This is worth a look, there is magic for three seconds :http://formlabs.com/ .
3D printing geeks have become very excited about Formlabs' Form 1, the first home-oriented stereolithography 3D printer. While affordable 3D printers are becoming more widespread, what makes the Form 1 special is that instead of piping resin through an extruder, it uses lasers to heat and harden a point within a bath of liquid …
Monday 1st October 2012 10:15 GMT Ru
Heating the resin?
I'm sure most other folk used a resin which cured when zapped with bright light. I'd be surprised if this device didn't do the same, only with a small laser and a little mirror on a galvanometer head instead of a DLP-based system.
Worth noting that the resin ir produces won't be as tough as extruded or sintered plastic, nor as easy to work with post-build... and perhaps most importantly, you can't build a model in multiple different colours. Make a nice desktop prototyping rig though, especially if they keep to that price and don't go all budget-inkjet-printer-manufacturer on their pricing schemes.
Monday 1st October 2012 10:50 GMT Dave 126
This Formlabs system doesn't work in the same way as traditional SLS systems. They can add material to the model at any x,y,z point in the tank of resin, since they rely on two intersecting lasers to polymerise the resin (one laser leaving the resin unaffected). However, two lasers, a tank of resin and correction for refraction as the lasers cross material boundries are required.
Formlabs build layer by layer, using supports, much like sintering or fused material deposition (FDM, the most common '3D printing') only upside down. Pictures here: Formlabs printer
Monday 1st October 2012 10:53 GMT jai
Monday 1st October 2012 11:52 GMT Giles Jones
Monday 1st October 2012 20:52 GMT Anonymous Coward
Need 3D laser scanner to go with it
There's all manner of stupid little bits of plastic that snap and you wish you could replace them.
Of course the real problem then is learning to use a CAD system to be able to produce the 3D model of what you want to make :)
Then you don't need a CAD system, so long as you (or some helpful person on the web) can scan an unbroken version of that plastic part.
Then the next question is how would the strength of these replacement parts hold up? If they can make it as strong as whatever that horrible stuff that's used for packaging that is difficult (and dangerous if you're careless) to cut even with some heavy duty scissors, then they'll really have something!
Monday 1st October 2012 12:55 GMT Robert Helpmann??
New Opportunity for Office Theft
I would imagine this new tech will play out just like color printing and photocopying did before. Offices will invest in it on some pretense, workers will use it more for personal use than for what it was officially purchased, the price will come down enough for personal ownership to become widespread, and (finally) tons of money will make its way to printer manufacturers who will charge for the media at >1000% markup on its original value.
Look here for a sneak peek at the end game: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/07/04/printer_ink_seven_times_more/
In the mean time, plenty of minis and toys to be printed on the boss' dime.
Monday 1st October 2012 13:59 GMT Ian Michael Gumby
A Challenge for EL Reg!
Can you get your hands on one and use it to manufacture all of the parts required to put together for a remote controlled glider or RC plane?
Imagine making all of the frame and struts out of this plastic including the propeller.
Then all you would have to do would be to assemble the parts and put a skin on it.
I would think this would be a unique opportunity to sell more airplane models as well as a way to teach aerodynamics.
Or even RC boats.