Tag Archives: Replicator

Infographic: From 3D printing to Star Trek

The folks at BestComputerScienceSchools have put together an informative infographic that details the rapidly evolving 3D industry.

“On the original Star Trek TV series from the 1960s, they had their fictional replicator technology that materialized food, drink and non-edible objects. Well, now 3D printing is turning fiction into fact,” the BestComputerScienceSchools crew explained in a blog post accompanying the infographic.

“There’s even a 3D printer by MakerBot Industries called the Replicator. Okay, we’re not quite at the Star Trek level yet, but the number of objects we can ‘print’ is quickly growing, and the list includes useful things such as human organs, limbs and even synthetic food including pizza… In the near future, you could very well order something online and have it created in front of you from a home or office 3D printer — not unlike the Star Trek replicator.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the DIY Maker Movement has been using Atmel-powered 3D printers for some time now. However, 3D printing has clearly entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including the medical sphere, architectural arena and science lab.

Indeed, the meteoric rise of 3D printing is paving the way for a new generation of Internet entrepreneurs, Makers and do-it-yourself (DIY) manufacturers. As such, the lucrative 3D printing industry remains on track to be worth a staggering $3 billion by 2016.

Atmel-powered MakerBot Replicator goes to the movies

Jason Lopes of Legacy Effects routinely uses an Atmel-powered MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer to create the physical objects that power CG-animated movie magic. In fact, Legacy Effects uses 3D printed parts in all of its productions – ranging from simple proof-of-concept models to actual production-ready props.

“This is where knowledge of 3D printing comes in handy. It’s one thing to make a 3D printed part great looking and another to make the strongest possible 3D printed part,” the lead systems engineer told the official MakerBot blog. “The value to be able to prototype on a small scale is priceless. It allows us to make a physical piece out of a creative thought at any point.”

After meeting MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis at last year’s 3D Print Show in London, Jason said he decided to “take the plunge,” giving the MakerBot Replicator 2 a ten-day trial at Legacy Effects. Unsurprisingly, the Atmel-powered MakerBot Replicator 2 produced fast, high-quality builds that won Jason over in just two short days.

“People were amazed while I was handing over versions that were produced on the Replicator 2 within minutes,” he said.

Most recently, Jason used his MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers to produce test fittings on costumes for the upcoming “Captain America” sequel.

The lead systems engineer also noted that he was an active participant and educator in 3D printing communities, using the influx of new enthusiasts as motivation to “up his game.”

“Five years ago, I could not have the conversations that I do today. We haven’t [really] seen anything yet, in my opinion,” he added.

Penn State talks MakerBot and 3D printing

The meteoric rise of 3D printing has paved the way for a new generation of Internet entrepreneurs, Makers and do-it-yourself (DIY) manufacturers. So it comes as little surprise that the lucrative 3D printing industry is on track to be worth a staggering $3 billion by 2016.

“Information technology in manufacturing is really transforming what’s possible,” explained Irene Petrick, a senior lecturer at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST). “3D printing just changes how we think about who a manufacturer is in the first place. I don’t have to be an engineer to design and I don’t have to be a traditional manufacturer to produce… [So] it’s really not the existing manufacturers [who] are going to drive how the future of manufacturing evolves.”

Recently, the IST acquired a new Atmel-powered MakerBot 3D printer to replace the very first printer the college purchased in 2007.

“When the original printer died last year we found out it would cost $8,000 to fix. The new 3D printer, a MakerBot Replicator 2, costs under $2,500. The material used to build objects is also less expensive with the Replicator,” said 3D visualization researcher Wade Shumaker. “The fact that the Replicator is more affordable opens it up to a wider base of users, and there is a much larger community of users which has arisen and become a very open source group of DIYers.”

As Shumaker notes, the DIY open source mindset has prompted users to share 3D objects they’ve designed.

“This has led to sites like www.thingiverse.com and www.makezine.com, where you can find 3D objects to download for free and to buy which include everything from functional items (knobs, handles, iPhone holders, bottle openers) to art (jewelry, sculptures, toys) to medical supplies (braces, ID bracelets, hemostats, models of organs),” he continued. “I think what you’re going to find over the next few years is 3D printing is going to become a little more mainstream. When people break something, instead of going out and buying a replacement, they’re going to print it out.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the DIY Maker Movement has been using Atmel-powered 3D printers like MakerBot and RepRap for some time now. However, 3D printing recently entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including the medical sphere, architectural arena, science lab and even on the battlefield.

Transform your world with MakerBot’s 3D Digitizer

MakerBot is currently accepting pre-orders for its new Digitizer 3D scanner, with shipping slated to kick off in October. The Digitizer is currently priced at $1,400, plus an optional $150 for MakerCare, a comprehensive service and support program.

Essentially, MakerBot’s Digitizer allows users to quickly “transform” (scan) objects and items into 3D models that can be easily modified, shared and printed on 3D printers like the company’s Atmel-powered MakerBot Replicator 2.

“With just two clicks, the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner’s simple yet sophisticated software creates clean, watertight 3D models that are ready to 3D print,” the MakerBot crew explained on the company website.

“We’ve optimized the whole process to work seamlessly with MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers, but you get standard design files to use on the 3D printer of your choice. You don’t need any design or 3D modeling skills to get started, and it all happens in just minutes.”

Indeed, the MakerBot Digitizer outputs standard 3D file formats, so Makers can improve, shape, mold, twist, animate and transform objects in a third-party 3D modeling program. There is no patching, stitching, or repairing required, so Makers are able to skip straight to the creative process. Adding one 3D model to another is easy, like putting a hat on top of a gnome. Plus, Makers can either scan a second object, or search for it on Thingiverse.com, scaling down and multiplying targeted objects to create charms or game pieces.

Additional information about MakerBot’s 3D printer lineup and Digitizer is available here.