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HP announces 3D printer range

HP announces 3D printer range

The 3D printers from HP are designed to be cheap, but will struggle to compete with open-source designs like the MakerBot.

Hewlett Packard plans to takes its printing devices to a whole new dimension - literally - with the release of a line of relatively affordable 3D printers.

As reported over on Wired.com, the printers - capable of creating fully three-dimensional objects from meshes created in software like Google's Sketchup or the open-source Blender - are designed to be significantly cheaper than their competition, bringing 3D printing capabilities to design houses that a current struggling along on old-fashioned two dimensional devices.

Sadly for anyone hoping to snag one of these puppies for their home - perhaps with the dream of creating custom Lego bricks to finally finish those sadly impossible creations - the key word in the opening paragraph is relatively: the devices are expected to compete with current devices such as those offered by rival manufacturer Stratasys for $15,000 (£9,200).

While HP hasn't yet confirmed its selling price, it's likely to be in the thousands rather than the hundreds: a great sell for businesses looking to offer bespoke design or prototyping services, but a long way away from becoming a feature of every home.

Thankfully, other innovators are stepping up to fill the gap: from the completely DIY RepRap, which is built on the von Nuemann-esque concept of a 3D printer capable of printing other 3D printers, to the kit-form MakerBot which offers an open-source alternative to HP's new range with kits starting at just $750 (£460).

Can you imagine a killer app for a 3D printer in the home, or will it always remain a toy for big businesses to use? Wondering how you can convince your boss you need one of HP's new devices, or do you have your eye on a MakerBot for home? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

35 Comments

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Bursar 20th January 2010, 15:32 Quote
Quote:
Can you imagine a killer app for a 3D printer in the home
Ofcourse, generating loads of little houses and hotels to ensure that you always win at Monopoly! Printing a few extra Scrabble tiles wouldn't hurt either... :)
pizan 20th January 2010, 15:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bursar
Quote:
Can you imagine a killer app for a 3D printer in the home
Ofcourse, generating loads of little houses and hotels to ensure that you always win at Monopoly! Printing a few extra Scrabble tiles wouldn't hurt either... :)

LoL

I suggest reading Makers by Cory Doctrow for the possibilites of at home 3D printers.

Edit: spelling
DocWolfe 20th January 2010, 15:41 Quote
If there is a problem sharing music, imagine the kick back if people do start creating their own lego bricks at home. Someone posts the schematics for something that is patented and bam everyone's printing their own.
alpaca 20th January 2010, 16:04 Quote
normally, there is this little chance i could lay my hands on a so called 'mendel', the last version of the reprap machine.
The_Beast 20th January 2010, 16:09 Quote
What average home needs a 3d printer



I'll tell you, not many
Veles 20th January 2010, 16:31 Quote
I'd love to be able to print off my own warhammer miniatures for cheap :p

Unfortunately they ain't good at making anything strong and detailed from what I've seen, there is a reason why they're called rapid prototyping machines.
VipersGratitude 20th January 2010, 16:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bursar
Ofcourse, generating loads of little houses and hotels to ensure that you always win at Monopoly! Printing a few extra Scrabble tiles wouldn't hurt either... :)

boring. dildos.
l3v1ck 20th January 2010, 17:17 Quote
I don't quite understand the concept. Is it going to print an image onto paper that uses colour and glasses to give a 3D image? If so, why can't any existing printer do that with the right software? If that's not the concept, what is it?
alpaca 20th January 2010, 17:28 Quote
no, it is a printer that prints real objects, like a glass or box ect. there are several methods, one is to extrude plastic layer per layer, while the head goes up each time. another is by 'gluing' powder. difficult to explain. i know of liquid based systems also. and i'm sure there are lots more. the one thing common is that they are (very) expensive. exept for those open source variants of course
Unknownsock 20th January 2010, 17:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Beast
What average home needs a 3d printer



I'll tell you, not many

I think its more of a want, than a need, just like 90% of other hardware.
FeRaL 20th January 2010, 17:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
I'd love to be able to print off my own warhammer miniatures for cheap :p

Unfortunately they ain't good at making anything strong and detailed from what I've seen, there is a reason why they're called rapid prototyping machines.

Yeah but you could make molds out of the prototypes you make and then do lead castings...
l3v1ck 20th January 2010, 18:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpaca
no, it is a printer that prints real objects, like a glass or box ect. there are several methods, one is to extrude plastic layer per layer, while the head goes up each time. another is by 'gluing' powder. difficult to explain. i know of liquid based systems also. and i'm sure there are lots more. the one thing common is that they are (very) expensive. exept for those open source variants of course
Ahhh, that makes much more sense.
TSR2 20th January 2010, 18:53 Quote
Open source? Is that a design you download and print using your 3D printer?
Javerh 20th January 2010, 19:20 Quote
Traditionally, 3d printers have been expensive to buy and expensive to maintain. If you think ink cartridges for normal printers are expensive, prepare to be shocked. 3D ink cartridges will cost a lot more and they are more prone to jamming.
LucusLoC 20th January 2010, 19:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Beast
What average home needs a 3d printer



I'll tell you, not many

what average home needed a computer 50 years ago? or a car 100 years ago? wait until they become good at printing useful stuff, then you will need one to print things for you, from utensils to tools to toys. someone will eventually figure out how to print something durable like lexan with enough resolution to be appealing, then all kinds of people will discover they have a use for it.
alpaca 20th January 2010, 20:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TSR2
Open source? Is that a design you download and print using your 3D printer?

yup it is: www.thingiverse.com

and the printer i was talking about is reprap.org
confusis 20th January 2010, 20:27 Quote
This+MNPCTech Case design competitions = epic win!
paisa666 20th January 2010, 20:45 Quote
Damn it.

I want one for next christmas, but at that price seems a litle impossible :P

Can you imagine, it would be like going back to childhood printing your own litle buildingas, and litle cars. Uuuuhhh Medieval Miniaturess!!!!!!!! (i just had a seizure)
Combatus 20th January 2010, 21:31 Quote
Saw one of these on TV where a group of film artists designed a scale 3D render of Transformers' Bumblebee in and then 'printed' it out into some kind of plastic powder. When it hardened they reached in and pulled it out of the powder. Amazing and the detail was incredible.
The_Beast 20th January 2010, 21:55 Quote
A local technical college has a 3D printer, my CAD teacher has used a couple time. He'd love to have one but most high school don't see enough of a need to buy one
TSR2 20th January 2010, 22:19 Quote
@alpaca: Want one!!!!
[- pio -] 21st January 2010, 01:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocWolfe
If there is a problem sharing music, imagine the kick back if people do start creating their own lego bricks at home. Someone posts the schematics for something that is patented and bam everyone's printing their own.
Like these? :D
kenco_uk 21st January 2010, 01:48 Quote
Imagine the modding potential. You could design and print your own heatsink :)
The_Beast 21st January 2010, 02:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
Imagine the modding potential. You could design and print your own heatsink :)

No, but you could print a plastic 3d image of it and have it made into a heatsink



You could prototype an entire custom case without a single cut
Javerh 21st January 2010, 09:07 Quote
I'm still quite skeptic. I mean we don't print our books, newspapers or carton boxes on regular printers. I mostly use my laser printer to print out maps, recipes and school papers. That is things that get thrown in the bin after use. In a similar fashion I predict that this will be used to flesh out cad-drawings, do garden landscaping plans and create wonky 3d birthday-cards.

^^ You can use metal powder printers to make sintered metal items. A 3D heatsink is plausible, but it would fail in heat transmission to regular heatsinks.
scawp 21st January 2010, 09:35 Quote
The only home use for a 3D printer is for idiots like me to print out their knobs, true story
dec 21st January 2010, 11:24 Quote
hmmmmm 3D printer

*howtobuildaferrari.com*
*howtobuildagirlfriend.com*
D B 21st January 2010, 13:33 Quote
Limited in what they can do, or be used for? Yes .. much like other tech when it first came out.


You need to think further down the road ...these ideas could end up as being the poor mans replicator
Sethva 21st January 2010, 15:38 Quote
Hey, it's one step closer to the star trek replicator!
ZERO <ibis> 21st January 2010, 18:04 Quote
This would be great for modding or random projects around the house. If only the cost would come down faster. Once there are sub $1000 models from a few different companies that is when it will really explode.
dylawesome 21st January 2010, 18:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Javerh
I'm still quite skeptic. I mean we don't print our books, newspapers or carton boxes on regular printers. I mostly use my laser printer to print out maps, recipes and school papers. That is things that get thrown in the bin after use. In a similar fashion I predict that this will be used to flesh out cad-drawings, do garden landscaping plans and create wonky 3d birthday-cards.

^^ You can use metal powder printers to make sintered metal items. A 3D heatsink is plausible, but it would fail in heat transmission to regular heatsinks.

On heatsinks: you're probably right, though you can infuse powder metallurgy produced objects with other metal of a lower melting point, significantly altering its thermal and mechanical properties. It'd certainly fail on the price/benefit comparison!

As for making rapid prototyping technologies available, the business model that makes the most sense is for having many small, local RP shops that people can go visit. In addition to making neat, novel things, RP is very useful and cost effective for repairing or getting a replacement part for something that is not easily available. Getting a one-off part is extremely expensive with traditional manufacturing approaches -- in fact, the setup costs are sometimes not that different for producing 1 than 100,000.

Basically, once society has access to rapid prototyping, and gets used to it, rapid prototyping will create fantastic new possibilities. It's a lot like the early internet: right now we're stuck with AOL and Prodigy, and a bunch of useless, unsearchable sites, but give it a decade or so and you get facebook, bit-tech, and LOLcats!
VipersGratitude 21st January 2010, 18:40 Quote
The video that got me hooked on TED:

5n-APFrlXDs
Zoon 21st January 2010, 18:44 Quote
I've been following the RepRap for a very long time.

There's been experiments on laying down PCBs with it - essentially, printing a solid layer of plastic, then printing the conductive material, and covering/surrounding it then with plastic.

Its possible to make resistors and all sorts by using the appropriate conductive material in the correct quantity.

Very excited!
JaSoN... 22nd January 2010, 08:41 Quote
iv had a good look at rapid prototyping... so much so me and a mate, with the help of catia,made a miniature landcrusier ute (I'm Aussie), complete with spot lights winch bull bar and tread pattern and to a point, working suspension.

http://www.ferret.com.au/c/Concentric-Asia-Pacific/Rapid-Prototyping-and-Model-Manufacturing-from-Concentric-Asia-Pacific-p19348
Sethva 25th January 2010, 04:46 Quote
Sweet! I was just thinking about modeling. A 3D printer would also be awesome for making custom soldier figures, give some depth to those ww2 or napo battles. Altho the lvl of detail needs to be quite high... Not sure what the limit is.
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