Another indication that 3D printing is entering the mass market: giant online shop Amazon is currently in a test phase to sell 3D printed products. The shop collaborates with 3D printing marketplace 3DLT, which has added about 50 3D printed objects to Amazon. In the future, there will only be more 3D printed items added to Amazon.
Amazon works with four different product categories with 3D printed objects: toys, home accessories, jewelry and fashion/tech accessories. It’s not the first step that the online giant takes towards 3D printing. Last year, the website started selling 3D printers and filament. However, it’s completely new for the website to be selling actual 3D printed objects. To TechCrunch, 3DLT CEO John Hauer has said the following about the collaboration with Amazon: “We attempted to set up a store and sell 3D printed products. They contacted us to tell us they didn’t have a 3D printed product category. We asked if they would create one. They told us they were considering a pilot and later asked us to join.”
You can’t just print out anything. That sounds a little odd, because 3D printers have the aim to turn the sky into the limit. However, doing so must be safe and not all materials can guarantee a sufficient kind of safety, namely ABS plastics contain some health risks. Let us explain you something about the possible risks of ABS and give you some alternatives.
If you would use ABS plastic to print out something, it will contain BPA: the industrial chemical bisphenol A. Some studies have shown a correlation between the chemical and cancer or heart problems and it can be extra bad for children, damaging their behavior and brains. If you would use this kind of plastics to print out cutlery, you will use the 3D printed cutlery to eat your food, whereby the spoon or fork will be in your mouth for some time. This means your mouth will be in contact with with this chemical substance bisphenol A.
Jerry Castanos opened 3D Heights this past December after a successful career in the military that introduced him to 3D printing technology. He returned to his native Washington Heights here in New York and operates one of the only 3d printer retail shops in the entire New York metropolitan area. Folks interested in 3d printing can come in, see the printers in action, and walk out with a printer to start making at home. I had the chance to drop by his shop this week, meet Jerry and see the 3D Heights space in-person.
3D Heights offers 3D printers from 3D Systems and Solidoodle and plan on carrying more brands such as MakerBot in the upcoming months. They also have a Mcor Iris True Colour Paper Printer on premise that is quite amazing to see in action. Beyond just selling 3D printers, the 3D Heights space also serves to process print jobs for makers, inventors and anyone else needing access to a 3D printer.
One of today’s biggest environmental problems is the high amount of plastic waste. Although Western countries are gradually taking action with successful recycle programs, Third World countries still have a very high amount of polluting litter lying on the streets. On the other hand there’s 3D printing, where plastic is needed for filament to make certain products. Filament prices for 3D printing are extremely high, with average costs of about 30 dollars for a spool of plastics. Why wouldn’t we combine these elements and turn it into something better, is what a team from the Michigan Technology University (MTU) must have thought.
And so a research group led by Joshua Pearce, a professor of materials science, did a study on plastic waste. And as it turns out, using plastic waste for plastic 3D printer filament is a lot cheaper than recycling it. This is due to the fact that using it for filament costs a lot less energy. If you take into account that one of the biggest disadvantages of 3D printing today is that it’s polluting because it uses so much plastic, than the results from this study are even more amazing.
About two weeks ago, Hema announced a service where customers will be able to create their own personalized necklaces and bracelets online, making it the first giant retailer to offer such a service. As a customer, you can now basically choose your own design, get it printed and send to your home. For this project, the giant Dutch department store works together with Amsterdam-based company Zazzy. We were curious about the story behind this startling 3D printing company and we therefore decided to have a little chat with co-founder Gert Jan Spriensma to find out what the buzz is about.
Unfortunately, the company didn’t want to speak about the collaboration with Hema. Nevertheless, they have a lot to say about 3D printing. For instance, Zazzy started because the founders had a passion for 3D printing and the company now shares an office with innovating 3D printing company 3D Hubs. Sprienstra has a clear vision on the future of 3D printing: talent will be more important than our visual location.
This year’s January, chemistry professor Lee Cronin from the University of Glasgow was picked by Science Council as one of the 100 leading practicing scientists in the UK. He was praised for being a “young rising star seeking to understand and control self-assembly and self-organisation in chemistry.” However, this top 100 ranking is not what the world knows him for, since his 3D printed drugs project has made him a one-to-watch. Time to tell you all about this highly innovating, but controversial project.
In 2012, 39-year-old professor Cronin was suddenly in the spotlight because of his ambitious 3D Chemputer project. As ‘Chemputer’ is an amalgamation of ‘chemistry’ and ‘computer’, you can probably imagine the direction of this project. Cronin aims to create a system where people can use an app or website to easily download a file and ‘ink’ for a medicine, after which they will be able to print out the drug at home, using a 3D printer. He’s quite ambitious about it, as the ‘young rising star’ has told The Guardian: “What Apple did for music, I’d like to do for the discovery and distribution of prescription drugs.”
What is it with all of these new coins nowadays? Since the introduction of the Bitcoin a lot of new currencies have entered the game, with Kanye West coin Coinye even ending up into a legal battle. Another rapper, another idea, is what Brandon Hixton from WE MAKE MUSIC must have thought. He used the face of American rapper Rick Ross as a new coin bank, making it the most expensive 3D printed piggy bank ever.
This glittering piggy bank is called The Ricky Bank and the website claims it’s “Hip-Hop’s most expensive coin bank.” One could also say it’s the world’s most inadequate coin bank, because you have to save up as many as 4,999.99 dollars to get your own copy of The Ricky Bank. In order words: saving up in order to save up. Saving up in style, as the luxury material costs elucidate this extremely high price. The Ricky Bank consists of 420 Stainless Steel, infused with bronze, and uses a final composition of 70 percent steel and 30 percent bronze.
After events in Chicago, San Jose, and Singapore last year, Mediabistro is preparing for their largest 3D printing event yet when Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo returns to NYC on April 2-4. Large numbers of B2B professionals and maker enthusiasts are expected to turn out at the Javits Center next month for a day of workshops on April 2, followed by two days of programming and exhibits on April 3 and 4.
Inside 3D Printing has recently added several impressive speakers to their lineup, including Paul Trani, Sr. Worldwide Creative Cloud Evangelist at Adobe, and Jesse McGatha, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft. See the full speaker list here.
In late October, Manchester was in the news because 3D printed gun parts were found in the northern UK city. Now, four months later, researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) claim to have created a prototype of a scanner, which is able to detect plastic 3D printed guns, bombs and knifes on people. It could be used at security gates in order to improve security.
The machine, which is a big, black machine – uses radar waves and complex computer programs and it results in the ability to accurately and rapidly scan large groups of people. This technique could also be very useful at crowded areas such as shopping malls and football stadiums. If a thread is detected, authorities can be alarmed directly. The in-built computer enables the machine to work at a distance of 25 meters.
Internet has globalized the world massively, bring people closer together and making it easier for us to connect with one another. However, the world wide web has also come along with so-called “modern problems”. One of them is the problem of free file sharing, making 3D printing a somehow unregulated business. Californian company Authentise wants to structure the world of 3D printed files, offering a streaming service, which is now being used at marketplace 3DLT.
While Spotify has rescued the business behind pop music and Netflix has done the same for the world of movies, there has not yet been a system to add some structure to the file sharing world of 3D printing. The possibility for customers to store and share 3D print files makes it harder for companies to make money with these files. Authentise uses a different approach, as the company has created a system that sends such files to 3D printers, but after the file is fully printed the file will be deleted. Companies could use this system to sell cheap 3D print files, which customers could use to print out their own objects. For instance, toys manufacturers could use them to sell 3D print files for their figurines.