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Comment We can't do everything, we should do nothing. (Score 1) 97

I think this is great. Sure, the 2013 Dreambox is only going to print you a piece of plastic crap. But they've got to start somewhere, and they're first in the space. That counts for something, haters opinions notwithstanding.

At the rate we're going, the 2017 Dreambox will be able to print you a functional circuit board to go with your plastic, and that's when things get really, really interesting.

But for now, yeah, plastic crap. Stay tuned.

Comment Complex geometry (Score 2) 242

The geometry of food has an effect on how we perceive taste, so it wouldn't shock me if chefs to specialize in molecular gastronomy started experimenting with novel structures once 3d food printers become commonplace.

A thousand quatloos to the first person to design creme bruleé shell with the texture of cotton candy, 3d printed in a popsicle form factor.

Comment Luxo Jr. (Score 2) 22

That second video is just great. The robot really looks like it's an animal trying to figure out how to get at the box.

It makes me wonder if we can get some Pixar animators to work on these robots when it comes to human interaction. I'd love to see a robot arm look all dejected when it can't figure out the problem, and then sheepishly ask its meatbag handler for help.

Comment Local Control of your 3D data (Score 4, Informative) 49

This looks a lot like Autodesk's 123D Catch, but the bonus here is you don't have to sign up for an account with Autodesk.

I for one would be pretty excited to have my 3D scan data local, so I don't have to wait for Autodesk's cloud to do the processing or have my scans tracked by a third party. I'm kind of not cool with Autodesk having a model of the inside of my bedroom, for instance.

I once did a 123D scan of a model sculpted out of banana bread: --the resolution's OK but I don't think I'd use this technology for anything that I planned to deform or edit too much. The geometry's just too dense to work with easily.

Comment Someone at Nokia is paying attention (Score 2) 129

Thingiverse recently updated its service to include a "Customizer" app, where users could drop in a bunch of OpenSCAD code and get a customized version of any object already on Thingiverse. The 3D model, anyway. You'd need a 3d printer or a Shapeways account to actually get the physical object.

Within minutes Thingiverse's new "thing" stream was flooded with uncountable variations of iPhone cases.

Comment Surprised it took this long (Score 1) 1862

I downloaded the model and looked at it; it's really not that complicated a shape. A first-year 3D design student could do it in a couple of hours provided they had a model to work from.

I was really hoping the model would include a decent 3d-printable spring, but apparently you have to purchase those separately and add them yourself.

These folks lack vision, though. Why stop at a 30-round magazine? As long as you've got the ability to print anything, why not a 300-round magazine that looks like Charleton Heston in a bikini?

Come on, Defcad, step it up.

Comment Nice, but incremental (Score 5, Interesting) 91

Disclaimer: I own a MakerBot Replicator 1, and haven't used any of the models published in the article. These printers look promising and have attractive price points, but here are my two big complaints about home 3D printing that none of them address yet, AFAIK.

1. printing with ABS plastic literally stinks. If your printer's in the garage or shop it's probably not so bad, but woe to the user that keeps one of these printers in a home office. Good ventilation is a must, but breezes and drafts can significantly mess with your print quality. I prefer to print with PLA (corn-based) plastic, because it smells like Mrs. Butterworth's imitation maple syrup. Makerbot's already doing this with its Replicator 2-- as I understand it they've given up on ABS for their first version and only print with PLA.

2. Overhangs. I doubt any of these printers can yet print an overhang that's more than 2mm without post-processing support. Gravity tends to pull overhangs down during the printing process, meaning the object's designer has to take the orientation of the printed object into account when designing it. As amazing as home 3D printing is, this is a pretty severe limitation once one gets past printing cubes and scans of heads.

The first company to produce a 3D printer that can handle big overhangs has my upgrade cash.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman