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“3D printing will enable every human on this planet to design, customize, and create products to solve problems – from the slightest household annoyance to global issues – and we’re here to fuel the revolution from the bottom up.” – Dreambox Team
A Dreambox is a 3D printing vending machine. It is the simplest way to have your custom models created. Take away the dozens of hours to setup a 3D printer, take away the weeks of waiting to receive an item from a 3D printing service, take away the need for a full-time operator and you’re left only with 3D printing’s unique manufacturing capabilities. With a Dreambox users can freely experiment with and harness 3D printing’s advantages.
The team came up with their concept while at UC Berkeley where it was hard to get access to 3D printers for rapid prototyping. Their only alternative was to order from online 3D printing marketplaces which would take 10-12 days for delivery and was more expensive.
Having an item 3D printed with a Dreambox is as simple as uploading or choosing a design online, clicking the “Print” button and retrieving the item once it’s ready. The details of what happens in between choosing to print an item and receiving that item are not important to the end user. What is important is that multiple users can get physical versions of their digital creations faster and simpler than ever before.
Dreamboxes are built to order with a varying number of internal 3D printers and lockers based on customer needs. Instead of creating our own 3D printers, we leverage the best of existing 3D printing technology so we can stay on the forefront of quality. Increasing the internal number of 3D printers and lockers lets a single Dreambox service a larger number of individuals.
Dreambox currently uses fused deposition modeling to create products from bioplastics, but will in the future offer additional material options.
Learn more at the Dreambox website.
Below is a concept video of the Dreambox 3D printing vending machine.
And here’s an inside look at how the Dreambox works.
There’s a new Kickstarter champion in town: The RoBo 3D Printer. After setting up a Kickstarter campaign to raise $49,000, it looks likes the RoBo team will raise over $500K to build a a low-cost, open source, easy to use 3D printer.
What is RoBo 3D?
RoBo 3D is the ultimate 3D printer everyone has been waiting for. We combined the best minds from the open source community, the best hardware we believe can give the best prints, and our own ideas based on our experience working with 3D printers. The open-source design is made so people like us can go online and find all the documents that show the ins and outs of how to make a RoBo 3D. In true rep-rap fashion, RoBo 3D has been made so that it can print out its own parts. Once in your hands, print out another for a friend! Come experience it and together, lets create something great.
Who is RoBo 3D for?
Architects- print out model homes and buildings for clients. Change and print out again without hassle.
Designers- Have an idea that you want to bring to life? Print out your designs and see if they were everything you imagined. If not, change it and print out the next idea.
Hobbyists/DIY- Easily create your projects in the comfort of your own home.
Small Business owners- Manufacture your own products at the office!
Students- Senior engineering project coming up? Use RoBo 3D to proint the parts you need to get the job done done.
Home owners- Replace broken household items for next to nothing!
In their campaign, RoBo 3D provides a comparison matrix to the MakerBot. What jumps out the most is the price: $520 vs $2,199 for the MakerBot Replicator 2.
Below is their Kickstarter video. Congrats to the team for raising $500K!
The Objet1000 is Objet‘s largest ever 3D printer. With a build platform of 1000 x 800 x 500 mm (39 x 31 x 20 inch), the system enables designers, engineers and manufacturers to quickly and easily create large and very precise models for prototyping parts and products in automotive, defense, aerospace, consumer goods, household appliances and industrial machinery sectors. The system features Objet Connex multi-material technology offering standard and ABS plastic performance, a choice of over 100 materials and the ability to mix up to 14 different materials in a single prototype or model to achieve the true look, feel and function of your intended end product.
Earlier this month, we reported that a 3D printing patent had been issued to create a DRM-like layer around printable goods. This is just one of many patents that will be prosecuted around the emerging 3D printing revolution. Ironically, however, the technology itself is 30 years old and may be subject to “prior art” that invalidates any recently filed patents.
This is the hope of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a donor-supported organization that works to protect fundamental rights regardless of technology. Here is an excerpt from EFF’s blog.
Thanks to the open hardware community, you can now have a 3D printer in your home for just a few hundred dollars, with dozens of printer models to choose from and build upon. Community-designed printers already outclass proprietary printers costing 30 times as much. This incredible innovation is possible because the core patents covering 3D printing technologies started expiring several years ago, allowing projects such as RepRap to prove what we already knew—that openness often outperforms the patent system at spurring innovation.
Open hardware printers have been used for rapid prototyping of new inventions, to print replacement parts for household objects and appliances, by DIY scientists to turn a power drill into a centrifuge, for a game in which you can engineer your own pieces, and for thousands of other purposes by makers of all stripes. Projects like MakerBot and Solidoodle have made 3D printers accessible on a plug-and-play basis, so you don’t even need a soldering iron to start manufacturing objects you designed or downloaded from the internet. As additional patents expire, the open hardware community will be able to unleash its creative spirit on new technologies, technologies that have already been used to design custom prosthetics, guitars, shoes, and more. The possibilities are limitless.
While many core patents restricting 3D printing have expired or will soon expire, there is a risk that “creative” patent drafting will continue to lock up ideas beyond the 20-year terms of those initial patents or that patents will restrict further advances made by the open hardware community. The incremental nature of innovation in 3D printing makes it particularly unsuitable for patenting, as history has shown.
We’ve said before that the America Invents Act failed to address many of the patent system’s worst problems. Despite that, it does include at least one provision we think could be helpful: the newly implemented Preissuance Submission procedure. That procedure allows third parties to participate in the patent application process by creating a vehicle to provide patent examiners with prior art. We’re glad to see the Patent Office open up the process to those who might not be filing patents themselves, but who are affected by the patent system everyday. We’re also glad that this new process may help stem the tide of improvidently-granted patents.
EFF and the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society are working together to use this new process to challenge patent applications that particularly threaten growing 3D printing technologies. As a first step, we are evaluating 3D printing patent applications currently pending before the Patent Office to identify potential target applications.We need your help! If you know of any applications covering 3D printing technology that you think should be challenged, please let us know by emailing 3Dprinting@eff.org (and also point us to any relevant prior art you might know about).
To get involved with the search, go to the USPTO’s application search tool, PAIR, and/or Google Patents. Each of these sources contains valuable details about the applications currently pending before the USPTO. Here’s the thing: under the current rules, a patent application may only be challenged by a Preissuance Submission within six months of its publication (or before the date of the first rejection, if that comes later). This means the clock is already ticking on the current crop of patent applications.
Once target applications are identified, we will seek out relevant prior art. We’ll be asking for your help again then, so please watch this space. Any document that was publicly available before an application was filed is considered prior art; this can include emails to public lists, websites, and even doctoral theses. Because of the time limit, once we identify the target applications, we must complete the prior art search quickly.
We’re glad there’s a new way to to challenge dangerous patent applications before they become dangerous patents. But the America Invents Act and the search capabilities of the Patent Office’s website won’t make this job easy. We need your help to get this done, so please do what you can to help protect the 3D printing community from overbroad patents that can threaten exciting innovation.
Horizon photo by Norma Desmond used under Creative Commons license.
In the face of a global financial crisis, the European Union is having its share of challenges to grow the economies of the EU member states. The European Commission has a new plan for reviving the declining manufacturing sector which has lost 3 million jobs. The plan calls for member states to invest heavily in 3D printing.
In a leaked paper seen by Reuters, 3D printing is highlighted as a path to job and GDP growth.
The paper which outlines the bloc’s future industrial policy said the commission wants to raise manufacturing from 16 percent to 20 percent of EU GDP by 2020 using new techniques such as 3D printing which builds objects using instructions from a printer.
Enthusiasts for 3D printing say it will revolutionise manufacturing in electronics such as mobile phones and save millions in costs as it would be as cheap to produce one phone as it would be to make thousands.
Some predict that in the more distant future households will have such printers to make mundane objects such as shoes.
Other initiatives for growth include biotech, green vehicles and smart grids.
EU Commission program photo by sararasmussen used under Creative Commons license.