By DE Editors
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
So I was at this high-level manufacturing technology conference last year — I wonder still who got the idea to invite the likes of me to it. Anyway, one presentation covered the many ways rapid prototyping helps your business make better products faster. After the session, a mob in $300 business casual slacks surrounded the guy. They caressed his prototype samples like they were Moses’ original stone tablets. But they wandered away when they heard how much his unit cost. They could not justify the cost of an RP system based on the possibility that it would deliver new ways of thinking into their design process. The new uPrint Personal 3D Printer from Dimension Printing disposes of that objection.
The uPrint is the real deal. It uses fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology that Stratasys, Dimension’s parent company, pioneered and refined over the years to produce form, fit, and functional prototypes out of ABS plastic. Personal means that it is easy to install, set up, and use. It comes with all the stuff you need to get going such as cables and Windows software to take care of converting your 3D CAD models for RP printing. You just set it up, hit print, and the uPrint processes and builds your design layer by layer from the bottom up.
Speaking of output, the uPrint offers an 8 x 6 x 6 in. build envelope. Models are built on a removable modeling base, and it has a built-in support removal system. Of particular interest to you obsessive types, you can watch the progress of your model’s build through the translucent doors. All this is designed into a box that fits on a desktop, which is, of course, one reason why its called a personal system.
But while I find the personal aspect of the uPrint appealing, what really interests me is its broader appeal for the entire rapid prototype and manufacturing juggernaut. Watching all those executives at that conference, I could see their wheels turning. I could also see that they could not justify such an expense when the technology itself represented a dramatic change from how they perceived the design through manufacturing cycle. At $14,900, the uPrint is comparable to a loaded engineering workstation both in terms of price and the possibilities for new, innovative products and design processes. At $14,900, only fear of writing a check remains a barrier to your own personal RP capability.
You can learn more about out the uPrint and conjure up the possibilities of a personal, desktop 3D printer from today’s Pick of the week write-up. There are links to a video and spec sheets (no registration) as well as a link to the uPrint launch webcast (registration required as is patience as the legal and investor statements are made).
Thanks, Pal — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering Magazine