I’ve been fascinated by 3d printing technology for some time, but the tipping point was reached for me when I visited the 3DEA open house in NYC after getting the heads up from a coworker. I went a few times in fact and picked up the Make magazine “Ultimate Guide to 3d Printing” issue, something that deserves a post of its own. I also took a 3d modelling/design class with my wife on my third visit, something that was memorable because I was with my wife. ‘Nuff said about that.
Here’s an Ultimaker printing out one of the little robots in PLA.
First off, no, I still can’t figure out who or what 3DEA is. They seemed to be sponsored by (or partnered with) Ultimaker, UP! (the printer company, not the movie), solidoodle, Make magazine and who knows who else, but specifically what their angle is remains unclear to me. That said, they put on a good show and succeeded in piquing my interest, which seemed to be the point.
Various exotically printed goods one could order (ceramic!)…
These folks were evangelizing on behalf of the make-all-your-stuff-at-home! revolution like nobody’s business.
No you can’t go there, it seems to have finally ended today (although they shut down and came back to life several times already, so… keep checking back?), but you can go to the Makerbot store in NoHo. It’s not quite the carnival of inexplicable creativity the 3DEA open house was, but on the upside, you could walk out of the store with a 3d printer that is about as close as they come to plug-n-play as one can get at this juncture.
Here’s a Replicator 2 printing a thin plastic bracelet that is stretchy not because of the material (which is the standard, slightly brittle PLA often used by these beasties), but because of the elaborate springy design. I know you need hundreds of these in every color, and what else are you going to do? Buy them?