The vast array of 3D printing options out on the market today creates an issue when talking about the technology. The issue lies in the fact that no one type of printer can do it all. Each technology has its own strengths and weaknesses and no one printer excels at everything. This is especially true at the consumer level. However, understanding the basic types of printers and technology can help you make a decision on what printer to buy or even what printer you need access to have print your designs. In this this post I’ll cover some of the main types of printers currently on the market and cover some of the strengths and weaknesses of each printer.
Every year Matt Cushman throws a pre-Mardi Gras party. At his 2013 smoked brisket and other grilled meatsfest, Matt and I got to talking about 3D printing and what you could do with it. We realized that both of us were coming at the problem from different directions and passions, but with similar interests. While we were interested in the breadth of capabilities that 3D printing offers (more on this in later blogs), we were both thinking of things you could do with the technology beyond just hobby and home use. The technology has been around for over twenty years, but recently garnered interest with things like:
- 3D printed organs http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/03/tech/innovation/3-d-printing-human-organs/
- The coming change of manufacturing http://hbr.org/2013/03/3-d-printing-will-change-the-world/ar/1
- And President Obama mentioning it in his 2013 State of Union address http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/13/tech/innovation/obama-3d-printing/
- The always controversial 3D printed guns: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mhl45ediih/the-liberator/
As we continue to develop Think a Little Bigger in St. Louis, we get a lot of different questions pertaining to what we do, how we got started, and what 3D printing is and what it can do. Over the next couple of weeks I am going to cover some of these topics and any other topics that come to mind or you would like me to cover. Some of the topics I am going to cover the next couple of weeks are:
• How we got started
• What can 3D printing do
• Top three types of 3D printers out there
• Other types of 3D printers out there and in development
• Commercial versus Home Use
• The potential for industry disruption
• Rapid Prototyping and SME’s
• Materials and You
• Finishing Techniques for Powder Based Printers
• Thoughts on the development of the industry
• Ways to get involved in printing
• CAD: Tinkercad to Autodesk and thinking differently
The goal is to cover these topics enough to get a dialogue started around the topics and hopefully give the reader an intro to the various aspects of 3D printing and how to get started. I hope you enjoy them and if you have any questions or comments, just drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us at our new digs on February 20th from 12-1pm. We will be showing off our new 3D systems ProJet 660pro and dropping some 3D printing knowledge. In addition to providing the crowd a better understanding of how we see 3D printing aiding the ascension of the business scene in St. Louis, we will be drawing names for two (2) free Mini-yous. Two free what...
We will be providing a 3D capture to turn you into a 3 dimensional digital sculpture. Then, we will print you off on our truly amazing 3D systems ProJet 660pro in full color. Did you know that 3D Printing could be so cool?
Although the Mini-yous are cool, we think you will find the discussion of cost savings, shortening product-to-market cycles, fabrication using additive manufacturing, and improved market testing more valuable.
The Center for Emerging Technology is located at 4041 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108.
We are very proud to announce that we are making the Center for Emerging Technologies (CET) our new home. Besides being one of the premier incubators in The City, CET offers an awesome view of the new IKEA site. Seriously though, CET is an amazing organization. They have some really cool buildings and tenants, the facilities are fantastic, and the executive staff is very responsive and helpful. If you are wondering when our 3d printing 3DSystems ProJet 660pro will be up and running, just check back on Tuesday for pictures and videos of the install and first prints.
OR, follow us on twitter ,
It appears as though we have made a decision on where we will locate. However, before I let the cat out of the bag, I have to make sure that the printer specialist they are sending to do the install can actually break this behemoth of a printer down into two pieces as it is too big to fit in the elevator... Suspense
This is a must watch if you are interested at all in 3D printing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWnmzn1rl8A#t=2916
Thats right! We just received word that our brand-new 3D systems ProJet 660pro just landed at the ABF hub in St. Louis. We are obviously VERY excited. We should have this baby up and running by the end of January. We will be posting lots of pictures of the installation and first prints.
Anyone have any suggestions on first prints? If you do, send us an .STL file, maybe we will print it...
Wow. Totally impressed. We met with every major incubator in the City of St. Louis and then some. After talking to all the executive directors, tenants, and even some 'townies' about these organizations, it makes me proud to be locating our business in the City of St. Louis.Now comes the hard part. Trying to choose between these awesome organizations and property owners will be extremely difficult. We certainly have a lot to think about. The best part is that we were able to meet a lot of people who are really dedicated to what they do. I wanted to take a second to say thanks to these GREAT folks (In no particular order) who are truly devoted to seeing the City of St. Louis blossom: Heather Beaven -Center for Emerging Technologies Brad Waldrop - Monkey Building Vicki Jackson - STL VentureWorks-South County Kathy Shackleford -STL VentureWorks - Grand Center
St. Louis Company Purchases 3D Systems 660 Pro Printer We are very excited to announce that we have purchased a brand-new 3D Systems 660 Pro printer from D3 Technologies. We should be up and running in time to print your sweety a valentines day gift!
In addition to the great news about the recent purchase of an amazing machine, we will soon have some amazing photos and stories to tell about our first products in R&D. Stay tuned!