New York's Museum of Art and Design recently began hosting an exhibit called “Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital,” which is meant to be a snapshot of the 3D printing landscape spread over three floors at the museum. There museum-goers find whimsical, practical, serious and artistic examples of digital fabrication on display, including one exhibit that digitizes people. A company called Shapeways handles the exhibit in which an operator pulls a rope that moves a digital camera up and down a thin metal pole, capturing a revolving image of the subject. The data gets plugged into body-mapping software. After the scan, which takes about a minute, the subject picks a material from a selection of plastics and metals. A miniature 3D printed sculpture arrives in the mail about a week later.
3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental hosted a webcast this week from the EuroMold 2013 show which debuted multiple new products. The focus was on big-format 3D printers as might be used in factories. One of the parts mentioned was this fan from a Rolls Royce jet engine which was made at a 3D Systems facility using the firm's SLA and SLS machines. New machines making their debut at the show included the ProJet 4500, which prints in full-color plastics, and the ProJet 5500X, a large format machine able to print multi-material parts in a single print.
Another image from the 3D Systems webcast at the Euromold 2013 show. This is said to be the first drum set and keyboard enclosure made with 3D printers.
This lab jack is actually made from 3D-printed parts. Buy a conventional version from a catalog and you could be paying upwards of $1,000, says Michigan Technological University associate professor Josh Pearce. The high cost of lab equipment motivated Pearce to write a book on open-source lab gear. He goes into several examples of tools for the lab that can be fabricated on a 3D printer.
MakerBot recently held what it calls the Thingiverse Math Manipulative Challenge for kids. It got more than 160 entries from kids who 3D-printed their ideas. The companies selected three winners who will get MakerBot PLA Filament, Thingiverse t-shirts, and will have their creations featured on MakerBot's Thingiverse web site and in each of the MakerBot retail stores. This entry, called the Math gear, took second place. It lies flat on desktop, so it will also work well with overhead projection systems. It helps kids run through several simple ratio exercises. It was designed with a seven-tooth "Idler" gear to add reverse rotation without affecting the ratios. Each interchangeable gear has built-in graphics to indicate the number of teeth as well as rotation position. Rubber bands provide tension to keep the wheels engaged no matter what the combination.
Another winner from MakerBot's Thingiverse Math Manipulative Challenge for kids. This simple tool lets students mix and match numbers to build simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division equations. This third-place winner comes in a small size for fewer place values or a larger size for more advanced math students.
The top winner in MakerBot's Thingaverse challenge is called Seesaw Maths. It helps teach addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The beam on Seesaw Maths indicates a correct answer when it’s level. The first place winner got a MakerBot Academy bundle, which includes a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, three spools of MakerBot PLA Filament, and MakerCare, a service and support program, to donate to his/her classroom of choice.
It's easy to find headlines about parts made with additive manufacturing methods. Here are a few of the 3D-printed parts that make the news this week. Their applications range from the frivolous to the sublime.