Selective Laser Sintering 3D printers, more commonly called SLS 3D printers, have long been the most expensive among 3D printing technologies, not the least of which was due to the existence of many patents related to the tech. With those patents expiring this year, the cost of these printers -- though certainly not "budget-friendly" in the traditional sense -- have seen a drastic drop in price.
When it comes to 3D printing, most people think of common objects, both large and small: houses, toys, tools, and such. But researchers have been busy at work using the technology for medical purposes, figuring out how to do things like print eye cells and create futuristic casts. TeVido BioDevices is counted amongst this latter category, working on 3D-printing skin grafts for patients.
Amazon has already turned the retail world on its head, showing just how much scope there is when you stock vast quantities of products in equally vast warehouses, and now it's dipping its toe into on-demand 3D printing. The new 3D Printing Store offers a range of jewelry, tech accessories, and home decor, which shoppers can customize before they have them delivered.
In an initiative called "SuperFanArt", Hasbro has teamed up with Shapeways to create a portal through which fans of Hasbro’s characters can create and sell their own 3D-printed toys. The first line to have its license opened to fans through this program is My Little Pony. This should appeal to some of the stranger fans out in the fan universe - but Hasbro’s collection has some far larger names in the mix as well.
Home Depot is looking to get you into the 3D printing game, adding MakerBot's Replicator 3D printers to its inventory. If you happen to live near one of the select stores carrying the machine, you can grab it in person, but otherwise it is available through the hardware store's website.
Old Gameboys are available aplenty on eBay, Craigslist, and maybe that old box in your mom's garage, but for some people, there's something special about a device crafted with one's own hands. If you fall into that category (and often wax poetic about your ol' Gameboy), Adafruit has introduced a project right up your alley.
3D printing and scanning is already commonplace in car production, but BMW is experimenting with upgrading its staff with the technology. A new trial at BMW's Munich plant is giving assembly workers individually-tailored thumb guards to help avoid over-stretching, having first scanned the digit with a portable 3D camera.
Can you 3D print a car? Sure you can! Local Motors, who have been working with the public for years in bringing their designs to the road. Dubbing their method “co-creation”, they also use “micro-manufacturing” to get you your vehicle (and even let you pitch in on the build). A contest of theirs to design a 3D printed, electric vehicle has just wrapped, but the submitted designs were phenomenal.
Google is challenging the paucity of women in tech, launching Made with Code alongside MIT Media Lab, Girl Scouts of the USA, and several other organizations to encourage girls to get involved in coding. Along with a $50m fund to support programs, the new scheme puts together projects designed to appeal to young women, such as making tumblr-worthy animated GIFs, putting together music tracks, and designing 3D printed jewelry.
MakerBot, the company leading the charge to get 3D printing everywhere, has announced their Replicator Z18 printer is ready to ship. For those who backed the device early on via pre-order, shipments will start going out soon. MakerBot says they’re working down the order sheet, sending out printers as soon as they’re ready to go.