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Ewloe, United Kingdom
Writing, tweeting, debating and occasionally getting a little over-excited about 3D Printing. But always aiming to keep it real!

Wednesday 24 March 2010

The Alaris30 on Japanese TV

Objet has played a blinder here:


[Hat-tip to G Sachs via the RP-ML]

I have to say, in my opinion Objet has dominated the additive sector in terms of marketing strategy, coordination and synchronicity.

And you just have to admire the enthusiasm of the Japanese! The negativity and procrastination that prevails in Western cultures is perhaps one of our most serious limitations. 

Increasing Competition — Never a Bad Thing

Things are really starting to heat up at the lower end of the 3D printer market. Another sub-£1000 model has just been launched on to the market. It's rather bizarre name is Cube.ly — I kind of get it, but I am not convinced the name tells the world what it is and what it is trying to do. Vague noises about this one have been creeping around since February and I've been trying to find out a little more, but it's not forthcoming.

When I say vague noises, the various blogs and tweets that I have seen have all been saying the same thing, virtually word for word, ie regarding its being a derivative of RepRap, the way it is to be built, cost, and the rather startling ambition of a sales target volume of 10,000 by the 1st January 2013. Despite lengthy searches and a few phone calls, I am struggling to find out more. Nothing on building parts, materials, accuracy, speed. All the key parameters that people need to know to build parts or to compare on a like for like basis with alternate machines in the same price bracket.

So, where are we at today with 3D printers under 5k?  RapMan, Makerbot, Fab@Home, RepRap and now Cube.ly.  At times like this I REALLY wish I had a crystal ball ......

In truth, all these systems can probably find a place and get good market share, but when this (widespread 3D printing) takes off, as it surely will some time soon, I can't wait to see how it plays out.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

The BBC Has Seen & Tweeted

Regarding my post a week ago, the BBC seem to prefer tweeting to blogging .....


The net is spreading wider and it is so gratifying to see the responses and watch people get hooked on the technology.

Friday 12 March 2010

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Wednesday 10 March 2010

BFB RapMan is Manufacturing Parts

Commissioned to find and write a compelling case study on the BFB RapMan, I knew it would not be a hard brief, in that uptake is pretty rapid at the moment. However, what I was not expecting, was to come across a user that is employing the kit form of the RapMan machine to manufacture end-use components! I was staggered, I have to say. This is immense. An additive technology, under £1,000, is producing plastic components for a finished product. Granted, the volumes are not huge — yet. But, the potential is there.

I am currently waiting for approval to get this story out there into the public domain, but just as soon as I do, I will be posting it here, as well as sending it as far and wide as possible.

Monday 8 March 2010

I love it when this happens ....

..... when the light suddenly goes on for someone! 

Edward Machin from 'The Manufacturer' recently visited GKN and EADS on the same day. He blogged soon after. What he saw at EADS seems to have blown his mind. The following is just a snippet of what he wrote, but the full post can be viewed here: http://www.themanufacturer.com/uk/content/10276/We_are_the_dreamers_of_dreams

"Additive layer manufacturing (ALM) effectively ‘grows’ components layer by layer from a powdered material, be it plastics or metal....
Very simply, this stuff shifts the shifts that paradigms shift. Yes, these terms get tossed about like cheap orange frisbees at the first sign of a British summer, but genuinely, people, and to co-opt Lincoln Steffens, “I’ve seen the future, and it works.” Moreover, with its genesis in Rapid Prototyping’s underlying technology ALM appears to have found a soulmate in the direct manufacture of net-shape and high performance aerospace components.

The ALM project at Innovation Works, EADS’ research and technology production facility, is headed up by Dan Johns. A charmingly infectious chatterbox, he wastes little time in introducing me to a selection of structurally superior, ultra-efficient (with a percentage of raw materials reniserted into the stock in powder form) and aesthetically beautiful structures — in a way that carbon fiber-reinforced polymer seldom is. Did I mention drastically reduced lead times, to boot?

His team of technological merry pranksters, with breakdancing ecological evangelists and ex-national table tennis champions among their number, are perhaps more remarkable still. Now, I’ve never been one for sentimental blubbering, but the guys and dolls at Innovation Works truly live and breathe this stuff, and it shows. Heck, I’ll just say it; tis a beautiful thang." 

Following on from the recent article in the Telegraph covering EADS Innovation Works, I also happen to know that the BBC are interested in what is going on at EADS too. In terms of proving the reality and not just the hype — EADS really is leading the way and taking it much wider than it has EVER been before.