Now you can scan and print 3D clones of pretty much any small item in your home. It's great.
Want to make 3D copies of an object but don't have the know-how to design a computer model of it yourself? MakerBot has got you covered. The company is taking preorders for their Digitizer, a laser scanner that can create a 3D model of any object so you can print copies of it from your 3D printer. Soon, my army of action figures will be complete...
We checked out all the 3D-printed goodness on display, and even got a new toy for the office.
We're pretty excited about 3D printing here at Geekosystem. When we realized how close our office is to the MakerBot retail store in New York City, we decided we had to go down to check it out. If you live in the area or are looking for a geeky stop on a New York visit we highly recommend giving the store a look.
Man, 3D printing keeps getting more and more popular! The tech keeps getting better, so it makes sense that its popularity should rise as well. Soon everyone will have their very own 3D printer. You'll be able 3D print your friends, your pet, maybe even yourself! But until that day, let's consider MakerBot's new Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner, which lets you duplicate a dirty garden gnome, or at least whatever fits inside its scanning frame.
MakerBot Industries, the aptly named company that makes MakerBots, has just released their newest impressive printer-that-could. The Replicator 2 has a host of upgrades from previous models, and though it can't take garbage off the street and print it into an edible dinner or usable firearm just yet, it wouldn't be surprising to learn that we're currently living in the time period when that kind of future technology got its start.
Being able to print your own gadgets, gears, and gizmos at home from a 3D printer has the potential to revolutionize DIY culture and bring it into the mainstream. However, the technique, popularized by MakerBot Industries
and others, still has flaws. For one thing, the models created by 3D printers
, while impressive, are less than structurally sophisticated.
They don't handle high levels of stress very well, and the points where a model is most likely to be gripped or push against another object can weaken and break. A new piece of software from Purdue University
could solve that trouble by automatically scanning designs for 3D models for structural weak points and then reinforcing them as the model prints.
Right now, you can pop on Kickstarter and order yourself a Tangibot
, pictured above. If it looks a little familiar, well, it should -- Tangibot is a proud clone of Makerbot
. In fact, a couple of tweaks aside, it is exactly like a Makerbot -- except that it's made in China, and thus costs about 1/3 less than the Brooklyn-based originals. Matt Strong
, the man behind the Tangibot, isn't shy about the similarities between the two products, either. Up until a few days ago, he leaned heavily on the Makerbot name
-- which is trademarked, even though the tech that runs it is open source. He's recently replaced that wording with more generalities -- Tangibot is now "a clone of a very popular open source 3D Printer." But Strong's reliance on the Makerbot's reputation to sell his own, barely modified version have earned him some bad blood
from the very community he's trying to appeal to.
To herald the arrival of their new bigger, two-color 3D printer The Replicator, MakerBot
released a stop motion animated film about a 3D printed princess
called The Right Heart. It's even got a catchy tune, too. In the video, the princess goes looking for her missing heart, finding it in an unexpected place. It's cool because the aforementioned princess doesn't need rescuing, or someone else to (in this sense, literally) complete her, she goes out and earns what she's looking for on her own. It's a good message, and fits with the MakerBot ethos, as well -- she didn't receive what she wanted, she made it herself. But I can't help myself feeling a little sorry for those fellas with their hearts on the ground. See the video, after the break.
Here's another ecological crisis you probably weren't aware of: Hermit crabs
, which normally live the discarded shells of other sea creatures, are facing a massive shell shortage
. That's why Makerbot
, the creators of consumer grade 3D printers
, have launched a crowd-sourced endeavor to house these crustaceans called Project Shellter
The aim of the project, which is headed by Makerbot's artist in residence Miles Lightwood
, is to create shells using the company's 3D printers that hermit crabs can use to live in. Without shells, the soft exoskeletons of the crabs make them an easy target for predators. Furthermore, a lack of natural shells has forced hermit crabs to use garbage such as shotgun shells and bottles as makeshift homes.
It's an ambitious project which will have to overcome issues of biodegradabilty, safety for the crabs (non-toxic shells, please), and what kind of shells crabs will prefer. If you've got a 3D printer, or are a keen designer, head over to Makerbot's Thingiverse
and create some shells of your own!
Thanks to the wonders of 3D printing, MakerBot enthusiast Junior Tan has built an iPhone case that puts John Marston to shame. Modeled on the Ruger LCR Double-Action Revolver, Tan's case can be printed out and assembled by anyone with a MakerBot of their own.