Re: [rp-ml] Desktop Factory

From: steve <>
Date: Thu Aug 31 2006 - 00:53:44 EEST

Carl Dekker wrote:
> To All,
> This is all very interesting but I feel we are looking at a tree as
> opposed to the forest. Even if you can get a 3D printer for $1, what
> good is it if you can get the data to build something. Having a $5000
> printer and a $5000 software to have novice designers make parts that
> will probably not be correct the first time still doesn't help the
> technology (i.e. "all sla's are fragile").

Software for this stuff is easy. There are plenty of free CAD packages
that would suffice for the vast majority of simple objects people might
want to design - and outputting STL files then rasterizing them is
really simple.

No - if the hardware is there, free software and free models will
follow soon after.

I forsee a situation where free designs will appear on the Internet for
people do download and replicate just as we have free software for Linux
and stuff like Wikipedia, MySpace, and YouTube.

> Until all the aspects come
> together, the masses won't benefit. We need low cost, but also easy to
> use design software, machines and robust materials that perform somewhat
> similarly to what people perceive plastic (or metal) to be. I could be
> completely wrong and off base but this is just my humble opinion.

The materials issues are certainly important. The Reprap guys have
shown that this is not insurmountable though.

I don't expect the vast majority of people will design things for
themselves. I think we'll see a very rapid growth with people like
me saying to themselves "I need this widget - I can throw one together
in 20 minutes - and I might as well up-load it to WikiObjects (or
whatever it is) so other people can have it too".

That isn't happening right now because the machines a vastly too
expensive for enthusiastic amateurs. Professional users have a
strong incentive NOT to give their designs away for free because
they have competitors who might benefit - but amateur users have
no such problems - and indeed might see a positive benefit to
giving away designs just as people contribute to Linux or Wikipedia.

So once we have an affordable machine, then I strongly believe that
a market in very cheap or actually free designs will appear.

Check out for a place where free 3D models are
already traded in that way.

But even if people did want to design their own stuff - there are
packages like 'blender' - which is completely free (but a little
tricky to learn) - or 'ac3d' - which is very easy to learn indeed
and only costs $40.

The remaining large obstacle will be the cost of materials - I just
hope the machine manufacturers are not planning to take a leaf from
the InkJet printer market where the machines are sold at a loss and
profit comes from ink sales.
Received on Wed Aug 30 23:53:07 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Jul 21 2009 - 10:27:52 EEST