The cost of 3D printing is constantly coming down, and new cheap 3D printing services are appearing online every month. From personalised, bespoke gifts, to items of clothing that are easily made to measure – even designed by you, for you! This site is a review of the best cheap 3D printing services available online.
There’s a widespread assumption that 3D printing is a ‘green’ technology that will help lessen the amount of industrial waste we produce and thus help us to preserve our environment in the 21st century. This assumption is based largely upon the expectation that 3D printing will lead to a more localized economy and decentralized distribution process. Instead of buying products that were assembled on the other side of the globe using cheap labour and then transported using copious amounts of resources, 3D printing factories could produce the same goods on demand and much closer to the demand. And of course, the hope is, that for many products, you could even print them out at home on your own 3D printer.
But there are reasons to believe that the 3D printing revolution may not be entirely beneficial to the environment.
Ecologically, while 3D printing may be “greener” than traditional manufacturing, economies of abundance instead of scarcity could create new problems.
3D printing might upend consumption patterns, but if the logic of economies of abundance that exist in digital content filter through to 3D printing, we’ll be awash in plastic junk.
Preliminary studies of the full environmental life cycle of plastic products suggest that distributed manufacturing with 3D printers can lower the environmental impact of a range of goods by over 40%.
That’s because 3D printing gets rid of the complex commercial logistics chains needed for each product, and the actual printing process allows more objects to be printed from less material.
However, as 3D printing continues to lower the barriers to manufacturing, conspicuous consumption may accelerate.
Think of how ephemeral our interest in digital content is. What if, instead of each new song or podcast you listened to, you downloaded a better smartphone case or must-have figurine for the kids?
How quickly would you get bored of each object if the next thing is just a click and 3D print away? What will we do with all the abundant, accessible, and cheap self-mass-production?
The world’s cheapest 3D printer was launched for pre-order last month – the QU-BD costs less than $200 and prints in detail of a minimum 5 microns (0.005 mm), the same as the popular Cube 3D printer which costs 6 times as much.
The home 3D printing revolution has picked up pace in recent times with printers such as the MakiBox and Buccaneer making 3D printing increasingly more affordable. Although not as cheap as the homemade LEGObot, the QU-BD One Up is claiming the title of the world’s cheapest production-ready 3D printer with a price tag of under US$200.
The company behind the famous MakerBot desktop 3D printer have opened what they claim to be the world’s first dedicated 3D printer retail store.
Sure, the rare 3-D printer can be found in the corners of business service centers across the United States. But MakerBot claims their location at 298 Mulberry Street is the first one in the country dedicated to selling 3-D printers, supplies for the machines, and bespoke objects printed on-location.
If the new business proves successful, 3-D printing stands to expand from a relatively high-cost hobbyist venture into a mainstream consumer market.
“This is the first retail 3-D printing store” in the United States, said spokesperson Jenny Lawton from inside the shop. “We haven’t combed the world over, but we’re pretty sure it’s the first … of its kind.”
In addition, MakerBot also announced their latest desktop 3D printer – Replicator 2. The biggest advance on its predecessors such as the Thing-O-Matic and the original Replicator is arguably the level of detail that the Replicator 2 can print in. Each layer of printed material is now just 100 microns thick. Forbes magazine likens the new level of precision to a ‘retinal’ or ‘tactile display’ for home 3D printing.
Excellent YouTube video providing a demonstration of cheap online 3D printing – from the design of an object on your computer..to the excitement of recieving the printed product in the post!
The person in the video made use of the ‘I Materiase’ online 3D printing service.
It’s commonly thought (and hoped) that the home 3D printing revolution will begin in earnest when a desktop 3D printer appears that will cost the same as a PC, or a games console, or a television. When that happens, a 3D printer will quickly become as much an essential item in the home as any of those other gadgets.
Well, a little sooner than we thought, a desktop 3D printer costing as little as $300 might be in the shops within the next few months. If that’s not enough of an exciting thought, the MakiBox A6 is promised to be able to print out anything from smartphone cases to camera accessories. It also features a number of other home friendly advances – such as the ability to work in all seasonal temperatures.
You can read more about the MakiBox at their funding site.
Sources include : $350 3D printer coming sooner than you thought
Pirate Bay, the infamous file sharing portal, has announced that it has begun allowing the free sharing of 3D printing files – the templates or CAD designs that 3D printers use to print out three dimensional objects.
In a blog post, the website also declared that it saw 3D printing as the future :
We’re always trying to foresee the future a bit here at TPB. One of the things that we really know is that we as a society will always share. Digital communication has made that a lot easier and will continue to do so. And after the internets evolutionized data to go from analog to digital, it’s time for the next step.
Today most data is born digitally. It’s not about the transition from analog to digital anymore. We don’t talk about how to rip anything without losing quality since we make perfect 1 to 1 digital copies of things. Music, movies, books, all come from the digital sphere. But we’re physical people and we need objects to touch sometimes as well!
We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare sparts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years.
The benefit to society is huge. No more shipping huge amount of products around the world. No more shipping the broken products back. No more child labour. We’ll be able to print food for hungry people. We’ll be able to share not only a recipe, but the full meal. We’ll be able to actually copy that floppy, if we needed one.
We believe that the future of sharing is about physible data. We’re thinking of temporarily renaming ourselves to The Product Bay – but we had no graphical artist around to make a logo. In the future, we’ll download one.
Two affordable 3D printers for consumers were revealed at the recent Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, with experts predicting that the age of cheap 3D printing in the home could finally be here.
The Makerbot Replicator is a new improved version of the famous Makerbot Thing-O-Matic – which was itself the first ‘home 3D printer’. The new version improves upon its esteemed predecessor by being larger, already assembled, and able to print objects in more than one color. The Makerbot Replicator will retail at $1,999. Watch the video below to see it in action.
The other new home 3D printer revealed at the CES is the Cubify. Selling for only $1,399, putting it in reach of many (if not all) consumers, the Cubify also looks more like it would fit in the living room than the Makerbot. It’s smaller, and more elegant looking - in fact, it looks a little like a large sewing machine. Unlike the new Makerbot, the Cubify can only print objects in one colour. Cartridges for the Cubify are expected to sell at $50 each.
The first 3D printing application for smartphones has been launched, allowing anyone to become a 3D print designer without having to buy a 3D printer, and it’s free to download from Apple’s application store.
Sculpteo 3D printing allows you to design and print (via a cheap 3D printing service online) ornaments with your (or another’s) face moulded onto them. The application allows you to take a 3D depth photo of your face which is then converted into a 3D printing object – you can choose what object you want your face turned into, be it a vase, a cup, or a jug!
Read more at : http://www.pcworld.com/article/247526/sculpteo_3d_printing_lets_you_stick_your_face_on_a_vase.html