Microsoft Adds 3D Support to Windows 8.1

Microsoft is adding 3D printer support with the release of Windows 8.1. The idea is to make the process for 3D printing as simple as sending a Word document to your inkjet printer. Microsoft is even baking in the ability to adjust certain characteristics of the design before it is sent to the 3D printer to be sliced. The video (link below) shows a Microsoft engineer capturing a 3D image of themselves using the Microsoft Kinect and easily sending the design to a Makerbot to print. What is beautiful is that Microsoft is releasing an SDK that will make it easy for developers to integrate support directly into their own applications. Support is expected for a wide variety of popular printers, including the Makerbot, Cubify and open-source printers. Microsoft’s adoption of 3D printing will hopefully help bring down one more barrier to the mass adoption of 3D printing.

SOURCE: The Official Microsoft Blog


3D Print Your Own Drone

3D Printed Drone

Jasper van Loenen, an independent designer in the Netherlands, has created a very clever set of 3D printed clamps that can make any object a drone. Mr. Loenen has provided the necessary STL files to print the plastic components. Get yourself a receiver, four electronic speed controllers (ESCs), a bluetooth module and a flight controller and you too can have your very own drone. Who said you couldn’t make your textbook fly?

SOURCE: Jasper van Loenen, Engadget


Layer By Layer: A New Twist on the 3D Printing Marketplace

Laye By Layer Home Screen

Layer By Layer, a 3D printing marketplace, puts a new twist on the process for downloading and printing 3D objects. There are already some great marketplaces out there, including Shapeways and Thingiverse (Makerbot), but both have their limitations. Shapeways is great for designers because they get paid when their designs are printed, but it doesn’t allow users to download designs to print on their own 3D printers. Thingiverse provides the platform for downloading designs, but designers can’t monetize their creations. This is where Layer By Layer is trying a different model. Continue reading

3D Printing Batteries on a Micro Scale

Photo from Hansjorg Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University Harvard Shield

Photo from Hansjorg Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University Harvard Shield

The reaction to first learning about 3D printing is usually one of intrigue and then pondering what the capabilities are for the technology. The simple answer to the functional use question is that 3D printing streamlines the process for prototyping a product. The futuristic idea is that the technology will make it possible to print anything right inside your house, without the need to ever go to the store. The reality, however, is that the technology has far wider implications beyond commercial use.

Jennifer Lawrence, Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and her team of researchers from Harvard and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created a 3D printing process for making microbatteries that could be used in a wide spectrum of applications, including micro medical and communication devices. Continue reading

Stratasys Acquires Makerbot for $403M

Stratasys Acquires Makerbot

The rumors of a sale are true. Only weeks after opening their swanky new facility in Brooklyn, NY, Makerbot has been acquired by Stratasys (Nasdaq: SSYS). We might never know all the interested parties in acquiring Makerbot, but Stratasys’s acquisition shows the market is heating up and consolidating. Stratasys already went through a $1.4 billion merger in December 2012 with Objet, an Israeli based 3D printing company. The acquisition places Stratasys in direct competition with 3D Systems, another major player who already has a consumer printer, the Cubify.

Makerbot has sold 22,000 printers since their founding in 2009, which includes 11,000 of their newest printer, the Makerbot Replicator 2. When the acquisition closes, Stratasys plans on maintaining Makerbot as a separate subsidiary with current CEO Bre Pettis still leading the division.



3D Printing Store from Amazon: A Game Changer?

3D Printing Store from Amazon

When I went to order PLA filament for the first time for my 3D printer, I started with a list of suppliers on the RepRap Suppliers wiki. I systematically went through and clicked on all the websites and compared their prices. After going through the list, I was really surprised that none had a decent website, great prices (except for Chinese suppliers) or a large variety. I felt like I was looking at the early days of the internet. Continue reading

ProDesk3D: A Multi-Color 3D Printer

botObjects Set

It doesn’t look like the innovations in 3D printing will stop anytime soon. botObjects, a company based in New York and London, is planning on releasing the ProDesk3D, a multi-color 3D printer. Based on the specifications that botObjects has released, this would be quite an impressive 3D printer. The printer boasts a five color PLA cartridge system, two extrusion heads, 175 mm/s printing speed and 25 micron printing accuracy. Even with these impressive stats, the printer is expected to be priced at $3,249 ($2,849 early orders). This is about the same price as the Form 1 stereolithography printer from Formlabs.

Based on the samples and renderings Continue reading

Protecting Your 3D Creations

Copyright Symbol

In a world already filled with illegally downloaded music and movies, the ability to download any design and print it yourself begs the question: how do you protect your designs in this new world of 3D printing? Oliver Herzfeld, the Chief Legal Officer at a brand licensing agency called Beanstalk, discusses the issue in a three part series on Forbes. Check out the discussion here.

SOURCE: Forbes


Dreambox: The 3D Printing Vending Machine

What is cooler than an ice cold coke from a vending machine? How about a vending machine that can transform your wildest imaginations into a 3D printed object? On the campus of UC Berkeley, three recent graduates have made a 3D printing vending machine a reality with Dreambox. The machine allows users to upload their designs on the Dreambox website and then pick them up from the vending machine when the item is ready. So will it be a movie or a model squirrel the next time you go to the vending machine?

SOURCE: International Business Times, Dreambox


Squishy Squishy Printing with Elasto Plastic from Shapeways

Elasto Plastic

Shapeways, the marketplace to make buy and sell 3D printed objects, has launched a new material called Elasto Plastic. The material is strong and flexible, but easily returns to its original shape. Shapeways describes the texture as slightly grainy since it can’t be smoothed in a similar fashion as their other materials. Elasto Plastic is currently in a trial phase, making it only available as “Maker Material” (ie. only for designs you have personally uploaded) until July 9th. Check out the video below for a full description of the material.

SOURCE: 3D Printing Industry Shapeways