up: Cube 3D, Up! Mini, and Solidoodle

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  • by skitchen8 (1832190) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @10:33PM (#42344059)
    Bit extreme, no? I've used Craigslist and eBay both as a buyer and seller and never once have I had a single problem. Sure fraud happens there, but fraud happens everywhere, it is not unique to either platform. All that is required is user intelligence, and kickstarter is not much different except for instead of buying a product that maybe someone will never send you you are buying a product that maybe will never exist. Besides that: Kickstarter, though it has its problems, has also had its deal of successes where people that don't have the ability to make things but have the money to buy them are paired up with people that have the ability to make things but not the money to sell them. The only people that could be mad at Kickstarter are people too dumb to read and understand what they are getting from investing in a campaign (read: good feelings for trying to help out what they perceive as a good idea). If you're backing a campaign because you want to buy a finished product you're doing it wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @10:44PM (#42344133)

    Your claim, that it is not possible for two similar non-obvious solutions to be arrived at independently is itself open to ridicule.

    Sure, it's possible. That's not the question. Should it result in the issuance of a 20-year government-sanctioned monopoly?

    Only a sociopath would say as much.

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @10:51PM (#42344179)

    RepRap only makes plastic parts, not quite two-thirds of itself. Compare that with a serious milling machine (and note not even a CNC one), which can and has made over 95% of itself since the 1940s.....

    It's a toy for making cute plastic parts.....

  • by Scytheford (958819) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:22AM (#42345621)

    Yeah OK, I'll bite.

    A) Skill
    Nearly anyone can operate a 3D printer quietly, cleanly, inexpensively and safely. Comparing a lathe or mill to a 3D printer is akin to rubbishing a Ford Focus because it's not an F-15. Someone having read a wiki can download an STL from thingiverse, click print and enjoy the results. Getting good at machining takes years of dedication.

    B) Cost
    A reprap can be built for under $800 and a little elbow grease. The cheapest vertical mill is about USD$4k, not including shipping, installation, and replacing the shitty bits. Running costs for a reprap are far lower also, both in terms of power consumption, tooling and stock.

    C) Part strength
    Obviously this is where Fused Deposition Method (FDM) printing can't keep up to a part machined from steel or aluminium, but that's not the point. There are a great many things around the average house or workshop for which a 3D-printed part would be perfectly suitable. Examples:

    Buckle clip:
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1272 [thingiverse.com]
    Wifi-driven tank (Disclaimer: mine):
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:13496 [thingiverse.com]
    Goddamned quadcopter (also mine):
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:26041 [thingiverse.com]
    Angle brackets:
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:34422 [thingiverse.com]
    Storage bins:
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:38194 [thingiverse.com]
    Tape dispenser:
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:34816 [thingiverse.com]

    In summary: Nobody is going to install a mill in their home office. 3D printed parts are suitable for many actually useful applications, not just trivial frippery.

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