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Desktop Manufacturing Homepage

by Glen Emerson Morris
This is the hompage for our magazine's coverage of what will likely be the biggest revolution of the 21st century, desktop manufacturing. Also referred to as 3D printing or personal fabrication, desktop manufacturing will eventually allow the average consumer to make many of the material things they need. Though the technology has been around for over 20 years, it's only now beginning to hit the home market. The "affordable" home models are primitive, but that will likely change reasonably quickly.

Both Buckminster Fuller and Arthur C. Clarke, two of the greatest scientific visionaries of our age, predicted desktop manufacturing would become a major force fundamentally rewriting the laws of economics. Both predicted that by the end of this century the Star Trek replicator would be both real and affordable.

Desktop manufacturing couldn't come at a better time. With the world economy going to hell and competition of India and China for the world's resources likely to keep prices high, prosperity will increasingly depend on how efficiently a country can use the resources it can afford. Desktop manufacturing offers a return to economic self sufficiency not seen since we were an agrarian society.

Giant 3D printer can print buildings. Read the article in Blueprint Magazine.
Open source printer nearing the ability to self replicate. Check it out at
Website offers free 3D files for printing a wide variety of useful items. Visit Thingverse.

My columns on desktop manufacturing so far:

Desktop Manufacturing Will Go Mainstream Via Hobby Industry - and soon.
Desktop Manufacturing Hits the Home Market - the biggest revolution of the 21st century.
The Fab Future of Desktop Manufacturing - Desktop manufacturing is the next big thing.
The Object of 3D Printing - Print anything you need, from cameras to cars.
My columns so far on the larger issue of economic survival:

Climate Change Marketing - How to integrate climate change into marketing plans.
The Greening of Expectations - It's more than a good idea. It's a survival issue now.
The Future of Arthur C. Clarke - A chronology of this century's technological milestones.
The Learning Curve - Understanding the key to prosperity.

Links to 3D printer & scanner manufacturers:

Desktop Factory - Pioneered low-cost 3D printing. Now owned by 3D Systems
MakerBot offers 3D printer kit for under $1000.
Objet - The new standard in 3D Printing maximum creativity, confidentiality & speed to market.
DimensionPrinting - Dimension The world's #1 3D Printer Working models from ABS plastic.
Z Corp. - Makers of fast high definition printers.
envisiontec - Makers of fast high definition printers.
3D Ventures - 3d Models you can touch! Any file. Rapid turnaround times.
Realize, Inc. - SLA, RTV, Cast Models - Accurate! We Specialize In Pleasing Clients.
Next Engine - $3000. Scan 3D objects to create standard, and printable, 3D files.

Information Sources:

3D Printing Definition - According to Wikipedia.
Rapid Today - For users of rapid prototyping, rapid manufacturing and 3D printing.
Design News - Technology resources, components, tools, and solutions for design engineers.
Fabbaloo - Fabbaloo tracks developments in Fabbing, 3D Printing and Desktop Manufacturing.

Learn About Rapid Prototyping SLA

This is a good video to start with if you're not familiar with 3D printing, and may be worth watching even if you are. While this video focuses on using 3D printing for rapid prototyping, many 3D printers ae economical enough to print the finished product. One of a kind objects are possible now.

What Can You Make With a 3D Printer? Video

A working monkey wrench is just one of the many different 3D objects printed by this serrvice bureau. 3D printers can print a chain with individual and completely separate links.

Objet Demonstration Video

Objet 3D printers are capable of printing multiple materials at one time, substanially reducing printing time while increasing flexibility.

3D Printing Service Demonstration Video

A serrvice bureau demonstrates its capability with 3D printers

3D Design Software Demonstration Video

This video looks at one of the many 3D design software programs capable of outputing to any standars 3D printer using the SLA format.

Glen Emerson Morris was recently a senior QA Consultant for SAP working on a new product to help automate compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley law, an attempt to make large corporations at least somewhat accountable to stockholders and the law. He has worked as a technology consultant for Yahoo!, Ariba, WebMD, Inktomi, Adobe, Apple and Radius.

Copyright 1994 - 2010 by Glen Emerson Morris All Rights Reserved

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