A Printed Toilet? Now I’ve Seen Everything!

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A University of Washington team created a toilet with a 3D printer.  The toilet are made from waste plastic and can be used for composting.  The lack of toilets is a huge issue in the developing world where it is estimated 2.5 billion people do not have adequate sanitation.  This has been a huge point of emphasis of the Gates Foundation.  This is a win-win, a use of waste to help handle a waste problem!

Scan, Print, Copy and Fax with Zeus


Zeus (used with permission)

I ran across a really cool device on KickStarter called Zeus.  Zeus brings a lot of things to mind from the father of the Greek gods “gonna throw a lightning bolt at you if you make me mad” or personally for me a roller coaster of the same name in my home state of Wisconsin.  However, in this case it’s a “do everything” 3D device brought to you by AIO Robotics, Inc.  According “The first and only device that allows users to 3D Scan, Print, Copy, and Fax objects with a touch of a button from one device.”  Scan, print and copy are pretty self explanatory, but fax is a little less obvious.  Fax is the ability to send files from one Zeus printer to another.  This device really has it all including software with nice “repair” features. Continue reading

Are you a Student? Enter the Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge!

Used with permission

Used with permission

We were very excited to see the Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge (http://www.stratasys.com/extremeredesign) by Stratasys.  According to the site, “The contest calls upon secondary and post-secondary students around the globe to redesign an existing product or create a new product that improves how a task is accomplished.”  Prizes include cash, use of a 3D printer and finalists even get a print of their own entry design! Continue reading

Good Versus Evil in a 3D World – New Laws on the Horizon?


Image courtesy of chanpipat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Technology is usually neither good nor evil, it’s all in the application.  Unfortunately the criminal element is up on 3D printing technology as well.  Here’s the latest such infraction with thieves using 3D printers to make ATM card skimmers.  Without giving too many suggestions, you don’t have to think long about other illegal applications from key capture and duplication to simple counterfeiting.  Just like the internet brought a technological revolution, it also brought the need for new laws and security.  I imagine 3D printing/scanning will be no different.  Many crimes with a 3D printer will violate existing laws, but no doubt there are gaps we can count on criminal creativity to find for us to fill.


Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With two children, I (Tom) often think, “What should they study for career success?” If either one expressed an interest in making a mark in the 3D printing industry, I probably would recommend studying one or more of the following.

1. Design

With every product, first comes the design. Becoming proficient in design techniques and the use of design tools such as CAD software will provide the opportunity to bring marketable skills to the 3D printing industry. Continue reading

Playing the Stock Market With 3D Printing

3D Printing Stock Market

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some may be surprised to learn that a few 3D printing-focused companies are publically traded billion dollar entities.  Companies such as 3D Systems Corporation (www.3dsystems.com) (NYSE: DDD), Stratasys  Ltd. (www.stratasys.com) (NASDAQ:  SSYS), ExOne Co. (www.exone.com) (NASDAQ: XONE), and Proto Labs, Inc. (www.protlabs.com)(NYSE: PRLB) generate a significant portion of their revenue from 3D printing and all but Proto Labs has a market cap north of $1 billion. Continue reading

XBox One the 3D Printer/Scanner Console?

XBox One

XBox One

The XBox One has 3D flowing through its veins.  Not only does it have an updated Kinect sensor that will no doubt be used for 3D scanning, but 3D printing has been integral to its development.  The console prototype used at the unveiling was 3D printed.  The controller prototypes have also been printed.  Microsoft also used 3D printing to develop its Surface tablet and we recently wrote about 3D printing being built into Windows 8 as well as a new Kinect for Windows.  Props to Microsoft for being on the leading edge of 3D printing!

3D Printing is NASA Rocket Strong


3D Rocket

A liquid oxygen/gaseous hydrogen rocket injector assembly built using 3D printing technology is hot-fire tested at NASA Glenn Research Center’s Rocket Combustion Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio.
Credit: NASA Glenn Research Center

Sometimes people question the strength of 3D printed parts and if it could really replace welding and CNC for the most extreme applications.  Here’s a great article about a 3D printed rocket part that accumulated 46 seconds of total firing time at temperatures nearing 6,000 F while burning liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen, showing no difference to standard parts.  Any questions?

Jeff and the 3D Printer Experience in Chicago

3D Printer Experience

Used with permission from http://www.the3dprinterexperience.com

I was reading about a great new facility in Chicago called The 3D Printer Experience.  My good friend Jeff, who is a graphic designer, just moved up that way and I figured this was a perfect evening diversion for him and a great 1st guest reporter for us.  So we made an appointment and sent Jeff in to check the place out. Continue reading

Back to school in 3D



Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can now go to school in 3D printing!  New York University now offers a courses in 3D printing.  Courses cover everything from CAD software to making prototyping.  It is great to see this skill set being formalized and not just a hobby.  I mentor a great group of Georgia Tech students and they always are playing with 3D printers, but it always struck me as more of an extracurricular than a class.  A new generation of engineers fully trained in 3D could really rock the workforce!