3D Printing

Sensing the World in 3D

The growing popularity of 3D printing among the hobbyists as well as professional designers suggests a comparable rise in the use of reality-capture devices — hardware that lets you scan and capture the shape and geometry of physical objects. With 3D printers, Microsoft is betting the consumer models will pave the way for costlier, bigger professional models. (For more, read “Microsoft Adding Plut-and-Play 3D Printing to Windows OS,” May 7, 2014.) There’s good reason to make a similar assumption about 3D scanners as well.

Priced $399, the Cubify Sense seems ready to capture not just geometry but also the attention of early adopters and curious tech users. Measuring roughly 7 x 5 x 1 inches, the 3D scanner is smaller and lighter than a typical hardcover book. The device has no independent power source. It operates through a USB connection to a tablet or computer. The computer is also required for downloading the Sense software to activate and drive the device. Since whatever you want to scan may not be located close to your desktop, a laptop or a mobile tablet you can carry around is the best option for operating the scanner. Continue reading

The Da Vinci Codex, Decoded in 3D

Leonardo Da Vinci, remembered for his artistic masterpiece Mona Lisa, also left behind quite a lot of engineering drawings that were never realized or tested. They’re preserved in his sketchbook, known as The Codex Arundel (now digitized and archived online at the British Library’s site). Many of his ideas — like his mechanical wings, flying ships, and war engines — would have required crews, carpenters, and craftsmen to properly prototype and test. Suppose he could travel in time and gain access to the type of 3D CAD programs designers and engineers use today for concept exploration, what might he have done with it? How would his ideas look as digital prototypes? Continue reading

GPU-Accelerated Romance, 3D-Printed Valentines, and CAD-Cut Jewels

Most of you rely on the GPU to render your CAD assemblies into ray-traced eye candies or pump up the blood and gore in your favorite first-person shooter games. (Did I hear someone mention Battlefield 3?) It turns out, with a little bit of programming — and a lot of ingenuity — you might also be able to use the graphics processor to speed up your search for a love match. Continue reading

Introducing Joe Lutgen, the 2013 DE-Stratasys Rapid Ready Sweepstakes Winner

In the wee hours of one morning, Joe Lutgen came across the DE-Stratasys Rapid Ready sweepstakes announcement. It offered Joe — and many others — a chance to win a Mojo 3D printer, priced around $9,900 retail. Joe, who owns and runs his own engineering consulting business RSI Mechanical LLC, is no stranger to 3D printing. He has used it while working with clients in the medical equipment, automotive, and aerospace sectors.

“Maybe I have a shot at this,” Joe thought. So he entered his name. A few weeks later, he received a call from DE‘s publisher Tom Conlon. That’s how Joe found out he was about to become the owner of a brand new Mojo. Continue reading

The Stratasys-Objet Merger: Going Beyond the Headlines

The list of major players in rapid prototyping and 3D printing is not a very long one. In fact, if you try to count them with your fingers, you wouldn’t need to use both hands. In that tightly packed corner, a new super pact was formed when 3D Systems acquired Z Corp. this January. Another one emerged last month when Stratasys and Objet came together. That leaves essentially two big names — 3D Systems and Stratasys — as the principle movers of the industry. In this podcast recorded, Jon Cobb, Stratasys’ executive VP of global product marketing, and Bruce Bradshaw, Objet’s director of marketing, clarified the reasons behind the merger and addressed some questions on post-merger operations. Continue reading