3D Printing on the horizon
Imagine it. Your baby daughter innocently breaks a piece off your son’s model airplane causing sibling rivalry to flare out of control. No problem, go online to the Revel website, pay .99 for the replacement, download the 3D file and hit print. In less time than it takes to drink a cup of java, you have a replacement part ready to reinstall, and his plane “flies” again.
3D printing, or rapid prototyping, has been around for nearly a decade but have largely been the domain of automobile manufacturers and industrial designers. But home 3D printing is the wave of the future as those large scale rapid prototyping machines that began at $100,000, have slimmed down with prices to comparatively plummeting as the technology has been perfected.
Well, that future may indeed be now thanks to a company called IdeaLab which is set to release Desktop Factory, a 3D printer for the office. About the size of laser printer on steroids, the Desktop Factory uses plastic powder, a halogen lamp and drum printing technology to build parts layer by layer – slicing and orienting the part for optimal build performance.
Then all that’s left is to sand the part and paint as needed.
With a target price of $5,000 – $7,000, the Desktop Factory is still out of reach of the average homebody, but if it catches on with the office, you can bet that a consumer grade price of under a thousand dollars isn’t that far behind.