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Open Source News Hardware

How Open Source Hardware Is Driving the 3D-Printing Industry 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the an-end-to-the-lego-knockoff-compatibility-wars dept.
TheNextCorner sends this quote from ReadWriteWeb: "Open source software has been a key player in all kinds of disruptive technologies — from the Web to big data. Now the nascent and growing open source hardware movement is helping to power its own disruptive revolution. ... As 3D printing, powered by Arduino and other open source technologies, becomes more prevalent, economies of scale become much less of a problem. A 3D printer can print a few devices — or thousands — without significant retooling, pushing upfront costs to near-zero. This is what The Economist calls the 'Third Industrial Revolution,' where devices and things can be made in smaller, cleaner factories with far less overhead and — significantly — less labor."
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How Open Source Hardware Is Driving the 3D-Printing Industry

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @05:16AM (#40539835)

    Currently, the cost of materials for most 3D printers is quite high. That makes 3D printing uneconomical for most purposes.

    The other problem is that most useful things are made of more than one material. Consider even something as simple as a toaster. It requires a good conductor, a resisting conductor, an insulator and structural material. So, even something as low tech as a toaster is well beyond the ability of 3D printers to make at all and especially to do so economically.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Imagine plastic recycling: plastic bags or wrappings shreded and then fed to 3d printers - that's what I am waiting for.

    • There are printers which can mix materials out there. Not sure if they're up to 3, but certainly not far from it. Also, I'm not sure if anyone is planning to take on the toaster industry; their mass production is probably more efficient anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      However it is a hell of a lot cheaper to print a physical object on a 3d printer than it is to try and get one of something you can't buy, manufactured.

      3D printers are great for printing spares when the manufacturer doesn't supply them... and cheaper than buying the whole product again.

    • by LuxuryYacht (229372) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @06:30AM (#40540171) Homepage

      The prices of Photopolymers [bucktownpolymers.com] used in SLA type 3D printers has dropped to below the cost of PLA and ABS used in FDM printers and continues to drop. Photopolymers are dropping to under $10/kg in high volumes, so the costs of the materials are becoming less of an issue.

      It's true that there are several open hardware printer projects for FDM type printers that focus mainly on printing with one material at a time such as
      RepRap [reprap.org] or Open Source Photopolymer DLP 3D Printers such as LemonCurry [google.com]

      3D printers are also printing with more than one material and are already printing multilayer printed circuit boards with only fluids. Much of the development work in 3D printers recently has been from open hardwave projects vs the industry since many of the old patents have now expired.

    • can now be printed by anyone, anywhere, with a gadget that sits on their desk.

      instead of having to trash the toaster and buy a new one, or find a used one on ebay, or go order one for $20 + shipping + processing from some faceless megacorporation that probably doesn't even realize it makes toasters.

    • by RobinH (124750)
      It looks like the resin material used by the b9Creator [kickstarter.com] is significantly cheaper than the filament typically used in additive 3D printers.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Costs drop as more people demand it. Someone has to start the ball rolling.

  • Is there an open source hardware specification of a 3D printer?
  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @05:25AM (#40539881)

    The loss of jobs need not be a bad thing in what is quickly approaching a post scarcity society. Ultimately, perhaps even within the next few centuries, we're going to see a situation where the abundant resources in our solar system are harvested and processed by mostly automated engines, providing an excellent (upper middle class) quality of life for everyone on earth. There is no physical reason why this should not be the case.

    Pollution and environmental concerns would be very minimal with adequate management, energy is abundant, and if anything providing a good standard of living reverses population growth.

    The main difference between that and today, other than a general longer, healthier, better life, would be the types of toys you get to play with if you excel. Obviously not everyone can have their own private ocean liner, there's only so much ocean, so artificial scarcity will need to be introduced by either fiat or economic acrobatics. Overall though we are I believe on the cusp of a golden age.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There is no physical reason why this should not be the case.

      Now if only it'd be that simple.

      At the moment, replacing dangerous and tedious jobs no one really wants by much more effective machines is everything the government and our whole economic system is trying to stop. How did this happen? How are we any better than those in the middle ages when we fight progress in the name of old beliefs of capitalism?

      • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @05:56AM (#40539991) Homepage

        If you could come up with a proposal for feeding and housing all those people who lose their income then you'd be on to a winner. Opposing progress is perfectly understandable when progress will make you jobless and therefore unable to feed, clothe and house yourself. And don't say 'retrain'. That costs money and time, and in the meantime the rent or mortgage isn't being paid.

        • by roman_mir (125474)

          If you could come up with a proposal for feeding and housing all those people who lose their income then you'd be on to a winner.

          - winner of what? What do you get for feeding and housing people who don't do anything productive?

          How about this: they start doing something other than what they were doing before they got laid off because their particular labour could be done more efficiently without them?

          I don't see what we gain as a society at all by creating incentives for people to live lives without doing anything. What's the purpose, to have them fill all of the available space, so that eventually there is again a problem of 'haves

          • How about this: they start doing something other than what they were doing before they got laid off because their particular labour could be done more efficiently without them?

            There's a limit to what people can learn to do.

          • That is not what I said but then you have to take any argument that doesn't support devil take the hindmost free market dogma and twist it. I said it's understandable that people who are disadvantaged by technological changes would oppose it. Anyone not lacking in empathy like you are knows this.

            That doesn't mean I think we should hold back technology, nor does it mean I'm happy for people to be on welfare their entire lives. Your solution appears to be to let people disadvantaged by technological changes

            • by roman_mir (125474)

              generosity, something you can't understand, will replace government social programmes

              - well actually I am against charity on principle, but unfortunately people have this desire to be charitable, thus creating a situation where gov't says that charity will be enforced by threat of violence via taxes, thus turning something that is a private situation (somebody getting charity from a specific person or a group) to a situation where people who in fact are living on charity (welfare, SS, etc.), and it become entrenched so that the people on charity start believing that they are ENTITLED to it

              • Those on benefits in my country don't tend to vote thereby nullifying your argument.

                • by roman_mir (125474)

                  Yeah, right, bullshit. The left is using the tactic of turning people into a dependent class in order to gain massive populist vote, and people on welfare are quite likely to be voting, what else do they have to spend their time on?

                  Of-course the welfare queens are also government workers, gov't is a massive welfare program, so whoever is actually employed by the government is a powerful voting block as well, and those employed by the gov't have plenty to lose if the gov't is cut.

                  Nothing is nullified, politi

              • by skids (119237)

                People. As in a collective of two legged, two handed animals that want to do nothing and steal whatever they can?

                Here's the crux of the problem with the "invisible hand of the free market" -- it's as deep in your pocket as the government. This magic savior force looked upon by the more philosophical of the selfish class actually is composed in great part by con-artists, frauds, sociopaths, psychopaths, and other such ilk that use deceit, manipulation, power and opression just as much if not more than any system of government. And yet somehow they never get meeted out by those free market mechanisms that are supposed

                • by roman_mir (125474)

                  composed in great part by con-artists, frauds, sociopaths, psychopaths, and other such ilk that use deceit, manipulation, power and opression just as much if not more than any system of governmen

                  - the more reasons NOT to give government ANY power over individuals in the market, over money, because those who are the con artists in the free market will immediately be looking (and finding) ways to get into the government and that is what happened and the damage is obvious.

                  In the free market there are con artists, there is fraud, everything that exists with or without any market in all situations under all circumstances and with all societies, because one lucrative way to get ahead is by committing fr

            • by roman_mir (125474)

              By the way, you are skipping on the question:

              winner of what? What do you get for feeding and housing people who don't do anything productive?

              So in your estimation, what is it that a producer gains from housing and feeding people who do not do anything?

              You think he is going to get their gratitude? For how long, just until the time he again overproduces and buys himself something that those people he is feeding and housing will be jealous of and will again, go to the barricades to make sure that 'wealth is evenly distributed'?

              Why would a producer need gratitude, he is already doing what he needs for him

              • LOL genocide is your answer. Brilliant. What a fucking psycho you are.

                • by roman_mir (125474)

                  Genocide? Where do you see genocide?

                  Where is the answer to the question: what does one gain by feeding the unproductive?

                  Your answer to this is what?

                  Again: what does one get for doing work and giving it up to feed and shelter somebody who does not produce and thus can never repay?

                  Genocide? Is your belief that majority of people are worthless and want to live on welfare and if left alone by the do-gooders, such as yourself will simply lay down and die instead of figuring out how to participate in the market

          • don't see what we gain as a society at all by creating incentives for people to live lives without doing anything. What's the purpose, to have them fill all of the available space, so that eventually there is again a problem of 'haves and have nots' in perpetuity?

            Yes, let's just euthanize the do-nothing elderly, disabled, and parasitic welfare recipients. They're no more useful than bacteria. That will free up lots of resources that could be better spent on you.

        • Opposing progress is perfectly understandable when progress will make you jobless and therefore unable to feed, clothe and house yourself.

          It's understandable, but still foolish. It's clear that we don't need such inefficient workers anymore. Either they find something else to do, or suffer. I don't think "hold back technology" should ever be an option.

          • Nor do I. However a large amount of jobless people is a serious social problem, and unlike roman_mir, who never leaves his house, I'm a bit concerned about the effect a large amount of jobless, starving people would have on my safety.

        • From my website: http://pdfernhout.net/ [pdfernhout.net]

          In brief, there have always been five interwoven economies, and the balance of them changes with technological changes and cultural changes:
          * A subsistence economy ("There's some lovely berries over here.");
          * A gift economy ("The meat from this deer I hunted is going to spoil; I'll share it with the tribe, and others will share their hunting results some other time as they have in the past.");
          * A planned economy ("Let's put the longhouse here. I'll cut the trees, you l

    • by Exrio (2646817)
      It'll be like living in a zoo, except now the zoo is huge, the animals include humans, and the zoo-keepers are human-invented machines. The question is not if, the question is when. The singularity will undoubtedly overwhelm any silly human politics or economics that try to restrain it.
    • by khakipuce (625944) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @06:14AM (#40540085) Homepage Journal

      I suppose this is what one would expect from anyone with "open source space travel" in their sig. We are nowhere near approaching a "post scarcity society", go to Africa or India and tell the significant proportion of the earth's populaton that live in poverty that we are approaching a "post scarcity society"!

      On the 3D printing front, gimme one that prints steel, aluminium alloys, etc. with the structural integrity of their conventially produced equivalents (i.e. not sintered) and I'll start to take this discussion seriously.

      • Printing with moderate resolution would be a significant advance, and most current machines need a huge amount of labour to operate.

        As someone has already said "they are the solution to making one-offs of an original concept", They do not come within a million miles of mass production for stuff where the requirement is for many.

        Test 1) try to make any part longer than an inch with an accuracy of 1/1000 inch (minimum accuracy required for most production engineering).

        Test 2) Try to make a 3D printed "Mar

        • by MojoRilla (591502)
          And it would be cool to have gold fall from the sky. But that doesn't make the current machines useless. Remember, we are at the very start of this revolution.

          As for printing a candy bar...huh? Why do that? Traditional manufacturing still has a role, at least for the foreseeable future.

          On the other hand, I was playing with a RepRap printed herringbone gear [blogspot.com] yesterday. I thought it was pretty cool. They are very difficult to manufacture with traditional machinery [wikipedia.org], but not a problem with a 3D print
      • Those are political problems, not physical.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        go to Africa or India and tell the significant proportion of the earth's populaton that live in poverty that we are approaching a "post scarcity society"!

        Those people aren't dying because there's not enough food for them. They're dying because the food isn't getting to them. It's not because we can't get it to them, either. It's because they live under repressive governments that prevent them from bettering their situation.

    • by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @06:18AM (#40540101)

      "Post-scarcity society" ???
      What a load of bullshit.
      Have you ever heard of peak-oil? Do you realise 80% of our energy demand is covered by fossil fuels? Have you heard of global warming?

      Do yourself a favor, and go read this :
      http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/04/economist-meets-physicist/ [ucsd.edu]

      • Really, so solar power satellites are physcially impossible to you? Even without that, we could supply all of the world's energy with inefficient PV covering a single digit percentage of the Sahara desert.

        Now before you reply, stop. Think. Am I really suggesting that we run wires to every country on earth from the Sahara, or is that an example to illustrate the point that we are swimming in hugely more energy than our civilisation needs, and this can be arbitrarily scaled up?

        I'm also not talking about next

        • *You* should think before you reply.
          Your comment is so wrong on so many levels that I don't know where to begin.
          Really, please take the time to read this blog post :
          http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/galactic-scale-energy/ [ucsd.edu]

          Sorry to burst your bubble!

          • Doesn't look like its my bubble that's in trouble to be honest. So please, begin. Educate me, and these guys [desertec.org] while you're about it.

            • Funny you mention desertec.
              I work as an engineer for a solar research center in Germany.
              We work a lot with the DLR (http://www.dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10010/), which is involved in the desertec project.
              I designed a few hundred MWp worth of solar installations around Europe.

              So : I know what's available, what we need and what could be done with renewable energies.
              But there's a slight nuance you seem to be missing :
              desertec hopes to deliver 15% of Europe's electricity by 2050, provided they fin

              • To quote myself, "Am I really suggesting that we run wires to every country on earth from the Sahara, or is that an example to illustrate the point that we are swimming in hugely more energy than our civilisation needs, and this can be arbitrarily scaled up?" And that's before you get into the discussion about renewables becoming ever more attractive as fossil fuels become scarcer. There's no reason to suggest fossil fuels will vanish overnight. But that's not the point.

                Your UCSD link, which you've refused

              • Oh yes, and meat: http://www.economist.com/node/21548147 [economist.com]

        • Yes, I find it odd that covering a few hundered square k/m with PV's is seen as a "gigantic expense", but re-plumbing the entire N. America continent with a new network of oil pipelines is a "necessary investment".
    • Only if the revolution goes well. It could go very badly, depending how the social-economic-political situation works out. Transitioning to a post-scarcity economy would not be easy - it doesn't matter if you can make food, housing and luxury goods for a few cents if almost all the population is unemployed and thus unable to afford even that, and those who do control the production equipment have no incentive to just give away their products for free.
    • we already have abundant resources being harvested and processed mostly by automated engines. for example, wheat is almost entirely processed by gigantic computer controlled combines.

      and yet there are millions of people starving in places like ethiopia (still).

      if robots are harvesting material it doesnt really matter unless you actually own a robot, own the land they are taking the material from, etc.

      look at what is going on in spain .50 % unemployment for youth. the hyper efficient society doesnt necessari

      • think of great britain in the industrial revolution , and what it did to ireland (mass starvation, mass forced emigration, etc)

        You don't know what you're talking about.

        I doubt you could point to either country on a map, you lardass.

    • Ultimately, perhaps even within the next few centuries, we're going to see a situation where the abundant resources in our solar system are harvested and processed by mostly automated engines, providing an excellent (upper middle class) quality of life for everyone on earth. There is no physical reason why this should not be the case.

      I think this is kind of the utopian version of the American dream. However, if history is any guide, this would be impossible to achieve without a drastic reduction in populati

    • by fgouget (925644)

      Such optimism!

      Ultimately, perhaps even within the next few centuries,

      We may not have a few centuries. If we continue our current 2.3% energy growth per year, then in a bit above 400 years the earth's surface temperature will reach the boiling point [ucsd.edu]. Something has to give long before that, and that may put a wrench in our space dreams.

      we're going to see a situation where the abundant resources in our solar system are harvested and processed by mostly automated engines,

      It's far from clear that the EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested) of space resources is ever going to be greater than 1 [ucsd.edu]. Even for ores where the EROEI is less relevant, the energy cost still has to be compared to that of earth-

      • We may not have a few centuries. If we continue our current 2.3% energy growth per year, then in a bit above 400 years the earth's surface temperature will reach the boiling point [ucsd.edu]. Something has to give long before that, and that may put a wrench in our space dreams.

        Yes, but the link makes a lot of assumptions I would question, first of which is dismissing space out of hand. The biggest energy consumers are not domestic but industrial. By moving industrial manufacturing into space, you short circuit his growth graph, and short circuit it even further by taking into account the marvellous efficiencies we can achieve using advancing technology.

        Ebooks for example use almost no energy, and supplant almost all need for paper books, newspapers, that entire energy intensive i

    • This has been done before, albeit under different code names. One, that I lived through, was called communism.

      Everyone was equal, had enough money to buy a house, car, weekend house and everything that was produced by the factories and farms owned by the community.

      It was working so well, that not even democracy, or elections were needed. It was a well oiled machine.

      There were some problems with human shortcomings, like greed for example. The people who wanted more. They became our leaders and we compe
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      You are talking like a society like Roddenberry created with star trek. everyone just 'doing the right thing' while living under what was in effect socialism.

      The problem is that it never works long term. Without true personal incentive to achieve, the engine slows down and eventually stops.

  • It's still at the prototype making level though. 3D printing gives you free complexity, but it's very slow. You can lay down layers of plastic, melt or glue powder together, or cure resin into the shape you want. The benefits are there's very little waste material compared to normal manufacturing. The cost is generally in time. I can print a part that uses $2.00 of plastic but that much plastic will take an hour to become something.

    Still once you have a 3d printer, you build a few more and the economies of

    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @06:13AM (#40540077) Journal

      It's still not mass producing - it's custom desktop fabrication. It's like laser printing in the 80s... very slow but nice quality. So in the near future it's still mostly for prototyping or small scale runs.

      Good point. If and when enough people have access to these printers, and if they are sufficiently standardized, you will not need mass production anymore. Or rather, the product is still produced in mass, but in many small fabs or even on the desktop, as opposed to requiring a single massive factory in China. It's distributed production. The point is that it's not necessary for these printers to become so fast that they can produce thousands of products per hour. If you're printing at home, you will probably print only a few items every day at most, and you'll be able to afford wait times of an hour or so.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Or rather, the product is still produced in mass, but in many small fabs or even on the desktop, as opposed to requiring a single massive factory in China. It's distributed production.

        And who's going to buy up the output of this distributed production?
        There is going to be serious resistance from stores and distributors because they need consistency and efficiency.
        The current model of factories and distribution hubs has fallen into place because it's what works best so far.

        I think it's possible to make every home a factory, I just don't think the transition will be quick or painless.

      • If and when enough people have access to these printers, and if they are sufficiently standardized, you will not need mass production anymore.

        A dedicated machine for producing something will always do it cheaper and faster than a more flexible multipurpose machine.

        in many small fabs or even on the desktop, as opposed to requiring a single massive factory in China.

        That factory can use cheaper techniques and cheaper materials, for example making toy soldiers out of injection moulded polythene. And due to ec

    • You're correct about less waste and such but you used the wrong time scale. The reason I say that is look at the complexity of the parts in an iPad. Each part takes time to construct so I'll ask you this set of questions.

      • Do you step over to the kiln and make the various ceramic parts used to make an iPad?
      • What about the press used to forge those aluminum cases
      • How about the amount of time needed to make the glass in the display?

      When you actually break it down, there's far more then an hours worth of time inv

  • When 3D printers print other 3D printers, that would be the "Third Industrial Revolution".

    • by higuita (129722)

      from the reprap site [reprap.org]:

      RepRap is humanity's first general-purpose self-replicating manufacturing machine.

      so that is nothing unusual...

  • It's a hobby for creating plastic toys. Even industrial rapi prototyping is only used for test models, as 3D printing is unsuitable for mass production of reliable objects.

    • why is 3d Printer only useful for test models? If you are using one of the more expensive units that work either in Ceramic or metal, there's no reason you couldn't take it to the next step. In fact, what a 3d printer is good for is producing small parts very precisely and with the right materials, there is absolutely no fucking reason those parts aren't anymore durable then those made by more convential methods (if possible).

      • by Hentes (2461350)

        I didn't say it's not useful for other things, what I said it that it's only used for tests in industrial environments because it's unsuitable for large-scale production. It's slow and the result is not durable enough.

        • so... here is the situation.

          globofucker incorporated decides to almost completely monopolize the gadget_x industry, buying up competition, selling off entire factories, firing thousands of people, then jacking up prices, and most of all

          introducing 'planned obsolescence' into their production process. i.e. they make crap thats supposed to break.

          you can see the results of this by visiting any apartment complex dumpster on a weekend morning. vacuum cleaners are a particular favorite - you'd think that after a

        • I'm thinking you are missing the vision. The vision is not mass production. Think "on demand".

          How many items are in your house that require no moving parts? Just as an example to keep it simple.

          Light switch plates, outlet plates, outlet safety plugs, cabinet fixtures, handles of all sorts, basic chairs, shelving, closet organizers, toilet flow control parts, candles, candle holders, picture frames, utensils, cups, plates, the list goes on.

          The point is that as the ability to print objects becomes as standard

    • As JaredofEuropa pointed out [slashdot.org] above, once you have 3D printers mass production is obsolete. And 3d printing is already being used to build concrete structures [youtube.com]

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        As JaredofEuropa pointed out above, once you have 3D printers mass production is obsolete

        Maybe if you had 3D printers with resolution several orders of magnitude better than what we have now. You can't print a ball bearing or the race it goes into, for example. Not good ones, anyway, that will actually last while bearing a load.

  • Good for trinkets... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...but that's about it in my experience. We had some disappointing results with 3D-printed components at work: they had poor mechanical properties and were permeable to water. We now use a rapid CNC-ing firm (http://www.firstcut.com/) that can produce one-off components cheaply and get them to us inside 3 days; plus they have a fantastic range of proper materials (ABS, nylon, aluminium, etc.). For the time being, we're staying put with CNC.

    • by daid303 (843777)

      Sounds like you have used components from ZCorp machines, which feel a bit like sandstone. Very brittle. These prints feel nothing like prints made in ABS or PLA from a RepRap based machine. And there is quite a lot of difference between the print quality of those machines, depending on the experience of the user.

      However, I agree with the fact that if you have components that need to bare a lot of load, you are better off with CNCing it in the proper material.

      (Me = Happy Ultimaker owner)

  • And not just because, well, civilization has collapsed.

    See a big revolution (the first industrial revolution?) was through interchangeable parts. That's what (I've heard) gave the Union armies such an advantage over the Confederates, if something broke you didn't need a skilled craftsman to repair it. Just replace the broken part.

    With custom made items from 3D prototypers everything will be unique. If civilization breaks down (no Internet!) being able to find the plans (or getting them scanned) will be m

    • by RobinH (124750)
      Why do you think that means you can't make a new part? With replaceable parts limited by mass production you can only have parts that you're willing to make many thousands of, and therefore have on hand in inventory (large warehouses) with big logistical transportation systems behind them. With 3D printing you just download a copy of the part spec and print it out from a bunch of multi-purpose material you have on hand. You can even grind up old stuff for the material [kickstarter.com]. You don't have to keep specialized
    • Cheap power was the watershed for each and allowed the other efficiencies to take hold as more labor could specialize and machines could be employed.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @11:03AM (#40542197) Homepage Journal

    There's a lot of other machines out there. On the CNC side there's the Mantis, a small desktop-sized milling machine for making circuit boards [youtube.com] but it can also cut foam, wax, chocolate [youtube.com], etc. Most people seem to drive their Mantis with motors and electronics made for RepRap printers.

    There's even a milling machine made out of standard LEGO parts (aside from the milling bit). It can mill 3D shapes into floral foam [youtube.com].

    Need a stronger, faster mill? Build Your Own CNC Router [buildyourcnc.com] has a lot of information, so does CNCzone.com [cnczone.com].

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @11:38AM (#40542449) Homepage

    The RepRap and other low-end 3D printers are toys. I see those things at TechShop all the time, but they're rarely used. All they can do is produce plastic trinkets.

    Around $50K, the machines start to get good. Shapeways [shapeways.com] makes usable plastic parts. What the industry needs is a $2000 machine that really works. There's slow progress in the industry; 30 years ago the high-end machines were as crappy as the RepRap.

    All these processes are incredibly slow. As in hours for one small part. It's inherent in laying down a 3D part in thin layers that it will take time. That's why Shapeways charges about $50 for a 1 ounce part. Injection molding is orders of magnitude cheaper and faster. This technology is not going to replace mass production.

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