A former classmate of mine is deeply passionate about 3D printing, so much so that he has created his own design and has launched a Kickstarter to try and get the ball rolling to produce and sell his design. I don’t have any experience with additive 3D printing processes, and I only have limited experience with a subtractive process, but his design and integration looks solid. I think the main selling feature is the dual nozzle design which lets you print in two colors simultaneously, or with two materials simultaneous. There are other features such as having a fully enclosed printing volume to prevent outside contamination or disturbances from ruining the printing process.
One thing in particular I thought was pretty cool was the dissolving supports. With the additive process, you need to have supports underneath certain shapes to prevent them from collapsing under their own weight during the printing process. With this, the printer will print the support from one spool and the item from the other, and the support can then be dissolved, leaving you with the finished product. Very neat idea.
What is a kickstarter if not a sales pitch? lol. I was more interested in discussing 3D printing technology and how this “advertised” printer compares to others on the market. Like I said, I’ve only worked with subtractive processes: each layer is a thin layer of powder that’s bonded with a resin laid down by printer cartridges, and its done over and over again. It made it easy to create complex shapes, but it seemed wasteful and it was mechanically complex (see: zCorporation Z650 Rapid Prototyping Machine).
I’m really interested to see how 3D printing will be used for space exploration. I’ve heard rumors of a guy building a device to print moon homes using moon dust and a binder as the material.
Even though it’s starting to look a little dated, I still love the Flamberge.
And now that you mention it, wasn’t someone on the old forums selling 3D prints of some of the ship models from Infinity? Or maybe it was a company. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was 3D printing, and probably a very early commercial application for it. Who was that? I remember a couple people on the forums got prints of their favorite ships from Infinity.