David Kirkpatrick

July 31, 2008

The Kinko’s of 3D printing

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:32 am

A company I provide communications consulting for is in the 3D visualization and modeling space. The modeling involves “printing” a 3D image in polymers. A very cool and very expensive process. I’ve held a printed hand that exactly matched the original scan — size, fingerprints, everything. But, instead of soft flesh it was a rigid piece of white plastic.

This Technology Review story covers a new online service providing access to 3D rapid prototyping for anyone with a 3D modeled item in ready data form. A real breakthrough in putting cutting-edge technology in the hands of the masses.

One application of rapid prototyping 3D data is “mass customization” — gaining the benefits of mass production for customized items. And it significantly speeds up the development process.

From the link:

Currently, such 3-D printers–in which successive layers of different polymers are sprayed gradually, building up a 3-D object–are very expensive, says Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of Shapeways, a spinout from Philips Research, in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

But the new service, launched last week, makes this technology accessible to anyone: budding artists, architects, product designers, and general hobbyists. A small design company might want to make samples to show a client, or an artist might want to make copies of the same sculpture created digitally, for example.

“From a technology viewpoint, Shapeways is not that new,” says Weijmarshausen. “Rapid prototyping has been used by the aircraft and automotive industries for years, but now we’re making it accessible to consumers.”

Users submit their design in digital form, after which Shapeways’s software checks it over to ensure that it can be made. Shapeways then passes the design to its production line of polymer printers, delivering the tangible object within 10 days of ordering, with prices typically between $50 and $150.


  1. […] Shapeways — davidkirkpatrick @ 5:28 pm I blogged about Shapeways a couple of weeks ago here and the latest update about the consumer 3D company popped up in the inbox today. The company […]

    Pingback by Shapeways offers online 3D modeling tool « David Kirkpatrick — August 15, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

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    Pingback by 3d printing kinkos | Computer Showroom — January 4, 2013 @ 4:05 am

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