Tag Archives: rapid

QU-BD Combo CNC Mill And 3D Printer Pre-Order Interview

I’ve been saying for a while that there’s nothing inherently expensive about 3D printing technology…at least not the FFF type. Assuming the technology becomes more popular over the next few years (which I do) I don’t see any reason why 3D printers couldn’t become as cheap and ubiquitous as 2D printers.

However, 3D printing has weaknesses, not the least of which is that it can’t work in metal.* You can take the plastic parts and cast metal parts from them, but the heat and gases have side effects that nobody in their right mind would ever allow inside a house. It is possible to work metal by machining it in a small CNC mill, as demonstrated by the ease of finding a desktop mill on Google. Since 3D printers and CNC mills function so similarly, why not combine both functions into one machine?

QU-BD is working on that. Openalia interviewed them back when they were coming off of a successful effort to Kickstarter their own thermoplastic extruder. Now they’ve arrived at the main event, the beta Rapid Prototyping Mill (RPM) pre-order. This design is important because it has the potential to create all of the (non-electrical) parts for a 3D printer, including its own extruder. Read through the interview with Chelsea Thompson after the jump to learn a little bit about the RPM and the Revolution, which is an all-metal frame 3D printer.

* I’m limiting the analysis to current technology. Sure, there might be an unforeseen breakthrough in materials science in the near future, but that’s a different discussion.

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Ford Officially Backing Open Source 3D Printers

In a press release Ford Motor Company bragged about using 3D printing in general, and the open source Makerbot Thing-O-Matic in particular, to develop some of the smaller plastic parts for its vehicles. Zack Nelson, the engineer in the video, lists the easy availability of design files and community support as benefits to using the open source machine.

The full text of the press release is after the jump.

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Make Magazine Is Planning The “Ultimate 3D Printer Shootout” Issue

If any single publication can claim to represent the maker movement, I suppose Make Magazine is it.

John Abella says they are working on a massive guide to 15 hobby-level 3D printers, to be released in November. It looks like some of the designs they’ll be comparing are the Printrbot, 3D Touch, SeeMeCNC, Felix, Lulzbot, Up!, Solidoodle, Makerbot Replicator and Ultimaker.

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Interview With Marco Perry of PENSA About The DIWire

Marco Perry is co-founder of PENSA, a New York consultancy that designs and improves products. It wouldn’t be too far off to say that innovation is his business. A short while ago Pensa designed, demonstrated and then open sourced an automatic wire forming printer. In case you aren’t familiar with it, here’s an overview:

The DIWire has attracted a lot of attention and Pensa is even planning on unveiling an improved version at the 2012 Maker Faire. Openalia sat down with Mr. Perry for a quick discussion of the DIWire specifically, and open source hardware in general.

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QU-BD Open Source Design & Manufacturing Startup, Interview

Teamwork is a wonderful thing. Frequently the world has to put up with 1) inventors who don’t market their product or interact with their community enough to be successful or 2) marketers who don’t engineer their product enough to produce something of real value. Occasionally the stars align and people have the sense to build a team with overlapping skills rather than try to go it alone.

QU-BD is taking the teamwork approach. They are a four-person startup, Chelsea Thompson is majoring in communication and is the (active and prolific) face of QU-BD, Nathan Meyers is a serial entrepreneur, Courtney Kinggard has a background in architecture and interior design, and David Mainard brings not only a 35 year career in machining and industrial design, but also his own machine shop. From the back-end David and Nathan bring experience, design expertise, and decades-long relationships with suppliers; from the front-end Chelsea brings an infectious excitement and real-time interaction with the community.

Their “little indie 3D printing and milling company” is 100% committed to being open source. not only does the philosophy determine what they design/build, it also informs their business model. They are pricing their wares at the minimum responsible margins. That way they can focus on high volume which will get open source rapid prototyping technology into the hands of as many people as possible.

More after the jump.  Continue reading

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All The Plans for PENSA!’s DIWire Aluminum Wire Printer

A little while ago PENSA! wowed (a specific section of) the open source maker community with a few teasers for a brand new desktop rapid prototyping machine.

Their DIWire (DIY’er…get it?) takes aluminum wire and bends it into any shape specified in a wide variety of file formats. It’s a compelling idea and now that they’ve released all of the design files on Google Code and Thingiverse the community can start using and improving it.

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Selected Quotes From RepRap Inventor Dr Adrian Bowyer

Read this stuff. Then get your RepRap supplies from the man himself.

3D manufacturing, or printing, is the most versatile production method humanity has yet come up with.

The role of the core team is to design the mechanics, electronics and software for the ‘standard’ RepRap….My role is to scratch my head and to wonder where it’s all going…

We estimate (though this is probably not a very accurate figure) that there are about 2,500 RepRaps and RepRap derivatives in the world. That’s from a total of four at the start of 2008. So there are almost certainly thousands of hobbyists doing exactly that. Things will get interesting when it becomes hundreds of millions, and to get there is my vision for the project.

The interesting thing about a widespread takeup of this technology is the way it would bypass conventional finance. The machines would be creating great wealth, but would be almost valueless themselves…A manufacturing machine that can copy itself can create goods like no other technology we have – it is the only way to do so with exponential growth, for example. But by that very fact, both the machine and those goods have a value that, as the technology spreads, asymptotically approaches the value of the raw materials used.

Conventional manufacturing produces goods in an arithmetic progression. But a self-copying 3D printer produces goods – and itself – in a geometric progression. And, no matter how slow it is, any geometric progression overtakes every arithmetic progression, no matter how fast, eventually.

I think that OS is in general a good thing anyway. The alternative is various forms of intellectual monopoly, and I can see no real justification for any of them.

When one has a machine that self-copies, logic compels one to make it open-source. The alternative is that one will spend the rest of one’s life in court trying to stop people doing with the machine the one thing it was most designed to do.

If this technology becomes very wide-spread, and if a large number of personal users have them in their homes, what’s going to happen to the whole idea of patents and copyrights? Of course, the answer is found in what has happened over the last ten years in recorded music. Nearly every country on Earth has laws protecting copyright and nearly every 17-year-old has 30 gigabytes of illegally-downloading MP3s on their hard drives. You can’t sue the entire human race.

The interesting thing about 3D printing is that it doesn’t replace one manufacturing industry, it could replace them all.

I expect RepRap will be resisted by many industries, but I’m far too old and uninterested in that aspect of the world to take on any fights. If the idea works the resistance is bound to fail, if not the resistance will have been pointless.

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DIY Wire Bender from PENSA!

PENSA! has demonstrated a new DIY rapid prototyping machine.

Their wire bender can take 3D files, vector files, or even text files, and automatically “print” them out with aluminum wire.

The shapes it can make are truly impressive. Also, one of the first things they printed was a text bubble with the word “$#!?” in it. My kind of people.

They just released this little marvel on May 2nd. Hopefully, they’ll provide the design files so we (I) can add yet another machine to the DO WANT list.

Found on Core77 and Hack A Day.

For what it’s worth, a year ago the P2P Foundation listed a “CNC wire bender” in their hypothetical Digital Manufacturing Ecosystem. They got it 2/3 right…PENSA!’s works in 3D instead of 2D.

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