Gamer's Notebook

Gamer's Notebook -- Kicktraq Mini

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Make Your Own Miniatures with a 3D Printer



I remember seeing a technology news piece a couple of years ago which demonstrated how a 3D printer could produce a complex object from a computer model.  It was produced in a printer that could lay down hundreds of layers of hot plastic on top of each other.  At the time the cost of such a device was tens of thousands of dollars, keeping it very much in the commercial sector for the use of car designers and the like.  I was therefore somewhat surprised to open a newspaper yesterday and see such a machine.  The MakerBot, is now available in kit form for just $1,200.  I would estimate that the rate at which the technology is developing will see a $500 consumer friendly version of these printers by the end of 2012.  The current model would do a good job of printing out 3D dungeons, and an improved version might even be able to turn out detailed miniatures.  I'm sure that the consumer electronics giants will be taking a look at the market, but for the moment, one of the nice things about the Makerbot is that it's open source.

6 comments:

  1. ... I wonder how much the "print cartridges" will cost...

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  2. If the big electronics companies pile in, then they'll try to lock you in to using their own consumables, just like inkjets now. The models in the article I looked at were made from ABS (same material as lego) so potentially it could be a low cost material.

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  3. the material cost is not significant at all. I've been contemplating of buying one of these (makerbot or similar) for more than a year but haven't gotten around to do it but will at some point. What I'm kinda waiting is to see a little improvement still on the print quality because for my use the prints currently would need a lot of manual finishing after printing. And I would hate to throw away 1200 bucks just to see a machine for 700 that is significantly more precise 6 month later.. :)
    On the other hand I'm really eager to get one and start learning now, not in a year's time.

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  4. in fact I hadn't been to the makerbot website for awhile but checked it now. they have made many improvements and the print quality is getting pretty nice. certainly very, very tempting right now

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  5. I saw another newpaper article about 3D printers a couple of days ago. It didn't mention a specific model, but hinted at major advances in the technology were being made.

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  6. its quite clever stuff, if i'm correct i think they have developed metal 3d printing, its very exciting stuff epecially for us engineers (can be used for Rapid Prototyping) as we're not limited to casting contraints, and other geometric problems.

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