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Old 6th April, 2011, 07:41 PM
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The next Napster? Copyright questions as 3D printing comes of age

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The next Napster? Copyright questions as 3D printing comes of age

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Old 7th April, 2011, 12:14 AM
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Nice!
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Old 7th April, 2011, 02:46 PM
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Hate to parade my boundless ignorance, but is there a "simple" explanation of wth 3D printing is by some stroke of luck?
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Old 7th April, 2011, 07:34 PM
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Think literally.

3D printing is, quite literally, printing in 3 dimensions. Essentially what happens is that you have a bed containing some sort of material, usually plastic or resin, that can be melted and fused, or in the case of resin, 'activated', using a laser beam. An XY plotter moves the laser head (or less commonly, the head is stationary and the table moves) across the bed, flashing the laser as it goes, and printing a 2D 'slice' of the 3D design into the printing material. A new, thin layer of material is spread across the top of the box and the process repeats, so that the 3D design is gradually built up out of the 2D slices. When done, the material is removed from the box and then the 3D design is extracted. In some cases, the 3D design is finished as soon as it comes from the box. In other cases the 3D design is actually a reverse mold that is used for a one-time casting.

The whole process has made it much more cost-effective to do one-offs of designs than it used to be. While high-end industrial 3D printers can cost many tens of thousands of dollars, there are home-brew hobbyist units that can be built for a few hundred that are still quite capable. I forget where I found it, but I found plans for one that a guy built using salvaged engine parts (he was an auto mechanic, IIRC, and so had most of the parts just laying around).
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Old 10th April, 2011, 12:40 AM
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Thank you, Gizmo! So 3D really means 3D, that's most cool!
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Old 11th April, 2011, 08:34 PM
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Is "printer" a bit inaccurate? Sounds more like a "sculptor."
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Old 12th April, 2011, 06:42 PM
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I agree, "3D printer" suggest a printer that might print holograms and the like.

Sculpting is more like it, but the main difference is that you start with an empty space, and add to it, rather than start with a block of material, and subtract from it.
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Old 16th April, 2011, 11:20 PM
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Durn, I wanted to see them holomograms!
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