3D Printing. By the People. For the People.

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Jimmy Carter is a Big Think Expert. Tim Ferris is a Big Think Expert. And now Fabricastl founder Brian Palacios is a Big Think expert, too. Do you want to hear his thoughts on how to make money with 3D Printing? We can’t reprint it here, but head on over to Big Think to read his (straightforwardly-titled) article, “How You Can Profit from 3D Printing”. Leave a comment or two on the Big Think page to let us know what you think!

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Spaceways

by Fabricastl

Launching a 3D printer into space just makes sense, right?  Instead of catapulting an inventory of replacement parts into the cosmos, it seems better to ship raw material up there and 3D print whatever is needed.  Not only that—rocketing objects into space is expensive, and extreme vibration carries the risk of major damage.  Enter Made in Space: the company that intends to pioneer additive manufacturing in space. And what better partner could a 3D printing service prospecting the final frontier find than NASA?  When we caught up with Made in..

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3D printing is the first tile to set off an innovation domino effect. Beyond immediate disruptions to manufacturing, 3D printing leads to innovation that downplays craftsmanship and emphasizes design. Take padlocks. When MIT students released a program to 3D print counterfeit keys to high-security locks, the executives at Schlage probably didn’t think of it as innovation. Lock pickers everywhere did, but 3D printing keys is not the final domino. “Craftsmanship has been democratized” is a recent quote from 3D Systems CEO, Avi Reichental. The security of mechanical locks relies entirely..

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By now, you’ve surely seen coverage of the Cortex Cast, a futuristic-looking plaster alternative designed to make kids who fall out of trees and the cast of “Jackass” look cool when it’s time to set a broken bone. This cast shows everything that any 3D printing innovation should, primarily that it is better than the legacy solution: its superior design could make the “bulk, weight, and suffocation from ordinary plaster casts” a thing of the past; its honeycomb design more accurately mimics the structure of natural bone tissue; and each..

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Let all remaining skepticism about the mainstream viability of 3D printing slink quietly, and ashamed of itself, through the back door.  When a company like Microsoft announces that plug-and-play 3D printing support will be available in its next version of Windows (version 8.1, which will be released in August), it’s a pretty good indicator that the technology in question is here to stay. But, Microsoft isn’t expected to stop at making it easy to print using the Windows platform.  Speculation that Microsoft may release its own printer, or may at..

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In another huge, highly significant development in 3D printing M&A, it has been announced that commercial-grade printer-maker Stratasys will acquire consumer-grade manufacturer, MakerBot.  Following Stratasys’ merger with Objet, the transaction will mark the second major industry consolidation maneuver by the former in less than a year. The acquisition is a sure sign not only that early mover MakerBot is all grown up, but that the very industry itself, is entering adolescence.  Though an infant in the eyes of the masses, the additive manufacturing industry is more than 20 years old,..

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Fabricastl is a longtime supporter of 3D printing in the 3rd world, with a project of our own (to be announced soon) in our pocket. Still, we were tremendously excited to see this project reach its initial funding goal—the strategy for building the W.Afate 3D printer brings our own philosophy about introducing truly sustainable models of 3D printing in underdeveloped countries to the next level. Simply put, the W.Afate effort will not only put 3D printers on the ground in the West African Republic of Togo, it will begin to..

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Day one of the Bay Area Maker Faire was today!  In upcoming weeks, we’ll be blogging at greater length about the cool stuff we saw, new companies we met, and new trends  we sniffed out.  But, first, 5 things we absolutely loved about today: 1. Brook Drumm of Printrbot.  We’ve met Brook before and came to Maker Faire with solid knowledge of his Printrbot line–his consumer grade home printer kits retail from $299 to $1499 and show astonishing quality for the price.  We went to see him speak because, frankly,..

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Another societally-beneficial, common-sensical, business case justified use of 3D printing came to our attention this week: scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden have improved upon the traditional manufacture of thermoelectric generators (TEGs) used in some power station cooling towers to capture residual energy from the main generation process.  Those columns of steam that come rushing upward from cooling towers represent up to 60% of generated energy that traditional power plants don’t capture from the core process.  The use of specialized TEGs creates the..

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If any company should know a little something about making way for disruptive technology, it’s IBM.  So, it’s only fitting that Paul Brody, global industry leader for electronics at IBM, recently remarked that 3D printing, open source electronics, and intelligent robotics, are having a disruptive impact on the manufacturing industry. With 3D printing “achieving levels of performance required to be production-ready,”  he admitted what we already know: that costs are already competitive, and that the open source aspect poises the industry for even more explosive growth.   His advice? “Accept..

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