Someone was using a Post-It note to remind them to not lock their keys in the office. The designers at TPM Technologies came up with a 3D printed part that looks a little nicer than the dog-eared, barely-hanging-on note. The unit fits snuggly around the door knob cap. 3D printing is bringing all kinds of new applications to products of all kinds. You can see the projects list over at TPM Technologies by clicking here. One fascinating story in 2013 for 3D printing is Robohand. The Robohand is an open source prosthetic developed using 3D printing technology. Makers from all over the world are donating their capability to help people that need fingers. You can visit the site where they have a blog and see what is happening.
After cranking out parts for the last month the chiefs at the Cyber Wigwam have declared the Makerbot Replicator a good tool for 3D printing at home. After a small learning curve, the Makerbot has the blogging club armed with keychains and personalized dog biscuit cutters. Click here for more on the cutters. The next experiment is using 3D panoramic imagery to make miniature 3D busts of the bloggers in the blogging club. The technology has advanced where a digital camera can be used as a 3D scanner. Stay tuned for the progress on that experiment. The Makerbot Replicator is a 3D printer a little bigger than a breadbox that extrudes ABS thermoplastic to realize a 3D shape. The Makerbot Replicator reperesents an excellent approach to 3D printing essentially out of the box. Feel free to comment on your 3D printing experiences below.
Rapid Prototyping or RP describes a number of technologies that includes 3D printing. Turning an X-Y process into the 3rd dimension. The technologies involved keep getting better in resolution and larger size components that can be made. Fortunately, other advances are making the technology more affordable. Advances in the open source community for microcontrollers like Arduino are allowing designers to easily and affordably copy these big brother technologies in a desk top version. Here at the Cyber Wigwam we added the Makerbot 3D printer to exhibit the capability of 3D printing. Soon, tepees and arrowheads in 3D will be adorning the cyber Wigwam. At the root of the Makerbot is the Arduino micorcontroller technology. Massimo Banzi presents an excellent overview of open source ideals and how it impacts creativitiy below.
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal Mills and Ottino make an analogy to drivers of growth in the last century. The advent of the automobile, telephone, and electricity paved the way for a century of amazing progress. In this century they predict wireless connectivity, smart manufacturing and material developments catalyzing a new raft of technological developments in this century. Under smart manufacturing they highlight the advances in 3d printing. 3d printing, traditionally in the realm of inorganic materials has spilled over to the organic world. Scaffolds printed from organic material have been used in regenerative medicine to replicate postage stamp sized swatches into replacement organs. You can read about some of these advances at Tom’s blog. Also, 3d printing has made its way to an appliance level device. Now you can acquire a unit that sits on your desktop and links to your computer wirelessly. Download some files and you can realize a 3d object right on your desktop! The Cubify unit was rolled out at CES 2012. Read Zagg’s account here.