Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's Time to Specialize!

We are at a momentous time in the progress of 3D printing development.

With the advent of Cubify and the Cube 3D printer, for the first time we have a 3D printing product clearly aimed at the general consumer population.

While consumer 3D printers have always been my hope and goal.  And, will probably occupy the greater focus of my energy, I do not want that focus to cause confusion or neglect of the other great 3D printing products new emerging.

So I have decided to divide the coverage of 3D printing developments into two different blogs. will concentrate specifically on the Cubify and Cube user community.  It will deal with everything at a consumer interest level.

This site will be devoted to what I will call the "Light Industrial" machines, otherwise known as RepRap machines.  I don't define these by price.  To some extent, they are defined by the fact that they can be customized by the user in profound ways.  Sure, consumers can purchase and use them.  But, most of those consumers are not going to be attracted to the Cube.  They will be more hands-on individuals.

The Cube will not be entirely neglected here.  Any time I have important new posts, I will add a link and a short description here to the article on the Cubify Fans blog.  But, I want this blog to focus on a hugely creative bunch of people improving and expanding the capabilities of RepRap machines.

In the meantime, you might like this video of what NOT to design for your 3D printer!!!

What comes to mind is that we really need to grapple with the liability issues of putting up our homemade designs for others to build.  But, that is a whole different topic for another time.

To be fair, as long as you don't have to answer your iPhone, the shoes are pretty cool!

No matter what your interest in 3D printing, we hope to try to keep up with developments as quickly as possible.  And, we also promise NOT to simply throw up press releases!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

At Long Last! 3D Printing for the Rest of Us!

If you look to the right on this page you will see that this blog began many years ago as it became evident that 3D creation and 3D printing were destined to be invited into the homes of consumers. While it didn't happen as quickly as I had hoped, I am extremely excited to be able to say that the longed for days are finally here with the introduction of and the Cube desktop 3D printer by 3D Systems. and the Cube were rolled out at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week. If you'd like to see the Cube in action here is a link to the first C/Net CES report by Brian Tong.

But, of course, we also need to acknowledge the creative work of those pioneers in the RepRap community upon which this achievement was built.

RepRap from Adrian Bowyer on Vimeo.
What is different about the Cube 3D Printer is that it is not a kit and its design and packaging are consumer friendly.
Is it where home 3D printing is still destined to go? No. The surfaces it produces are not going to be perfectly smooth. But, it's going to be more than good enough to encourage our creative juices to flow freely in a way few inventions have done before. And, believe it or not, I am convinced that it is going to encourage our children and grandchildren to see opportunitees in the world around them in a whole new way!
In the coming days, weeks and months our knowledge and experience with the Cube will grow. But, for now, I'm just going to congratulate 3D Systems and say "Thank you!"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Picking Up And Moving Forward!

This blog was created in 2007. Even back then it was evident that 3D printing was going to be inevitable. The only question was how soon and how costly.

It was started in May of that year. And, it continued until December of that same year when, with the sale of Desktop Factory to 3D Systems, the maker of the V-Flash, it became apparent that it was going to be a while before 3D printers would be affordable to consumers and artists... the groups of most interest to me.

Fortunately, Cathy Lewis, the CEO of Desktop Factory, who is now Vice President, Global Marketing, for 3D Systems, never turned her back on the quest for an affordable 3D printer. And, neither have her superiors. In fact, 3D Systems, a maker of high-end systems, has embraced the low end marketplace by acquiring and marketing the Rapman, 3DTouch and BotMill products!

Equally fortunately, some creative and innovative individuals have also worked hard to bring the costs and complexities of owning a 3D printer down to well under $1,000. One of the more intriquing products in terms of both cost and simplicity to build is the Printrbot, by Brook Drumm.

So, the time has come to pick up the dream, dust it off and begin anew to explore a budding industry that may be surprisingly near to that tipping point where it will become as common as color laser printers in homes and businesses.

While I plan to pick up one or more 3D printers, this blog will not focus on any particular brand. At the core, it will be about 3D printing, not 3D printers. Of course, we will talk about the 3D printers we use because that will be our primary experience. All we can promise is that we'll just do the best we can to explain anything and everything that we discover as we trot off on our own 3D printing adventures.

We'll also do our best to encourage developers to come up with new 3D design programs that create printable objects with user interfaces that are a LOT easier than those on the market now. For 3D printing to thrive, we have to have intuitive 3D software tools. Again, there are some promising developments in this arena, too. But, those products that seem most promising also seem to have limitations when it comes to producing a mesh that lens itself to object printing. But, this WILL change. And, we will try to follow the progress of bringing the hardware and software requirements to a successful synergy for consumers and artists.

Our background is video and photography. So, we will try to capture as many videos and high quality stills that we can to explain what we are seeing and experiencing. When things go wrong, we will try to visually document what, why and how fix it.

Finally, we will try to search out and identify as many resources on the web as we can find. In fact, while we wait for our first 3D printer to arrive, that will be our first task. It's amazing how many wonderful and enthusiastic 3D printing resources have come to exist in just 4 years.

This is going to be fun! A LOT of fun!!