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Fascinating stuff aint it, I've seen the 3D printers used to make architectural models, they are way cool, you cant beleive the level of detail they can replicate, but they are also way expensive, most basic versions start at $3K, good ones are $10K, great ones are $100K.
 

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This is kind of an off-shoot of Stereolithography used in rapid prototyping in the manufacturing industry. It's great to see it coming into possible home use. A stereolithography machine capable of producing an object in a one cubic foot work area is about 100k-150K dollars and is a slow process. I did see a 3D prototype machine, used by manufacturing students in machine technology,  using ink-jet technology at Cal State Los Angeles about seven or eight years ago during a seminar for MasterCam software (Cad-Cam). That unit then was about 25K-30K. They have come down in price as technology increases. They are great for small manufacturing companies to show their products in three-dimensional form to help engineering and finally the manufacturing process and cost. We live in a great time!:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea, the company that I retired from had around 12 of rapid prototyping machines in the R&D department and yes each one cost big bucks. I just thought that it was nice to see the advancement in technology bringing the overall cost down to the realm of home hobby use.

It could make the market shift a bit and open a new business niche, to the selling/purchasing of designs that you can download, plug into your machine and make your own parts.

Who knows, maybe next we'll see powered metal technology make it to the home hobby use arena. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
 

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I saw a program on the tube about medicine in 50 years. They were essentially printing this guy a new heart with what amounted to an ink jet printer. Instead of ink, the printer was laying down layers of living heart cells and building up the three-dimensional organ layer by layer. Amazing.

'Course, the program also said that health insurance would consume 50% of your income as well. ;)
 

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Dwight according to my employer a good share of my total benefits package is my health care and when weighed against what I recieve in "take home pay" it is more than 50% right now. The future is here now in that regard.

Chas
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Posted By Dwight Ennis on 01/22/2008 10:25 AM
I saw a program on the tube about medicine in 50 years. They were essentially printing this guy a new heart with what amounted to an ink jet printer. Instead of ink, the printer was laying down layers of living heart cells and building up the three-dimensional organ layer by layer. Amazing.

'Course, the program also said that health insurance would consume 50% of your income as well. ;)

Yes, just last week they had a program on the local PBS station showing how some researchers had taken a rat heart, killed all the cells, washed them out of the casing that surrounds the heart. Then introduced stem-cells and grew a living beating replacement, next they were moving on to a pig heart, which is supposed to be darn close to a human heart.

Oh, how I remember laughing when I saw the Frankenstein movie, that'll teach me to make snap judgments. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
 

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That's cool.

Yes, never say "impossible!"

"There will never be more than 5 computers in the USA."
 

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Posted By SteveC on 01/22/2008 8:59 AM


Try this on for prototyping and custom parts.
www.flixxy.com/3d-printing.htm

This development certainly opens up some great possibilities within our own hobby.  In fact, this computer world of ours seems to have revolutionized just about everything. I wonder if our hobby would even have taken off had there been no internet to make it so readily widespread at such an affordable cost (relatively speaking, of course). 
 

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I think you's could make one of those.
 

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My son makes his living selling, servicing, and doing prototyping with these kind of machines at an outfit called ProtoPulsion in the Bay Area. These machines are really cool...and prices for them now start now around $20K...but they're projecting the cost will dip to $2K to $3K within a few years. I've been into the plant and seen the machines work. The machines I saw were able to hold 0.0006" tolerances...and printed using ABS plastic...and those tolerances are getting smaller every year. The kicker is, though, the finer the tolerance, the longer it takes to make the part. The surfaces they produce are not as smooth as you'd get with an injection molder, but one key use for the machines is printing the master to be used in an injection mold. When used like this, each part requires some hand finishing to get the mold master smooth, but the parts are clearly good enough out of the printer to test fit and function.

I saw lots of examples of items they'd made in the machines....many toys, figurines, dashboard parts for cars (I've always wondered how those things got designed and debugged), and lots of cases for electrical devices. Probably, the most valuable aspect of the work they do is developing prototypes for the engineers to give the marketing folks for feedback. Months of work are reduced to days...as items can have their design changed in hours or days...and resubmitted for a prototyping run....even across the internet.

They also sell a 3D scanner...and that thing is pretty amazing too. You put reference stickers on a 3D item...and move the scanner around it by hand. The scanner software uses the reference marks and creates a 3D CAD file (I think) of the exterior shape...and tells you where it needs more scanning information when it can't figure out the shape. This has an even wider set of applications in that you can now make digital records of 3D objects .... big items too...like tanks and locomotives. With sets of 3D files, engineering changes into already built stuff is made much more simple...and the prototyping machine can make the parts to see if they fit right.

I'm looking at these machines and thinking that some day soon, you'll be able to order a specific locomotive or car off a web site...have it printed...and shipped to your home for you to assemble...or a building...or a load for a car...or a figure....or ..... it's endless.
 

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Probably, the most valuable aspect of the work they do is developing prototypes for the engineers to give the marketing folks for feedback. Months of work are reduced to days...


That's what I do for a living, and I can tell you that the faster you give marketing a prototype, the more times they can say, "Nah, that's not it. Give us something else." This hardware may speed up the design process, but it won't affect the design ACCEPTANCE process at all.

That said, this is definitely very cool.
 

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Posted By astrayelmgod on 01/22/2008 8:30 PM
Probably, the most valuable aspect of the work they do is developing prototypes for the engineers to give the marketing folks for feedback. Months of work are reduced to days...


That's what I do for a living, and I can tell you that the faster you give marketing a prototype, the more times they can say, "Nah, that's not it. Give us something else." This hardware may speed up the design process, but it won't affect the design ACCEPTANCE process at all.

That said, this is definitely very cool.'

Yeah I to work in a drafting design element and I cans ay that all new products are done using 3d solidmodelling software similar to what I believe it was Dwight was using to design some live steam stuff a while ago? With the photo realistic rendering possible we fooled the folks in marketing into thinking we had done prototypes already. Seriously, they came down wanting to see the prototype. LOL!  The 3d printers just make that possible. 

Chas
 

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We have one of these at work, Turns a bucket of white powder into an object. Users Inkjet cartridges ti color it. The only problem is, everything from the one we have comes out very brittle. But I guess you can make a mold when turns into a real part in the end. Im pretty sure accucraft, aster or one of the big manufactures does this already when they make our production engines.

This is the model we have:

http://www.zcorp.com/Products/3D-Printers/155/spage.aspx

There is a video button on the right on that page. That shows things about it.

-Andrew
 

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I wonder if you can make an engine or some rolling stock with one of those printershttp://www.mylargescale.com/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
 
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