3D printing

‘The message is, there is no message.’ —James Holmes

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Artificial-intelligence researchers have long struggled to make computers perform a task that is simple for humans: picking out one person’s speech when multiple people nearby are talking simultaneously.

It is called the ‘cocktail-party problem’. Typical approaches to solving it have either involved systems with multiple microphones, which distinguish speakers based on their position in a room, or complex artificial-intelligence algorithms that try to separate different voices on a recording.

But the latest invention is a simple 3D-printed device that can pinpoint the origin of a sound without the need for any sophisticated electronics.

{ Nature | Continue reading }

photos { 1 | 2. Yo-landi Visser photographed by Pierre Debusschere }

1 less problem without ya

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Though industrially important, 3D printing has turned out to be nowhere near as disruptive as once imagined, and certainly nothing like the PC. […]

The one 3D-printing method to make it successfully into the home so far is “fused deposition modelling” (FDM). In this, the object of desire is constructed, layer by layer, by melting a plastic filament and coiling it into the shape required. As ingenious as FDM is, the “maker movement” is still waiting for its equivalent of the Commodore 64, a capable and affordable machine that helped pitchfork the hobbyist computer movement into widespread consumer acceptance.



Another type of 3D printing, stereolithography, may yet challenge FDM for personal use. Stereolithography deposits thin layers of polymer which are then cured by laser or ultraviolet light. The technique was patented by Charles Hull in 1986, several years before Scott Crump patented FDM. These two inventors went on to found the two leading firms in the business today, 3D Systems and Stratasys. 3D Systems is bent on reducing the cost of stereolithography, so it, too, can appeal to the masses. […]

At least three things prevent personal 3D printing from going mainstream. The first is that the printing process takes hours or even days to complete. If the desired object is a standard part, it is invariably quicker and cheaper to buy the equivalent injection moulding off the shelf.



The second problem is poor quality. The printing materials, mostly polymers such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or polylactic acid, lack the mechanical strength needed for making parts sturdy enough to do a useful job. ABS has good impact resistance but it does not bear loads particularly well. PLA’s virtue is that it degrades naturally into lactic acid, a harmless substance. This makes it useful for printing things like hearing aids, teeth braces and medical implants.

Neither plastic, though, is suitable for fabricating replacement parts for a lawnmower, a child’s bicycle or a vintage car, in which mechanical strength and rigidity are crucial. In all likelihood, things made for handy tasks around the home will need to be reasonably strong, and also require more precise dimensions than today’s desktop 3D printers can manage.

Thus, the third problem—namely, the abysmal resolution of products made by popular 3D printers. Tolerances of at least two or three thousandths of an inch (a tenth of a millimetre or so), not tenths of an inch, are the minimum required for home-made parts that are to be interchangeable, or have a fit and finish necessary to work reliably with one another. Personal 3D printers will remain playthings until they can achieve such standards.



One answer is to print with metals, or even carbon composites or ceramics, instead of plastics. Many 3D printers used in industry do precisely that. Industrial metal printers, for instance, use a process known as selective laser sintering (SLS), in which a powerful laser is fired into a bed of powdered metal to sinter particles together, layer upon layer, into the required outline, until the object is built up. A newer version of SLS, which uses an electron beam in a vacuum chamber, allows the sintering to be done at much lower temperatures.



Unfortunately, SLS printers cost anything up to $125,000. It is going to take quite a while before the cost of printing metals (two orders of magnitude more expensive than printing plastics) becomes cheap enough for home use.

{ The Economist | Continue reading }

Our howitzers and camel swivel guns played on his lines with telling effect. Half a league onward! They charge!

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For the last six months, Cody Wilson and his non-profit group Defense Distributed have worked towards a controversial goal: To make as many firearm components as possible into 3D-printable, downloadable files. Now they’re seeking to make those files searchable, too–and to make a profit while they’re at it.

In a talk at the South By Southwest conference in Austin, Texas Monday afternoon, Wilson plans to announce a new, for-profit spinoff of his gun-printing project that will serve as both a repository and search engine for CAD files aimed at allowing anyone to 3D-print gun parts in their own garage.

{ Forbes | Continue reading }

related links posted between april 2012 and today in every day, the same, again:

The world’s first 3D-printed gun.

Airbus designer hopes to see planes roll out of hangar-sized 3D printers by 2050.

MIT students reveal PopFab, a 3D printer that fits inside a briefcase.

Japanese company will 3D print your fetus for $1,275.

PayPal Founder Backs Synthetic Meat Printing Company.

3D print glove is a wearable mobile phone.

Ever wanted a life-like miniature of yourself or loved ones? Now’s your chance, thanks to Omote 3D, which will soon be opening a 3D printing photo booth in Harajuku, Japan.

In October, 3D-printing startup Shapeways opened its New York production facility in Long Island City, Queens, the biggest consumer-focused 3D printing factory in the world.

The Pirate Bay launches crazy Physibles category for printing 3D objects.

Which 3D printers should you buy?

In many ways, today’s 3D printing community resembles the personal computing community of the early 1990s.

China’s first 3D printing museum opens.

“3D pen” can write in the air.

An Artificial Ear Built By a 3D Printer and Living Cartilage Cells.

Find what you love and let it kill you

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3D printing technology has helped replace 75 percent of a patient’s skull with the approval of U.S. regulators. […]

3D printing’s advantage comes from taking the digitally scanned model of a patient’s skull and “printing” out a matching 3D object layer by layer. The precise manufacturing technique can even make tiny surface or edge details on the replacement part that encourage the growth of cells and allow bone to attach more easily.

{ TechNewsDaily | Continue reading }

Arianna Huffington Unveils New ‘Huffington Man’ Aggregated From 84 Different Humans

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Many are only just getting their heads around the idea of 3D printing but scientists at MIT are already working on an upgrade: 4D printing.

At the TED conference in Los Angeles, architect and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits showed how the process allows objects to self-assemble.

It could be used to install objects in hard-to-reach places such as underground water pipes, he suggested.

It might also herald an age of self-assembling furniture, said experts.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

Give me a ho, if you’ve got your funky bus fare, ho

more { 3D Modeling and Printing | Popular Mechanics }