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8/2/2013
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10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do

Cars, guitars, and tracheal implants: Is there anything that 3-D printers can't make?
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It's no secret that printer supplies are crazy expensive, so this idea should appeal to anyone who's ever paid big bucks for ink cartridges. InkFactory.com, a U.K.-based retailer of printer cartridges, recently 3-D-printed a working inkjet cartridge. The project began in June when InkFactory bought a MakerBot Replicator 2 3-D printer and a set of colored PLA plastics. The company chose Kodak 30C and Kodak 30B cartridges for its project, and used the SolidWorks CAD program to design 3-D drawings of the objects. It then exported the drawings as industry standard .STL files to the MakerWare software (included with the Replicator printer) and after some modifications, began printing. Here's a brief video of the project.

So will we all start printing our own ink cartridges? Probably not, as InkFactory says the project was a significant undertaking. But there's always hope.

RECOMMENDED READING:

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NASA's IT Future: Robot Telework, 3-D Printing

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KMBurnham
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KMBurnham,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2013 | 4:54:45 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
^^+1. The applications are endless :-)
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/6/2013 | 7:03:14 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
3D printers are great for prototypes, but I think their utility to the general public is overstated. Until they can print food, it will always be more affordable and easier to one-click purchase plastic baubles from Amazon.com. In any event, many useful items have moving parts and/or were made with multiple materials, making them ill-suited for 3D printing. Single-substance items, like dinner plates, deserve a substance better than plastic (and even plates work better with glaze on the ceramic...so a multi-step manufacturing process). I'm sure however they'll find a home in places like the International Space Station for parts replication.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/6/2013 | 6:34:48 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
I love this technology, and it's amazing how it's just catching on with the public. Many people are still learning what it can do, and why it may be useful. Meanwhile its use within the medical and dental fields, to say the least, have been mindblowing (look it up). It doesn't hurt that I can print shoes too. A 3D printer is rapidly making its way to the top of my Christmas wish-list.
NnoduaN197
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NnoduaN197,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/6/2013 | 3:07:00 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
How can I get a 3D portable handy scanner
tcubed
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tcubed,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 5:37:13 PM
re: 10 Cool Things 3-D Printers Can Do
How about having the 3D printer make another 3D printer; and so on, and so on; eventually they will be plentiful and cheap enough for me to be able to afford one :-)
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