EuroMold 2014: Illuminating Bright Minds in 3D Printing Workshops – 3DPrint.com

EuroMold 2014: Illuminating Bright Minds in 3D Printing Workshops – 3DPrint.com.

 

EuroMold 2014: Illuminating Bright Minds in 3D Printing Workshops

To the future delight of hundreds of lucky German schoolchildren, TCT Bright Minds will make its debut this year at EuroMold 2014, which is hailed as one of the prime design, application, and mold-making trade show events in Germany annually. In expanded efforts to offer German pupils exposure to the latest 3D technologies and technical innovations, the following companies are bringing this program to EuroMold 2014:

Bright Minds-3d Printing workshops

TCT Bright Minds will offer a program consisting of workshops held in a classroom built with ultra-modern glass walls, an attention-grabber for students from the start. Students have the opportunity to learn about CAD 3D printing technologies using technical equipment made specifically for this program, and donated free-of-charge by 3D Systems. With access to 3D Systems’ Cube printers, 3D scanning technology, as well as a haptic based 3D mouse and the new iterations of the Cube and the CubePro, it’s complete immersion into 3D printing and 3D design.

3D Systems

Cathy Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer of 3D Systems, stated: “We are excited to partner once again with Rapid News, TCT and BCA on this powerful education initiative, and are delighted to bring it to Frankfurt with EuroMold organizers, DEMAT. We are committed to bringing 21st century tools, programs and technologies to students and schools across the globe. This program extension helps us further realize this goal.”

As part of the positive worldwide push for more education based in science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing (STEM), the Bright Minds program includes a customized course developed by Black Country Atelier, a specialist provider of 3D printing services in education. Their programs include teacher training, curriculum development, and long-term partnerships in the digital design and manufacturing industry. BCA creates world-leading classrooms working with teachers and students, both in-house and via its online platform, to build capacity and confidence.

black country atelierJing Lu, Director at BCA, added: “We are excited to bring 3D printing education to EuroMold. 3D design innovation skills are vital to industries globally and we look forward to working with local schools and colleges.”

After the TCT Bright Minds program had such great success in England, it’s hoped that this event may be the catalyst for embedding 3D technology courses in German schools. Designed for middle- and high-school students, each session lasts approximately two hours and awards participants entry to all of EuroMold 2014, being held from November 25-28, 3014.

Euromold celebrated its 20-year anniversary in 2013. Based on the process chain “from design to prototype to series,” it presents products and services, technologies and innovations, trends and tendencies for the markets of the future. EuroMold offers a unique trade fair concept that closes the gap between industrial designers, product developers, fabricators, suppliers, and users.

Have you ever attended EuroMold or a similar major trade show? Will you be attending this year? Fill us in at the Euromold forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Whitby 3D Printing Teacher Brings Lessons to Makerbot in Greenwich | Greenwich Free Press

Whitby 3D Printing Teacher Brings Lessons to Makerbot in Greenwich | Greenwich Free Press.

 

Whitby 3D Printing Teacher Brings Lessons to Makerbot in Greenwich

 Print

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.57.03 AM

Leslie Perry of Whitby School drew a crowd at Makerbot on Greenwich Avenue despite the rain on Wednesday night. The store filled with educators eager for tips from Perry, who teaches 3D printing at the Montessori and IB School located at 969 Lake Ave.

3d creaturesesame street

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.11.46 AM

Perry has been using MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers in her curriculum with grades pre-K all the way through 8th grade, and has led students in several inspiring and innovative age-appropriate projects. Perry said her fifth graders paired Lego figures with their 3D boats, houses, buoys, docks, benches and trees to create “Whitby Harbor.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.59.51 AM

“The first thing they say when they walk into my class is, ‘Are we printing today?’” Perry said, though she added that class wasn’t all about printing. She said the students incorporate the 3D printing into their curriculum and learn to collaborate on projects like Whitby Harbor. She said another collaborative project involved creating a model of Whitby field and demonstrating issues of drainage. “The 3D is there to help them showcase what they are doing,” Perry said.

Perry said her third and fourth graders created keychains to sell to the younger students in a hands-on lesson on business. She said that since there are just three printers in the school, and it takes some time for an object to print, “It’s printing all day and they developed a system of logging in and scheduling their printing, which, in turn gives the kids confidence.”

On the future of manufacturing, Perry was optimistic. “3D printing will change manufacturing,” she said. “It won’t require mass production. There will be printing as needed, which will save on raw materials, and production won’t depend on scale of efficiency any more.”

Teachers had a chance to swap ideas and tips, including the AP Physics teacher from Byram Hill High School, who pulled up photos of student projects on his laptop to share with other teachers. The educators agreed that it is tricky to find great software when many are restricted against ages 13 and under, which, Perry described as a challenge.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 7.29.17 PM

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.58.00 AMScreen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.57.11 AM

Whitby School is located at 969 Lake Ave in Greenwich.

Makerbot is located at 200 Greenwich Ave in Greenwich.

FabLab, makerspace, hackerspace, TechShop: l’importanza delle definizioni

from: FabLab, makerspace, hackerspace, TechShop: l’importanza delle definizioni.

 

FabLab, makerspace, hackerspace, TechShop: l’importanza delle definizioni

In queste pagine abbiamo più volte dato definizioni della parola FabLab, per chiarire soprattutto i requisiti che la comunità internazionale ha fissato. È innegabile che la parola “FabLab” in Italia abbia avuto una particolare fortuna, arrivando a diventare per il grande pubblico un generico sinonimo di laboratorio.
Sappiamo infatti che il nome FabLab nasce più specificamente per indicare una rete di laboratori, ovvero quelli che si richiamano alle intuizioni del prof. Neil Gershenfeld del MIT e che si riconoscono nella FabCharter.

Esistono altri termini che identificano laboratori di fabbricazione e tecnologia, e in rete si trovano diversi articoli che provano a mettere ordine (tra cui segnalo quello di Gui Cavalcanti). Da bravi maker, pratici e pragmatici, non vogliamo perderci in disquisizioni tassonomiche ma solo capire qualcosa di più di un variegato mondo pieno di sfumature.

Ho recentemente elaborato questa immagine che rappresenta la mia mappa mentale delle caratteristiche distintive di ciascun tipo di laboratorio. Non ho la pretesa di dare delle definizioni definitive, ma vale la pena di condividerla.

Gli hackerspace vengono da una tradizione culturale-tecnologica relativamente antica, quella del movimento hacker, e sono molto legati all’informatica, alla telematica, all’open source e al digitale. Le attività hardware di un hackerspace sono prevalentemente legate al riciclo di vecchi computer o apparecchi elettronici o alla realizzazione di circuiti elettronici; è infatti proprio l’elettronica il principale elemento in comune con il movimento dei maker. Quello dei maker è un movimento più giovane che ha appunto coniato la parolamakerspace proprio per indicare uno spazio che fosse più orientato all’hacking di oggetti non necessariamente elettronici: il makerspace è un’officina condivisa, dotata di spazi di lavoro, attrezzature, macchine digitali e non. È l’ambiente dove si svolgono corsi per adulti e bambini, e spesso si trova anche all’interno di scuole perché costituisce il laboratorio per eccellenza.
Arriviamo quindi ai FabLab, ovvero una categoria speciale di makerspace: di questi ultimi condividono tutti gli aspetti, dallo spazio alle attività alle attrezzature, ma hanno in più alcune caratteristiche immateriali -potremmo dire alcuni valori– che riflettono la loro origine accademica: nei FabLab si privilegiano le tecnologie digitali a sfavore delle tecniche artigianali manuali, con l’obiettivo di cercare la corrispondenza biunivoca tra bit e atomi, ovvero tra rappresentazione digitale e fabbricazione di un oggetto complesso. A differenza dei makerspace, che sono singoli laboratori slegati tra loro, spesso anche organizzati in forma di impresa a carattere commerciale, i FabLab sono una rete che condivide un set di strumenti e processi. I FabLab si impegnano ad essere aperti al pubblico gratuitamente almeno per parte della settimana.
Vi è un’ultima categoria, che è quella dei TechShop: questa parola non è molto diffusa in Italia, e quindi l’ho sostituita con un generico “service“. Stiamo parlando di laboratori che offrono servizi di prototipazione per conto degli utenti: sono quindi vere e proprie imprese, organizzate spesso in franchising come appunto i TechShop americani, attrezzate con macchinari di alto livello e staff in grado di seguire gli utenti nella realizzazione dei propri progetti. Questi service condividono le tecnologie di cui abbiamo parlato finora, ma decadono i concetti di condivisione, community, ricerca.

Dan’s Geometrical Curiosities – Printing the impossible…in 3D

Dan’s Geometrical Curiosities – Printing the impossible…in 3D.

 

Printing the impossible…in 3D

In light of my last post, I began thinking about other shapes I could 3D print using Shapeways. Since my last piece was somewhat flat, I decided to go for a more volumetric structure this time, and I was especially taken by the idea of a shape that links with itself. But I wanted to achieve this with a model made of one piece instead of a chain with jangling disconnected pieces — to create a seemingly impossible object with one contiguous ladder-like structure.

How might I create something like this? I was surfing YouTube one day and I came across this puppy:

This is the kind of structure I would like to make. Other people have also made linked mobius torus structures with varying materials:

  

I would like mine to be based on this shape but look more interesting. Like most problems I try to solve in mathematics, trying to make something more interesting usually is the same as trying to generalize it. When I try to generalize (say the concept of an equilateral triangle), I look for the following criteria:

  1. Is there a quantity inherent to the situation at hand that can be increased? (The triangle has three sides, but what would shapes look like with more than three sides?)
  2. Is there a constraint being imposed that we can remove to allow more interesting behavior? (What would it look like if each side need not be the same length?)
  3. Is there a context that the object is inherently using in its existence that can be modified? (The triangle is flat, but what if we allowed the triangle to live on a curved surface like a sphere?)

I began my design by constructing the basic shape with Mathematica. This consisted of a essentially toroidal shape given by the following parameterization:

However, I wanted the cross-section to be hexagonal, so this would mean I would need my parameter v to be discrete; I would need six samples in a full 2π rotation. On the other hand, my parameter u would also need to be discrete; I wanted to have 22 individual links joining across the piece. I wrote a little Mathematica program that would take my parameterization and would in turn write a “.txt” file to my hard drive. By changing the extension of this file to “.obj”, I obtained a three dimensional toroidal shape with a hexagonal crossection. However, this wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I needed to add a twist to the whole thing, akin to how one would add a twist in a mobius strip. However, since the crossection is hexagonal, we apply a 60˚ rotation as opposed to a 180˚ rotation. This corresponds to each side of the hexagonal structure meeting with its neighbor when the two ends of the strip meet. The next step was to open the result up in TopMod to see what it all looked like.

Notice the wrinkle in the face loop close to the front! This is understandable; I began with a torus, and performed a twist on the vertices appropriately to create the rotation. But if you start with a standard belt of paper, you can’t expect to twist it without breaking and end up with a mobius strip! Consequently, all of that twisting had to “pile up” somewhere, and this is exactly where I will cut each wrinkled edge, and reapply the edges appropriately. This creates a perfectly and evenly twisted mobius torus. The changes in this procedure are shown with semi-transparent regions; look closely and you’ll see the wrinkles vanish!

Now that we have a perfect mobius twist base, I used TopMod’s wireframe modelling mode to create a wireframe:

 Then I deleted the crossbeams and put in my own crossbeams, which went diagonally across instead of around the perimeter to create a sort of linking effect. I decided that the most natural way to do this would be to rotate the crossbeams cyclically as shown in the figure. First, I would place a beam between corners 1 and 4, then from 2 to 5, then from 3 to 6. At this point I would repeat, laying down another beam from 1 to 4.

Once I was through with that business, I decided that it didn’t look quite organic enough, so I wrote a separate Mathematica program that would take an arbitrary 3D model and warp it according to a mathematical function. I wanted my shape to look less like a standard torus and more like a melted one (Dali style). Without getting too technical, this involved taking the model, projecting every vertex down to the torus’s “base circle” (the closest point on the circle going around the torus) then warping this base circle, carrying all of the projections with it, and then exploding the vertices back outward again via a rotated basis to account for the rotation that had taken place in the warping map. The result of all of this mess was good enough for me to render using Blender, a free, open source 3D content creation suite:

After finally having a result that I liked (on my first try I realized that my first model had an error with the cyclic pattern of bridges), I couldn’t contain myself, so I immediately uploaded my model to Shapeways to have it printed in “Winter Red Strong and Flexible,” and a couple weeks later my model arrived via UPS!

Here is a video of my model spinning to reveal the geometry more clearly. The trick is that there is a fine fishing line being used to hold up the model from the ceiling.

Art Professor Uses Ancient Beer Pong and 3D Printing to Teach Greek History – 3DPrint.com

Art Professor Uses Ancient Beer Pong and 3D Printing to Teach Greek History – 3DPrint.com.

 

Art Professor Uses Ancient Beer Pong and 3D Printing to Teach Greek History

There are some college courses which just make sense to sign up for to fill in the gaps and raise the GPA to an acceptable level. Bowling. A Survey of the History of Television Cartoons. The Joy of Garbage. But until now, students interested in the intellectual underpinnings of Beer Pong had to do their investigations off school hours. Now a professor has remedied that oversight by teaching her students an ancient Greek drinking game, with 3D printing in place of the illustrations she once used.

Professor Heather Sharpe with the 3D printed version of a Solo Cup. Photo by Megan Gannon/Live Science

Heather Sharpe, an associate professor of art history at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, uses a 3D printed drinking cup to teach her students about a Beer Pong-like game the ancients played calledkottabos.

“I thought it would be really great if we could actually try to do it ourselves,” Sharpe says.

kottabosThe Greeks used the game, much as college students do today, to spice up their drinking binges. At what were referred to as symposia, men got hammered on wine and competed by tossing the the dregs of their beverages at a target to win prizes.

Sharpe says historical texts and artworks show that the two ways to playkottabos — one an attempt to knock down a disc balanced on a metal stand, and one aimed at hitting small dishes floating in a large bowl of water — used leftover wine. Paintings on kylixes, the boozing cups of the day, included scenes of partygoers playing kottabos.

So Sharpe called on Andrew Snyder, a professor of ceramics at West Chester University, to lend her a hand in making the game pieces playable. Snyder built three replica kylixes out of clay, but he ultimately used a MakerBot Replicator 2 to print lighter, more durable versions of the cups.

And it seems the game was every bit as tough as the modern equivalent.

“It took a fair amount of control to actually direct the wine dregs, and interestingly enough, some of the women were the first to get it,” Sharpe told Megan Gannon of Live Science. “In some respects, they relied a little bit more on finesse, whereas some of the guys were trying to throw it too hard.”

An original Kylix

While Sharpe and her students used diluted grape juice, the professor says she’d ultimately like to play kottaboswith real adult beverages, you know, to understand how the increasing levels of drunkenness would have affected the outcome of the game.

Science.

“It would be fun to actually experiment with wine drinking,” Sharpe says. “Of course, this was a university event, so we couldn’t exactly do it on campus. But really, to get the full experiment, it would be interesting to try it after having a kylix of wine — or after having two kylixes of wine.”

Do you know about any other instances where professors have used 3D printing to help their students understand history in a more ‘hands on’ way? If you do or you just want to comment, lets us know your thoughts on the Professor Uses Ancient Beer Pong and 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.

[Source: Live Science]

FaberSchool

COME FUNZIONA FABERSCHOOL?

Con Coming Tools (partner fornitore di hardware) si procederà alla formazione, al Faberlab di Tradate, dei docenti 3 per ogni istituto che dovranno affiancare i ragazzi nell’uso delle stampanti cedute alle scuole in comodato d’uso. Le stampanti, diverse fra loro, sono in grado di soddisfare le esigenze e le aspettative di ogni diversa scuola coinvolta: basic per i licei, leggermente avanzata per le scuole tecnico / professionali. Da sottolineare che le scuole coinvolte nel progetto saranno riconosciute “FaberSchool” con apposito protocollo siglato tra Confartigianato Imprese Varese, Provveditorato agli Studi della Provincia di Varese e le singole scuole

GLI OBIETTIVI

Viviamo in un tempo nel quale l’azione è sempre più importante delle parole. E’ per questo che con “FaberSchool” Confartigianato Imprese Varese ha deciso di intervenire direttamente nel rapporto scuola / lavoro. Se i due mondi devono avvicinarsi, quale miglior modo se non quello di portare l’azienda all’interno della scuola? O, ancora meglio, la qualità e la cura del lavoro artigiano applicato alle nuove tecnologie nel mondo dei giovani. La nuova frontiera è questa e la digital fabrication è un orizzonte al quale gli studenti stanno già guardando. Con “FaberSchool” lo faranno anche attraverso la consolidata esperienza degli imprenditori di Confartigianato Varese: formazione sul campo, learn by doing, applicazione delle conoscenze scolastiche direttamente alle macchine, crescita personale ed esperienze accumulabili che spingo i ragazzi verso ciò di cui hanno bisogno le nostre imprese

FaberSchool.

Why HP’s 3D Printing Technology is Amazing, What the Future Holds, and Where Their Competitors Stand – 3DPrint.com

Why HP’s 3D Printing Technology is Amazing, What the Future Holds, and Where Their Competitors Stand – 3DPrint.com.

 

Why HP’s 3D Printing Technology is Amazing, What the Future Holds, and Where Their Competitors Stand

hpreview4Over the past year or so, the tech geeks of the world have been pondering exactly what Hewlett Packard had up their sleeves in the development of their 3D printing technology. Yesterday, we finally found out. The reception received by the HP Multi Jet Fusion technology so far has been a bit mixed, but overall has been leaning toward the positive side. According to Hewlett-Packard’s stock price (NYSE: HPQ), Wall Street doesn’t seem to be either overly excited or very disappointed with the company’s two announcements yesterday. HPQ traded relatively steady, falling only slightly before the market closed.

With the excitement of HP’s 3D printer, comes a lot of speculation as to if it will cause the current “big dogs” within the 3D printing space, such as 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD), and Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) any harm. This is yet to be determined, but let’s investigate the technology behind what makes HP’s new 3D printing so unique, and how it may or may not hurt those companies which they suddenly will be competing against.

HOW HP MULTI JET FUSION WORKS

Not much was explained as far as how HP’s technology works. The key word here is “proprietary technology”. Prior to the announcement, people were pondering if HP was really a company that would have a desire to enter the 3D printing space. After all, since being founded in 1939, they have made a huge name for themselves within the 2D printing space, especially in the mid-1980s when they introduced both inkjet and laser printers to their line of products. However, 2D and 3D are totally different realms. Could HP’s technology really be transferable?  Yesterday we found out, and that answer is an emphatic “YES”.

Hewlett Packard, more specifically, soon to be HP Inc., has based much of their Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology on intellectual property that they hold for Thermal Inkjet printing. This is the technology used in a great majority of traditional HP printers. It’s the technology that allows for the printing of minute droplets of chemicals onto a surface, thus creating tremendous 2-dimensional colored prints. This same technology, and the patents behind it, are what makes HP’s Multi Jet Fusion both incredibly impressive and a one-of-a-kind achievement. This is the technology that other companies like 3D Systems and Stratasys could only previously have dreamt of utilizing without legal issues from HP.

So how does this technology relate to 3D printing? Unlike other 3D printers that use sophisticated lasers, or UV lights to cure a liquid polymer, HP’s technology is quite different. Much in the same way as 3D SLS (laser) printers lay down a bed of material powder, which is then struck by a precise laser to harden it, HP relies on this same method of printing, minus the laser.

The print process begins with a thin layer of powdered material being laid down on the print bed. After this, the similarities with other industrial level 3D printers pretty much ends. The next step is where HP begins utilizing their proprietary technology, when a large HP Thermal Inkjet array is passed from left-to-right, printing chemical agents across the entire working area (print bed), much in the same was as a traditional inkjet printer would print detailed documents. The HP Thermal Inkjet arrays feature an incredibly high number of nozzles per inch, and close to 30,000 nozzles on the entire print bar. These nozzles are capable of printing over 30 million drops per second across each inch of working area. This includes the ability to precisely lay down a fusing agent, a detailing agent, and/or coloring agent at resolutions previously unheard of within the 3D printing space (20 micron precision).

For those familiar with SLA (stereolithography) based machines which use a UV light to cure a liquid resin, HP’s technology uses an “energy source” to complete the printing of each layer. After the fusing agent and detailing agent are laid down on a single layer of material, an energy source is passed by, virtually “curing” the material, while an additional layer of powder is laid down. The detailing agent is used on areas of the print where fusing action needs to be either reduced or amplified. This leads to parts with sharp, smoother edges, as well as the ability to change textures of objects.

hpreview1

What this technology ultimately will lead to, is the ability for researchers to come up with methods of mixing fusing agents along with detailing agents, with the print material that is laid down on the bed, thus fabricating objects with unique final properties. There is no limit to the number of different chemical mixtures that could be devised, in turn leading to incredibly unique products with equally incredible properties (more on the potential of this below).

Some of the controllable variable properties that are potentially achievable with this technology, according to HP are as follow:

  • Accuracy and detail
  • Surface roughness, textures, and friction
  • Strength, elasticity, and other material characteristics
  • Opacity or translucency (for plastics)
  • Color (surface as well as embedded)
  • Electrical and thermal conductivity

Yes, you did read that last point correctly. HP Multi Jet Fusion technology could lead to extraordinary advancements in the 3D printing of objects which feature electrical and/or thermal conductivity. From the sounds of things, this is going to be something that the company will work on, as they did not showcase any objects with electrical components during their presentation.

Without a doubt, it is HP’s intellectual property which allowed them to come up with a machine that is capable of doing what others on the market currently can not. With this said, however, the first HP 3D printers wont officially be released until 2016. In this 1.5 to 2 year span, HP will certainly be working on ways in which they can create the most useful combinations of material and fusing agents to ultimately produce products with varying degrees of physical and possibly electrical properties.

Also within this time frame, companies like 3D Systems and Stratasys will be working on their own technology trying to maintain the market share that HP hopes to steal from them.

10X’s FASTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE ON THE MARKET

Probably the boldest statement that I heard during the HP event yesterday was when Dion Weisler stated that his company’s Multi Jet Fusion technology is 10 times faster than any other 3D printing technology on the market today. This apparently is true, but how long will this remain a true statement?

hpreview3

Back in June, you may recall a report by 3D Systems that they are working on creating a 3D printing system that looks to increase print speeds by a factor of 50. If this is the case, it looks as though HP will have some catching up of their own to do, perhaps even before they release their first 3D printer to the public.

Undoubtedly, Stratasys is working on their own new technology as well, and with 2 years to catch up to HP, it wouldn’t be surprising to see something from them before the end of next year.

EXTREME ACCURACY IN COLORS AND DEVIATION OF MATERIAL PROPERTIES

hpreview2Because HP’s technology is so similar to that used by their traditional thermal inkjet printers, this means that color precision can virtually be just as good as we are used to seeing on their other machines. It doesn’t only apply to coloring though. It also applies to the fusing and detailing agents that may be laid down. Remember, these agents are what mix with the materials that are placed on the print bed, meaning that if HP’s R&D department can come up with some creative chemical mixtures, the ability to change properties mid-print could be astonishing.

If you are familiar with 2D printing, you know that a pixel is a single dot on an image. These are seen on printed objects as well as display screens. A 3-dimensional pixel is called a voxel (short for volumetric pixel), and HP’s technology has the ability to print at the volumetric level. This means different colors and potentially properties for each individual voxel.

With that in mind, the potential here is incredible (more on this below).

CONSUMER LEVEL 3D PRINTERS FROM HP?

Most within the industry, predicted that HP would be announcing 3D printing technology directed at industry and large scale corporations. They were right on the mark with these predictions. However, HP has an incredible ability to scale up and down with their technology. Much like their ability to create desktop 2D printers as well as large scale printers used by printing presses, magazines, and other large companies. Remember, their 3D printers will utilize the same HP Thermal Inkjet array technology used by their 2D printers. This ultimately means that it will be possible to scale these machines to reach a lower price point and greater audience, and could perhaps one day lead to HP Multi Jet 3D printers in individual homes.

While HP says that their printers will be more affordable than the competition, this probably doesn’t mean much for ordinary consumers. The competition has machines priced upwards of $250,000, and in some cases much higher. A moderate price decrease won’t exactly make these machines “affordable”.

SAY GOODBYE TO STL FILES

HP Multi Jet Fusion technology will not be able to print using ordinary STL files which we are all used to seeing within the 3D printing space. They simply do not provide enough information for the computer systems on these machines to use when printing in detailed colors. While the company isn’t suggesting a particular file type, they are suggesting that we look elsewhere for answers. They explain:

“Shortcomings of the STL format in terms of processing time and object dimensional precision are a barrier for the production of complex, high-precision parts by new technologies such as HP Multi Jet FusionTM technology. Furthermore, this format only allows geometric representation, so it does not allow voxel-by-voxel information to be carried from the CAD software to the printer. To realize the full potential of 3D printing, the roadmaps of 3D printers and 3D CAD software must be aligned, and the roadmaps must be accompanied by a change to a more information-rich file format.”

FUTURE

hpevent-printerThis is just the start of HP within the 3D printing space. I get the feeling that the company was rushed a bit into announcing their 3D printing endeavors, as the examples that they have shown us, do not do justice for what this technology is capable of ultimately producing. It really is amazing, and I don’t think too many people realize what it could potentially do for manufacturing. When we talk about the third industrial revolution, I truly believe it is coming, and it will be even more amazing than anyone could possibly imagine, thanks to, in a big part, HP.

The future for HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology is one of complete customization of objects on a one-to-one basis. The groundwork is there to lay down different layers of materials on a layer-by-layer basis, and then mix with these layers a different fusing or detailing agent on an individual pixel level, thus creating completely unique material properties for each and every voxel of an object. This far exceeds the ability of any technology out there today, whether it be 3D printing, hand made products, or more traditional manufacturing methods such as injection molding. This will allow for materials that we have never dreamt possible, featuring colors and properties unlike ever before. I don’t know if everyone reading this can even grasp the concept of what this potentially means, but it could be extraordinary, and completely revolutionary.

IN CONCLUSION

Simply judging by the amount of times I have written words like “incredible”, “extraordinary” and “amazing” in this article, there is no question about it that HP will become a major player within the 3D printing space. Will it hurt the bottom line of companies like 3D Systems and Stratasys? This is yet to be determined. While HP can rely on some very useful patents which they hold, so can their competition, who have been working on creating advanced methods of 3D printing for decades longer than HP has. HP’s financial resources should be a huge factor in allowing them to conduct research and development on a massive scale, while also outspending their competition in terms of marketing, and acquiring other newcomers to the industry.

Regardless, the next few years within the 3D printing space will see many incredible advancements, many of which will surprise, stun and fascinate us all. I believe that HP will join the current leaders like 3D Systems and Stratasys in doing so.  This is only the beginning.

What do you think about HP’s 3D printing announcement? What is the potential that this technology could create? Discuss in the HP 3D Printer forum thread on 3DPB.com.