Monday, 29 July 2013

Print stuff on your home 3D printer and save thousands. See the list. Update: UPS too!

Small and cute
It's already cheaper to make some of your own stuff on a 3-D printer than to buy it in the store.  Shopping in Canada is about to be re-invented. You can get the printer ($300-1900), set it up in half an hour and start making stuff.  Science Daily News reports on a test run.   Twenty widgets that would have cost several hundred to over a thousand to buy at the store, were downloaded for free from Thingiverse and printed for $18 in materials.

Feast your eyes on the Thingiverse website pictures.  Click through to the fashion, gadget and hobby pictures.  (The free stuff is for home use only).  I'm still thinking, "Is this for real?".  It's for real.

You're going on a picnic so you print some plastic knives and spoons.
You want a 3 1/2 inch wood screw with a  3/16 inch shaft and a 5/8" hex head.  Print it in plastic.
You'd like a crash-resistant case for your Samsung Galaxy S3.  Print it.  Home made lego lookalikes for Junior?  Frames for your specs?  A chess set?  You want a set of matched boxes to store pins and buttons.  Download and print.
You'd like a holder to clip a water bottle to the bike frame? Push "Start".  The fleches on your dart set are broken?  Print some more.  Spare copy of your house key in hard plastic? You broke the corner off the plastic on the electric egg beater.  Re-print.
You need a custom fitted prosthesis?  Collaborate with the software guy and print it at home.
A holder for screw bits and a 10 mm wrench (in blue plastic)?  Edit file, press Control P.
Landscape models for an architect?  Already done.

Some of this is already on Thingiverse.
A few years from now there will be hundreds of thousands of thing downloads.
Access to reprint files will be part of product support when you buy a new gadget.
Small businesses will stock a lot of stuff in a print out file, available in a few hours without having to courier
it in from Toronto or Vancouver.

You can buy them:
Printed in one piece
and the parts move.
Cubify  (Available at Staples from June 2013)
Price comparison page  (About 100 units priced from $200 to $2000)  (Print the plastic shell with rubbery buttons for a TV remote.

Some things aren't available that would need molten metal.
But they have been printing human organ shape and printing live cells into the matrix.  And then there's copyright!

Get ready.  Your smartphone was just a start.  The 3D sequel is as big or bigger and will change how our economy works.
UPDATE: UPS is testing 3D service 
UPDATE:  3D Statue of yourself that looks real for $300
UPDATE:  Expectations are overhyped.  Written by a guy who prints lots of 3D stuff.
UPDATE:  A 1911 pistol made of laser deposited sintered metal, fired 50 shots so far.

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