Maker Faire 2012 New York - Attack of The 3D Printer Bots

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News Posted: Sun, Sep 30 2012 1:34 PM
We headed down to Maker Faire 2012 in New York this weekend to check out the expo's massive spread of engineering awesomeness and creativity in the fields of robotics, electronics, computing and much more.  When you arrive at the fair, the first thing that strikes you is how completely organic the whole scene is.  Inventors, creators, engineers and entrepreneurs from all walks of life have their gadgets, science projects, creations and wares on display for all to see. Some of the creations you see on display range from downright amazing to completely bizarre.


One of the big attractions, a technology area that has experienced explosive growth recently, is the land of 3D Printing.  MakerBot took the open source RepRap 3D replicator project mainstream back in 2009 with the release of the Cup Cake CNC machine, then came the Thing-o-Matic and then a little bot called Replicator.  With each iteration, improvements in process and technology are bringing better, more capable 3D printers to market, from MakerBot's new Replicator 2, to new machines and technologies in the field from Solidoodle, Up!3D, Ultimaker, and Tinkerines

MakerBot's Replicator 2 is a proprietary design, a first for the company and a first in a field that historically established its roots in a passionate, collaborative open source community model.  Most commercially available 3D printers today are delivered unassembled and as such, modifications and improvements can be introduced easily, spurring new designs, features and capabilities.

To watch a 3D printer in action is like witnessing art, science and engineering all working together in glorious unison.  And regardless of your geek status or lack thereof, the objects you can design and build with one of these machines will blow you away.  Watch...







MakerBot's Replicator 2



The Netherlands-based Ultimaker

Ultimaker 3D Model Results



UP! 3D Mini Printers and  Model Products


Solidoodle 2 (left) - Tinkerine Ditto Acrylic (right)


Certainly one of the highlights of the "3D Printer Village" at Maker Faire 2012, was MakerBot's Replicator 2 machine but systems like the Ultimaker, Tinkerine's Ditto, and Up! 3D's Mini were also very impressive, rivaling the precision (100 micron/1mm or less tolerances) ease of use and speed of the new MakerBot machine. 

As you can see, some of the models being built at the event were absolutely amazing.  Ultimaker's human statue models were especially stunning, with intricate detail previously only produced by sculptors and artists manually.  Some of the mechanical structures like gears and other types of machinery just wowed us as feats of engineering marvel.

We're going to be watching this space closely in the months ahead and may even coordinate a "3D Printer Round-up" of sorts.  Stick around!
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sackyhack replied on Sun, Sep 30 2012 4:17 PM

I frikking love 3D printers! I work in the R&D department of a medical device company, and we have one for rapid prototyping. I'm not trained to be anywhere near that thing, so I don't get to play around with it, but it' still amazing that what used to take a sculptor weeks to do now takes an engineer with some SolidWorks knowledge and a few hours.

I saw that mesh thing was pretty floppy, but how rigid were the solid pieces? The stuff we make are pretty brittle and we only use them to make moulds for actual plastic prototyping.

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Marco C replied on Sun, Sep 30 2012 4:37 PM

The solid pieces were very sturdy and rigid. Depending on the patters used to fill the interiors, weight, strength and density can vary, but the quality pieces that were printed to show off the tech were very strong. We saw MANY of the pieces dropped to the ground without any damage.

Marco Chiappetta
Managing Editor @ HotHardware.com

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, Sep 30 2012 5:39 PM

The show was such a mob scene and a hustle but it was well worth it. There was some amazing stuff to see for sure. I think 3D Printing is going to take off big time in the next few years.

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SomeOneFun replied on Sun, Sep 30 2012 11:06 PM

Shame you missed www.typeamachines.com

Bigger build volume that the Makerbot, more reliable too!

Cool people, with cool 3D printed hats!

http://t.co/ZCNQeFnL

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Dave_HH replied on Mon, Oct 1 2012 7:11 AM

You wouldn't happen to be from the company, would you? ;) We'll have to take a look!

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justniz replied on Mon, Oct 1 2012 10:37 AM

Wake me up when you can buy a printer for maybe $1k where everything doesn't come out all blotchy.

Look at the edges on that propeller in the 2nd from last pic... terrible... it has big chunks missing out of it.

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Dave_HH replied on Mon, Oct 1 2012 11:06 AM

justniz:

Wake me up when you can buy a printer for maybe $1k where everything doesn't come out all blotchy.

Look at the edges on that propeller in the 2nd from last pic... terrible... it has big chunks missing out of it.

Knock-knock, wake up justniz! :)  That propeller was just a bit beat-up.  Look at the precision on the engine body underneath it.  These printers are able to print resolutions and precision down to 20 micron, that's .2mm dude, crazy tight.

And the cheapest one at the show was $500 actually, with the ability to hit 1 micron/1mm resolution.  There was a 20 micron capable machine for $1500.  Not bad at all for what you can do with these amazing machines.

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