Amazing Space Ready 3D Printer Unveiled by NASA

Living in space faces many challenges, such as the availability of critical spare parts. Supply trips to the ISS are somewhat uncommon, so getting a replacement part for a broken piece of equipment is both slow and expensive. NASA’s newest revelation from its research park in Silicon Valley helps to tackle just such a problem, a 3D printer that works in space. Not just a proof of concept either, with it planning to be launched to the ISS on the 23rd of March, where it will be used to build both spare parts and parts for experiments.

This isn’t the first 3D printer to be used in space, a prototype printer had already been trialled by the crew of the ISS previously. This new printer will be more than the previous prototype and, in fact, be a fully operational model for use by ISS crew members.

Andrew Rush, the chief executive of Made In Space, the NASA-funded startup developing the technology stated: “You can bring us a USB stick with your file, and we can digitally send it to space.” “Via 3D printing we can make that object and completely avoid putting it on a rocket.”

This is just the start of space manufacturing too, with Made In Space being given $20 million to work on a project named Archinaut. The system would allow the construction of huge structures in space, manufactured and assembled automatically by robots. Rush believes that Archinaut could construct “giant radio dishes that could service many people, or do amazing science and peer deep into the universe’s past.” The success of this project could revolutionize space construction and say goodbye to the current method of sending “flat packed” structures to space on rockets where they are then unfolded and constructed, allowing structures too fragile to survive the launch to space or other logistically problematic structures.

For now, the ambitions remain small-scale with the 3D printer, however, far more exciting things are in the near future. Made In Space estimate it will be 3 to 4 years before the truly big projects take root, and the technology is planned to be licensed out to commercial enterprises, of which Tesla may for one be very interested. Making the 3D printing no longer reliant on the Earth’s resources is another step on the road to the self-sufficiency of space. The raw materials that can be found in space, from asteroids to the surfaces of moons and planets are being explored as resources to be used for 3D printing, with the end goal of not just removing reliance on Earth, but even allowing for the construction of things that are impossible with only materials from the Earth’s environment.

Image credit to Made In Space

Samsung Printer Orders Itself More Ink When It Starts To Run Low

Amazon is a company known for being at the forefront of technology. With everything from their online streaming service to their hopes for drone deliveries. One of Amazon’s key selling points is their “Prime” service, offering you access to their online video collection and free one-day delivery. One of the lesser known features is the ability to re-order something when you get low, something that can now be built into technology.

Amazon announced its “dash” feature some time ago now, with the press of a button re-ordering your much needed supplies. Covering everything from your washing up and laundry supplies to your office needs, it would now seem that Samsung has caught on and built the function into some of their new printers.

While most printers monitoring ink levels, Samsung’s latest will go that step further and re-order more ink when you start to run low. With the orders at which you re-order cartridges adjustable it won’t be a case of one size fits all, even for your printing habits with hand ins and report deadlines destroying the ink that you thought you had in the printer.

With more and more devices offering the “dash” feature, all you have to remember is to pay and put the replacement where it’s needed. The service means that users don’t have to remember to re-order items, with everything from shaving foam and kitchen roll to Gatorade and nappies being supplied at the press of a button and soon, just by you finishing that last pack you had put away in the cupboard.

“Empty” Epson ink cartridges actually 20% full


One common gripe with printers is how expensive ink can be, with costs often surpassing that of an all new printer. Now there are reports out that the Epson 9900, a high-end printer that costs about $5000 starts reporting that ink cartridges are empty while they are still 15-20 percent full. For cartridges that can cost around $4000, that is tantamount to throwing away about $600-$800.

Bellevue Fine Art, long fed up with how the Epson 9900 would stop printing when one cartridge hit “1%” capacity, decided to cut into the supposedly empty cartridges to see just how much ink remained. Not surprisingly, Bellevue Fine Art found that there was a lot ink still left. For the 700ml size, about 100-150ml was left unused while the smaller 350ml size had about 60-80ml remaining. That came about to be about 14-22% of the advertised ink volume left inaccessible.

While having ink left unused might have a technical reason, like protecting the ink heads or just a crappy sensor, having advertised ink volume be unusable is less than optimal. If some 100ml of ink is required to protect the printer heads, maybe Epson should include the extra ink on top of the advertised capacity. Hopefully, Epson, as well as other industry firms like HP and Canon will address this longstanding issue.

HP Tackles ‘Ink Anxiety’ With 50% Reduced Costs and Instant Ink Printers

Low-cost printers from HP, Epson, Brother and more all seem like a superb value-for-money proposition but the cold, hard reality is they are extremely expensive to run due to extortionate ink prices. Often, these budget printers are half the price of official replacement ink cartridges and DIY kits are overly messy. For heavy users, a Laser printer is essential. However, HP’s latest venture could dramatically change the fortune of ink-based printers. The company has decided to tackle ‘ink anxiety’ head-on and reduce cartridge prices by 50%

The scheme works through integrated Wi-Fi, and smart cartridges can detect the remaining ink level before automatically ordering replacements directly from HP. This service is entitled, “instant ink” and pricing starts at a mere £1.99 per month. However, from is a huge word when it comes to consumer pricing so it’s an unknown entity how expensive this service could be on certain models. HP also dispatch a pre-paid package to return your empty cartridges and dispose of them in an environmentally-friendly manner. Stephen Nigro, senior vice president at HP imaging and printing, said in a statement:

“Customers want printing to be affordable, convenient and meaningful.”

“With HP Instant Ink, customers can enjoy low cost of ownership and print what matters most to them without the worry of running out of ink or spending too much.”

This is a wonderful idea and could instigate the beginning of cheap, consumer-friendly cartridges. Not only is the price fantastic, but HP’s commitment to providing simple replacements without requiring any technical knowledge is revolutionary. HP’s customer service team should be able cope with customer demands and ensure replacements are dispatched before any remaining ink runs dry. Hopefully, other manufacturers will follow HP’s lead.

Thank you VentureBeat for providing us with this information.

Glass 3D Printing Technique Is Stunning

Recent years have seen the technique of 3D printing evolve from a niche concept to a mainstream phenomenon, which in turn has opened up a whole new horizon for product manufacturing. If you thought this was exciting, then be prepared to be blown away as a new development centres on glass 3D printing.

MIT’s Mediated Matter Group has unveiled a first of its kind optically transparent glass printing process which goes by the name of G3DP, If you are wondering, it stands for “Glass 3D Printing”. In order for this process to become a reality, an additive manufacturing platform is applied with dual heated chambers. The first or upper chamber is a “Kiln Cartridge,” which operates at an intense heat of 1900°F, while the lower chamber works with the aim of heating before cooling in order to soften the glass.

This technique is not creating glass but rather building layers upon layers with pre-existing materials. Below is a video to convey this process in action, as you can see, it is compelling, mind-blowing and quite relaxing to watch, the building up of an object looks similar to a lava lamp which used to be popular.

The consistency looks to be incredibly hot syrup which is drizzled onto a sugary treat, yep I know, perhaps a poor observation but I have included a screenshot below which kind of backs it up, sort of.

It’s intricate and opens up a whole new set of possibilities for everyday applications in the near future, for now, if your feeling stressed and would like a few moments to relax, then by all means watch the video, aside from the fact that it is pretty amazing to view, it might also soothe you.

Thank You to Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

KFC Puts a Printer in its Chicken Bucket

The brains behind KFC’s masterworks, the ketosis-inducing Double Down and the Zinger Tower burger, the perfect nightcap to an evening on the ale – not to mention the Colonel’s secret blend of eleven herbs and spices (I’ve worked out at least eight of them. Anyone with inside knowledge, please help me out in the comments) – has developed a marvel to be included in that famous bucket, alongside the mountain of fried chicken. Yes, KFC has put a printer in a bucket.

To celebrate the 60th year of KFC’s presence in Canada, the fast food chain has launched the Memories Bucket. If your fingers are not too grease-tastic, you can send photos from your smartphone to the bucket, which will then print them out for you.

KFC is yet to reveal if the Memories Bucket will be made available for mainstream release, but it is to be assumed that it will be available in select Canadian restaurants during the 60th Anniversary celebrations.

Yum! Brands, the owner of both KFC and Pizza Hut, pulled a similar trick with the latter only last month, introducing a Pizza Hut pizza box that could be converted into a digital film projector. It seems the company has quite a taste for making its ephemera multi-purpose.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information.

Lawsuit Filed Against 3D Printer MakerBot

3D printers are a good invention, but it sadly doesn’t print legally binding instructions with which companies should follow, well it probably does, but manufacturers will ignore them. It’s been alleged that 3D printing firm MakerBot has knowingly shipped a project which they knew did not work.

A lawsuit has been launched over MakerBot and parent company Stratasys over its fifth generation 3D printer, which is accused of shipping these units with flawed extruders, this is the mechanism which melts and deposits filament that is tending to clog. The company also told investors to expect over projected growth while at the same time cost cutting corners relating to quality, repairing returned units and also sacking workers.

By the time this came to light, investors had lost millions of dollars in expected revenue. By looking at the lawsuit, it immediately becomes clear something has gone drastically wrong. From flawed designs to expensive warranties, there is quite a bit which has been built up against MakerBot.

What this highlights is again for a company to over inflate its expectations while at the same time failing to deliver. These allegations have not yet been proven and still need to be laid out in a court of law; I do believe there is a case against MakerBot which if they lose, could be curtains for a company which attempted to make 3D printing mainstream while doing so at an unrealistic production price.

Thank You adafruit for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of engadget

3D Printed Robot Can Jump 20x Its Own Height!

An evolutionary trend is beginning to develop as traditional ways of manufacturing are being replaced by the world of 3D printing. From Guns to toys, the notion of being able to physically build a product in your own home as many appeals. But when we think of this process, we think of small basic objects, well a new development has managed to design the first 3D printed robot.

A team at Harvard University in the US has “experimented with the idea of an autonomous robot which transitions from a rigid body to a soft one which can jump”. This robot is powered by a mix of butane and oxygen and it can jump more than 20 times its own height with the aim of then landing upright and not in pieces.

The design of this machine features a custom circuit board, a high voltage power source, a battery, an air compressor, butane fuel cells, six valves, an oxygen cartridge, and a pressure regulator and ducts to move the gas around. In order for the robot to jump, the mechanism is for it to inflate one or more of its legs, with the aim of pointing the body in the direction which it wants to move. The body is then filled with Oxygen and Butane and then it sort of, well, ignites itself. By doing this the robot expands the robot before propelling it into the air.

This is certainly a design which could open the door for 3D printed robots in the future, just imagine entering your living room, switching on your printer and building your own robot army. Or not as the case may be.  OK, not the two-footed, 8 feet tall Terminator Robots, but still Robots.

Thank You RT for providing us with this information

Zhuhai CTC To Unveil New 3D Printer

3D printing is promising to be the future tech of choice, the notion of printing a vast array of objects in your own living room appeals to a wide range of people and also sectors.

A company by the name of Zhuhai CTC Electronics who are notable 3D printer manufacturer based in China have confirmed that they will be unveiling a new “affordable” desktop 3D printing machine at the International Software Convergence & Innovation Expo, which is being held within a coastal city by the name of Qingdao eastern China in early July. According to reports, this will be the first high-resolution 3D printer which will be affordable for the average consumer. How affordable? Well the price with which this machine is being marketed at is around $1480 dollars, this is around £943.07, and of course this is assuming the price does not jump when it reaches the shores of the EU.

In order to achieve high user growth, the electronics firm has adopted the minimum layer detail thickness of 0.1mm which veers away from the common 0.025mm of similar 3D printers. This is not as detailed as the latter’s measurements, but this is what keeps this machine cheaper than its competitors.

As you can see below, this 3D printer is portable and will not take up much space, the specs which have been released for this potential machine is as follows.

Will it take off? This depends if consumers will adopt this new form of printing while having the ability to market a product at the price indicated when we are still very much in the midst of a flat lining economy. It’s a step forward for this new tech innovation, but adoption will need to be realistic until the price matches the budgets and expectations of a wider section of society

Thank You PR Newswire for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of tagloom  computerweekly and PR Newswire

How It’s Made Video Shows How 3D Printers Are Born

If you ever wondered how 3D printers are made, then you need no more. The answer is surprisingly simple as most parts are printed by other 3D printers.

The Science channel visited a 3D printer manufacturer to take a look at how they create them, and the surprising thing is that they just print them. Okay, there are some things such as the electronics, the aluminium frame, and the glass that can’t be printed and they also have to be assembled, but it’s still pretty close to calling it self-replication.

About 40 of the components used in the LulzBot line of 3D printers featured in the video are 3D printed. They use their own 3D printers to produce their own machines more than any other manufacturer. In fact, they have just 3D printed their 500,000th part a representative told Motherboard in an email.

I’ve always loved watching those ‘how it is made’ videos ever since I was a little kid, it is fascinating to see how the things we use each day actually come into existence. The video below gives in inside view into the manufacturing process of the LulzBot TAZ, which is manufactured by Aleph Objects, Inc.

Thank you Motherboard for providing us with this information

3D Print Your Own GlaDOS Robotic Ceiling Arm Lamp!

Earlier today we brought you news of a very cool 3D printed guitar, which is great for musicians to tinker around with. However, if you’re more excited by the world of amateur robotics and the legendary GlaDOS from Portal, this may be a lot more exciting for you!

Someone has created a guide on how to 3D print your own GlaDOS, which you can then fit to your ceiling as a robotic lamp; it may very well be one of the coolest things I have ever seen!

Unfortunately, there’s a few manufacturing problems at the moment, where the GlaDOS gets quite hot, some of the build would require electrical wiring and no doubt a fair bit of skill with fitting servo motors. However, the 3D files are there, so you could always build a stationary unit that would require less skill to construct. There’s certainly room to tweak and improve the design, but the core concept is no doubt too awesome to resist for any budding engineer with a 3D printer at their disposal.

Of course, if the GlaDOS lamp is too hard, you could always just make the potato version!

Now, if someone can get me a 3D printer and a model of FFVII Midgar, with working train and Mako reactors, that’d be great.

Royal Mail Embracing 3D Printing Technology, Wants to Custom Print Your Items

The Royal Mail has partnered with 3D printing specialist iMakr to install 3D printers at its New Cavendish Street delivery office, hoping to entice the public.

Customers can purchase custom designs or ready-to-print objects, and the pilot program could be rolled out nationwide based on demand.

Here is what Mike Newnham, Royal Mail chief customer officer, said in a statement:

“3D printing is an emerging technology that has many applications and offers an innovative way to create unique or personalized objects. It can be prohibitively expensive for consumers or small businesses to invest a 3D printer, so we are launching a pilot to gauge interest in 3D printing.”

Consumer 3D printers can be purchased in the UK, but prices typically top £1,000, not including required filaments. Analysts think it will take at least five years before the pricey custom printers become more commonplace among consumers, with price cuts necessary to increase interest.

The 3D printing market is growing as consumers become more aware of 3D-printed products – but high acquisition and start-up costs are delaying investments, according to the Gartner research group. In fact, 60 percent of organizations interested in 3D printing have delayed implementation because of such high start-up costs.

(Image courtesy of UK In The Press)

Canon Printer Hacked to Play Doom

Security flaws can be demonstrated in many ways, and usually it is pretty boring to watch and read about. Not so this time, as Michael Jordon shows us how to play Doom on a Canon Pixma wireless printer. Using a security flaw in the printers web administration-interface, he was able to run doom on the printers very own LED display.

Like it is with so many connected smart devices, these printers lack the most basic forms of security out of the box. While it does use a simple encryption, there is no pre-setup passwords and it is a plain login method that is used. Normally the worst someone could do after hacking your printer, would be to print thousands of test pages until the ink cartridges become empty. Not so in this case, as this is a lot worse. Michael Jordon learned that he not only could update the firmware at will, he could even tell the printer what location to get the firmware from.

This flaw has big potential, if one were to build a custom firmware and sneak it onto a device with the security flaw. Not only would it allow the hacker to spy on anything that is printed and otherwise going on inside the network, he could further use it as a bridge and gateway to infect other systems on the network

“If you can play Doom on a printer, you can do a lot more nasty things,” Jordon said while Canon provided the following statement regarding the issue:

“We thank Context for bringing this issue to our attention; we take any potential security vulnerability very seriously. At Canon we work hard at securing all of our products, however with diverse and ever-changing security threats we welcome input from others to ensure our customers are as well protected as possible.

We intend to provide a fix as quickly as is feasible. All PIXMA products launching from now onwards will have a username/password added to the PIXMA web interface, and models launched from the second half of 2013 onwards will also receive this update, models launched prior to this time are unaffected. This action will resolve the issue uncovered by Context.”

If you’d like to see a video of Jordon playing Doom on the printer display, you can follow this link to the MP4 file. The display might not support all the colours of the game, but there is no doubt about what game it is.

Thank you Contextis for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Contextis

Giant 3D Printer Capable of Printing Cars

Oak Ridge and Cincinnati Incorporated have worked together to create a living room sized 3D printer, which is also the worlds first large-scale 3D printer that’s capable of working with polymers. To demonstrate the capabilities of their new mega-sized device, the teams behind it have been 3D printing cars; everything from the seats, bumpers and body were all printed, with the exception of the motor, suspension and tires which were all made conventionally.

While they have intentions of selling their finished cars, their real goal is to commercialize the printer. The company have sold two already and they hope they’ll make it into the industrial industry as a way of printing large parts for cars, aircrafts, appliances, robots and a whole lot more. Given that the machine is ten times bigger than any other industrial 3D polymer printer, we suspect that it’s going to be fairly popular, at least with those who have room to install one.

Check out the Vine video below which shows part of the cars’ chassis being printed.

Thank you Popsci for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Popsci

Tips for Keeping Your Store’s Inventory in Check

Inventory isn’t something that most store owners get excited over, but it is something that has to be done. Naturally you should use a point of sale system that has inventory tracking built-in, but even with the best point of sale system, you still have work to do on your end to keep your inventory in check.

The Elements of a Good Inventory Procedure

  • Organized location names
  • Labels that are easy to read
  • Unique, short item identification numbers
  • Units of measure
  • A starting count
  • Good inventory keeping policies
  • Software that tracks your inventory
  • People who know how to use your inventory system

Reasons for Tracking Your Inventory

There are many different reasons why a business owner needs to track their inventory. But, it is important to know the common reasons and benefits to using an accurate inventory.

Asset Tracking

Most businesses have their assets as their main source of capital. Therefore, each year you need to track those assets, evaluate them and make sure your business is still running properly. Having a proper inventory can help with the asset tracking and valuation process – and your insurance company or financial institution might even require it.

Ensuring Stock Levels Remain Consistent

Your customers demand that they receive their products on time, but how can you assure them they will if you don’t know what you have in stock? Tracking inventory ensures that you will always have consistent stock levels.

Preparing for Seasonal or Sale-Related Demand

As a retailer, you are likely to have high demand seasons. By knowing your inventory and keeping track, you can anticipate those demands and make sure you have enough inventory in stock to accommodate them.

Preventing Theft, Loss or Inventory Shrinkage

When your employees know you don’t keep track, what is there to stop them from removing inventory from your store? It is imperative that you not only keep track of inventory for your customers, but also to prevent losses.

Insurance Purposes

You are likely to have an insurance policy on your business. If there is a natural disaster or damage to your inventory, your insurance will pick up the loss. But, if you don’t have an accurate inventory of what was lost or damaged, it will be difficult to file a claim.

Accountants May Require Inventory

Your accountant may require an end-of-year or end-of-quarter inventory summary from you. If you already have a solid inventory record, handing that over to your accountant will be nothing more than transferring a file or printing out a report.

Tips for Keeping Track of Your Inventory

There are numerous ways you can track your inventory, but the first and most important tool is a point of sale system. This system works on your computer, tablet and maybe even your phone. It helps you keep company records, check customers out, and integrate your inventory records. But, not just any point of sale will do. You need a comprehensive one that allows you to keep track of cash and sales, but also keep track of inventory.

A good system will have a barcode printer and scanner. A barcode printer allows you to input items into your inventory in the point of sale system, then it will print out barcode labels so that you can attach them to your products. With a compatible barcode scanner you can do inventory checks, scan products for a faster checkout, etc.

Look for a barcode printer that is compatible with your current point of sale system. Shopify, for example, has compatible point of sale systems and barcode printers. You will also want one that can print several labels per minute and preferably uses thermal printing technology. Thermal printing technology is faster, more accurate and more cost-efficient than traditional printing. You won’t have to deal with the ink and paper like you do on a traditional printer, but also if you receive a large shipment that needs to be added to your inventory, you won’t spend hours just printing out the labels. Also, look for a barcode printer that is also capable of printing shipping labels. That way if you sell products online, you can still ship your products and print shipping labels using the same printer.

Keeping track of inventory is important — regardless of the type of business you run. By keeping accurate count of your products on hand, you can deliver to customers on time, manage your assets better and prevent losses in the future. Now Selling Customisable 3D Printed Items

3D printing continues to shake up the world of manufacturing and has begun offering innovative and creative solutions for consumers. The latest to jump on the 3D printing trend is as they begin to offer customisable and pre-designed products that are 3D printed for you after you order them.

Amazon have set up a dedicated store front on their US site, which will allow you to browse over 200 products such as jewellery, homeware, toys and more. With the ability to customise the items so easily thanks to a simple user interface, it means you can create one of a kind items that would make great little gifts, or even just something for fun.

The site comes with a 3D mockup of what you’re creating too, so you can check every detail of what you are about to order before it is sent off to the printers and with a company as big as Amazon behind it, it’s got a great chance of being a big success.

Check out the official store front here and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

MakerBot and NASA Launch a Competition for The Best ‘Human Base on Mars’ Design

MakerBot has reportedly launched a competition, in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, challenging people to become inspirational in designing a human base o Mars. Things like extreme temperatures, radiation spikes, dust storms are just a few examples competitors should take into account.

Although not every entrant will have a strong astrophysical background, NASA is in search for individuals who like to ‘think outside the box’ and give NASA some fresh insights and other points of view they might be missing. MakerBot has also placed a Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer up for grabs for whoever wins the competition, which has started on the 30th of May and will close on the 12th of June. Though not a lot of time has been made available, it has been reported that the competition already received 70 CAD file submissions.

One of the submissions comes from a graduate engineer by the name of Pierre Meyitang, who has submitted a so-called ‘DasDome’ , which is a huge dome housing surrounded by solar panel arrays that can fold in on top of the dome in order to protect it from external factors.

Ryan from Florida is another entrant who has submitted his ‘Mars City Base’ design, having it engineered to be elevated off the ground in order to grant wind deflection, having a pond in the center to store fresh water and houses located above agricultural plots.

3D printing concepts for space living have been around since astrophysicists looked at using the concept of 3D printing Earth homes and do the same thing for the Moon, having NASA due to launch the first 3D printer into space this year in order to experiment with printing in the most challenging conditions.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Arstechnica

Cheap 3D Food to Help Bring Delicious Meals in Nursing Homes

People who have been in a nursing home and inside the cafeteria will know that eating is one of the most difficult activities for an elderly person. They are most probably being served food which is easy to chew, such as puree and mashed food, but in most cases this comes at the expense of taste. However, a German company by the name of Biozoon Smoothfood is seeking to change the way elderly people eat and aims to bring some taste to their meals by using 3D-printed, easy-to-chew food.

THe company states that it is using liquified ingredients such as vegetables, meat, carbs and others instead of ink or PLA which a 3D printer would normally use. The ingredients then are inserted into the printer’s cartridge and come out as food which ‘melts in your mouth’, thanks to a binding agent. Bizoon currently makes six types of food, namely peas, pork, chicken, cauliflower, pasta and potatoes, but the company states they will add more diversity in the future.

Given that is a 3D printer, the food can be made in any shape dictated by the software. However, nobody wants to eat for example meat in the shape of fruit, therefore the company makes the food in the shape of its food items. Currently, the food is made off-site, but Bizoon plans to place printers directly inside nursing homes in the future since it makes it more practical and at hand to serve the food as soon as it is made.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Gizmodo

Kickstarter Project Leads To Word’s Cheapest 3D Printer Tagged at Under $200

The 3D printer hype has not burt out yet, and yes, the 3D revolution is still making substantial progress. The problem was that, unlike the LEGO version, no 3D printer was cheap enough for everyone to afford. The solution however may have presented itself.

A Kickstarter project claimed the title of the world’s cheapest 3D printer. The printer is called QU-DB, short for Quintessential Universal Building Device, and it costs only $199. Initially, the project started with a target of raising $9,000 in order to get the company up and running smoothly. Surprisingly, the project received more than expected.

With over 1,400 backers, the QU-DB raised over $400,000 in the crowd-funding campaign and has even made a few other versions of the 3D printer kit. Currently, the small company based in Little Rock, Arkansas, is dealing with shipping the printers to the crowd-funding backers while preparing to take new orders and hopefully start delivering them next month.


The company stated that the key for keeping the price down is that the printer comes unassembled. This is not a huge drawback and moreover, it also makes room for modifications of the basic unit, including a heated bed, increased production area and the addition of ‘pretty bright colors’ to the frame.

This is quite a big step in a fairly small amount of time to go from a family owned company to a manufacturer of a low-cost, ready-to-assemble home 3D printer company. However, 3D printer enthusiasts might be overjoyed over the fact that they can now own their own personal 3D printer for as low as $199.

Thank you GizMag for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of GizMag

Disabled Duck Gets A New 3D Printed Limb, Faith In Humanity Restored!

The power of 3D printing has been proven once again valuable. This time, helping a poor disabled duck. Dudley, a duck rescued by the K911 animal rescue service from Sicamous, Canada, has lost his leg when just a baby from the attack of a vicious chicken kept in the same pen as Dudley.

The prosthetic was created by Terence Loring at 3 Pillar Design, which is a company that specializes in 3D printing architectural prototypes. He heard of Dudley’s misfortune from a friend and decided to make him a 3D printed limb with the help of his experience in 3D printing prototypes.

Loring first came up with a jointed construction that was fully 3D printed in plastic by Proto3000 in Canada. After it was attached to Dudley, it broke and Dudley fell over. So Loring went back to designing a new and improved one, something that had no joints and printed in a softer plastic.

The second attempt went very well, Dudley got the second model attached and started to walk straight away. Although it does cause friction sores, something that has happened in the past with another prosthetic , having solved it by adding a silicone sock and prosthetic gel liner.

Loring will undoubtedly find a way to get around the friction sores issue as well. In the meantime, Dudley is very happy that it can walk again! Hurray to 3D printing once again!

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Cnet

Smallest Label Printer For Android Handsets Revealed By Seiko Epson

Seiko Epson has announced their latest label printer for Android devices, the LW-600P. Coming in at only 24mm this is the smallest and lightest label printer that is on the market. Using Bluetooth the LW-600P can easily connect to your Android smartphone or tablet, and the printer runs either via battery power or an AC plug if you can access one. Through the Epson iLabel application you will be able to take full advantage of the printer from your Android device in ways that we not possible before.

Epson offers the options to print labels on a large variety of different tape options. Whether you are looking to print personalized ribbons, create iron-on tags, print glow in the dark or reflective labels you can do it all from the portable LW-600P. Epson has created an open-source development kit for the printer so you can easily create custom applications for your own business uses to make the printer work best for you.

Epson’s printer is available for a price tag of $99 / €72 / £60 with one roll of ribbon, and a price of $123 / €90 / £75 for two rolls. For those interested in Seiko Epson’s printer, they will be showing it off this amazing printer at CES 2014.


  • “True-view” label preview capability using the camera function to ensure labels perfectly match what’s on the screen
  • Handwriting mode for custom drawing or annotation of labels using the touch screen interface
  • Speech-to-text voice transcription and printing
  • In-app storage of created label for future use
  • Import of custom graphics such as symbols, logos and photographs to copy & paste onto labels for a more professional look or to add a personalized touch
  • Creation of QR code labels for content sharing or barcode labels for inventory management which can be scanned by third-party QR/barcode apps

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Android Central

3D Printed Toys Made Their Way To 4,000 Disadvantaged Children This Christmas

3D printing has been one of the biggest trends of last year. Just about anything could be printed out, from guns to smartphone motherboards. It has been one of the most favourable tech discoveries form all times, and very useful indeed. Although the full extent of its usefulness cannot be measured at the moment, it did however made a big difference for 2013’s Christmas.

According to a BBC News article, the charity Kids Company made use of the 3D printing technology to print out toys for disadvantaged children. They had their doors opened for everyone to come and see how toys are made live, and maybe donate if they were generous enough, in Soho, London. The duration of the fund raising event spanned from December 13th up until December 18th, where people visiting the event could donate via text message and even choose the next toy design afterwards from six toy design templates.

World-famous animators Aardman, the people behind the nation’s much-loved Wallace and Gromit characters, have lent their support to the cause and have created two exclusive and limited edition toy designs for the event. The other toy designs have been made by companies Tado, Triclops, and Ultimaker.

After the fund-raising event, all toys were taken to the Kids Company Christmas party event by Santa, where 4,000 children enjoyed Christmas and opened up presents.

Thank you BBC UK and 3D Printing Insider for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BBC UK

Aurora Branded 3D Printer Set To Launch Next Month

Aurora Group will release its first 3D printer next month, in collaboration with automation equipment maker Contrel Technology Co.

The Aurora Group is a distributor for Sharp Corp and Hewlett-Packard Co. in Taiwan and are mainly focused on selling Stratasys Ltd 3D Printers in China, along with office furniture, appliances and supplies.

The printer will be called the “F1” 3D printer, featuring a user-friendly interface a year-long customer service. It is targeting small and medium-sized companies, having a price tag of $3,400. Senior manager Tony Tsai stated that “It’s all about price-performance ration” when it comes to the steep price tag of the F1 3D printer at the press conference in Taipei.

“The 3D printer market is a brand-new market, and we are confident we will hold a notable market share in the long run,”said Aurora executive director Alice Lin.

Aurora’s next move is to get involved in China’s 3D printing market and from there to the rest of the world. To spice things up, Aurora is also considering introducing its own “Aurora Office Cloud” in Q3 2014, allowing customers to upload and download files to be printed.

Thank you Taipei Times for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Taipei Times

Record Crowdsourced Cash Raised For $100 3D Printer

A Saskatchewan man has attracted a staggering $700,000 in funding from a crowdsourced campaign to further develop his home made 3D printer, which he believes will be creatable for just $100 each. This is clearly a lot cheaper than most commercial 3D printers, many of which can cost in excess of $1000, more than twice that for anything half decent.

28 year old inventor Rylan Grayston of Yorkton says it was simple curiosity that pushed him to create a 3D copier that could be not only made, but sold at a low cost.

“I didn’t have enough money for a 3D printer that I wanted, so I just started thinking about how can I do this myself?” Grayston told CBC News. “All I want to do is invent” he added.

His ideals are that he wants lots of money for his efforts, seeing a lot of potential in a commercial project such as 3D printing that would then allow him the finances he requires to pursue his other creations and further his research as opposed to buying a yacht or fancy cars with the money.

His budget 3D printer doesn’t sound a simple as its price tag would suggest either, but there is an element of creative thinking behind its build process. It uses software that converts an object into data using a sound card on his laptop, this audio file is then sent to electromagnetic mirrors and laser beats that vibrate and move in accord with the data, this builds 3D objects from a specialized acrylic resin. Personally I only understand half of that, but it certainly sounds cool.

“It blows my mind,” said David Gerhard, a computer science professor at the University of Regina in a recent interview with CBC News. “The way that they’re doing things is so sort of different from the way normal 3D printers work, that it’s quite amazing to see the shift in thinking.”

Proof that he doesn’t want to steal mega riches from his ideas, Grayston will be posting his ideas online, the plans for the device and he won’t even be applying for patent protection. He has however raised over $700,000 from Kickstarter.

Simply put, you’ll be able to build this thing yourself if you wanted to for parts that cost no more than $100.


Thank you CBC for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CBC.

McDonalds Considers Deploying In-Store 3D Printing For Happy Meal Toys

3D printing has yet to find its groove, it may be popular, but the technology is still a little less refined that you would be led to believe. There is still a lot of work to be done re-tooling your models and certainly a bit of trial and error for some things too.

What the technology needs is a huge player in the industry, someone with near unlimited funds to find a way of making it capable of mass production and making it fast. Who better for such as task than fast food restaurant McDonalds.

Mark Fabes, the UK IT Director for the chain said that he has thought about the idea of having 3D printers in store that could print the happy meal toys on site. This would save a lot of money with transporting the goods and of course paying an external manufacture, it could even cut down on waste.

Of course the technology is quite up to that pace just yet, but Fabes may be onto something here and who knows what changes will happen with 3D printing technology in the next few years.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information.

3D Printers Heading To The International Space Station In 2014

3D printing as we have seen by now is quickly becoming the next best thing since the dot-matrix printer and over the last year or so things have been going from strength to strength for the technology as its gone from concept to a high street reality. Not surprisingly, it was only a matter of time before NASA got their hands on the concept and tweaked and tuned it for use in their space stations.

The specially made printer has had to go through far more than a couple of test prints in order to get the thumbs up from the engineers. As well as being able to print intricate spare parts or tools for use in space, the printer will also need to withstand the force and vibrations of lift-off from earth and then have to be able to operate safely within a space station environment. On top of all this, some of the specially designed printers will also be able to product components from titanium and nickel-chromium powers which are laser melted together as they are produced.

When launched in 2014, the printers will be installed in to the ISS (International Space Station) and the final goal is for an astronaut to be able to produce a spare tool or component in an emergency without the need to fashion something together as was famously seen during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970 where a carbon dioxide filter had to be made from items including a manual cover, hose and gaffer tape.

Not only does this mean that less spare parts will need to be taken up to the station during take off – saving space, but also the mission costs could be lowered in the long run as well.

Image courtesy of


Shapeways Brings Us Elasto Plastic, Flexible Rubber for 3D Printing

Makers are always looking for new and innovative ways to make interesting things, even if it is only for personal use. Some makers design things for other people to use, and even for companies. 3D printing is becoming ever so popular. People are able to make simple things, elaborate things, toys, and even artwork. Where will it stop?


Shapeways gives us the ability to turn our ideas into products. Recently they showed off a newer material called Elasto Plastic, a material that is flexible, though it may not hold its shape when abused. Elasto Plastic is an almost rubber like substance that is stronger than traditional 3D printing plastics, which allows them to take a bit more abuse. Elasto Plastic is only an experimental material, and will only be offered for a short period of time, until July 9th, at the end of the trial Shapeways will decide if the material is worth keeping on their shelves. Important facts.

  • Not watertight
  • Not dishwasher  safe
  • Not recyclable
  • Not food safe
  • heatproof up to 90C/194F

If you plan to take advantage of this product trial, I suggest you read more about Elaso Plastic on the Shapeways website, as there is loads more information available to you. They describe how the materials react, and how they may effect a project you might make with this material.

Would you be interested in testing out this new material? What kinds of things would you make with flexible plastic?