Sculpteo has received an investment of $2.5 million from XAnge Private Equity and business angels. Sculpteo’s specialty is providing integrated 3D printing solutions with smartphone apps, web apps, embed-able virtual stores, and, of course, 3D printing services.
3D printing has rapidly gone from niche to mainstream and now attracts the large investments and acquisitions one might expect in any other major industry. After MakerBot received $10 million in investment it began to expand rapidly, opening a New York City Store and reorienting its product line towards professionals. I will be interesting to see how Sculpteo changes and expands with their new funding.
Its flaps and flutters and flies . . . surprisingly.
This remarkable flying machine from Japan was made by “a salaryman obsessed with making an ornithopter,” which sounds like just the sort of devoted maker we like. The flyer is mostly 3D printed except for two motors, the plastic sheeting for the wings, and a few bits of hardware.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this is how well it flies. It has the look of the early experiments with aviation that were so prone to crashing. This one flutters through the air fairly nimbly like an enormous, slow moving insect. Continue past the jump for images and an indoor test video that shows the flying motion better. (more…)
Nick Thatcher built this self-balancing unicycle using an Arduino UNO, a IMU (gyroscope) from Sparkfun, a 24v 350w geared motor, a wheelbarrow wheel, and a handful of other basic parts.
The IMU senses when the unicycle tilts too far forward or backward, the Arduino does some calculations, and then the motor compensates. The rider still has to put a little effort into maintaining balance (and not falling sideways), but it wouldn’t be much fun if the Arduino did all the work.
Easily find software for your Raspberry Pi or offer your own creations.
The Rasberry Pi foundation has launched the Pi Store, a one stop shop for software, tutorials, games, and useful code for the Raspberry Pi. The idea is to provide an easy way to to find great software and distribute your own, thus making it even easier to get started. At launch, the store had 23 free titles and 1 paid, commercial program, so the venue is definitely favoring free sharing, at last so far.
Carbomorph, the new, experimental material for 3D printed touch sensors.
3D printed electronics has been the subject of experiments and speculation for awhile now, but it usually involves highly specialized 3D printers. Carbomorph, a new, experimental plastic and carbon composite, could allow touch sensors, like buttons, to be integrated into objects 3D printed with fairly basic plastic extrusion printers. (more…)
At long last, the newest version of the popular 3D modeling software hits the market.
If you are one of the many people who use Rhino, the popular NURBS-based 3D modeling software, you’ve probably noticed that the latest version, Rhino 5, has been in development for, let’s say, awhile. A very long while. Over five years, to be specific. It’s one of those things you might check on occasionally, see the “in development” label, wistfully sigh, and think about all the cool things your children will make with it.
The wait is over. Rhino 5 has been officially released with more than 2000 enhancements, apparently. From what I can see from the new features, it looks like most of those enhancements focus on making Rhino faster, smoother, and able to handle more complex models. I don’t think anyone will complain about that. There are also, of course, a variety new tools to be played with.
For those unfamiliar with Rhino, it’s notable for being extremely versatile with numerous, powerful plugins as well as support for scripting (Python). It may also be the least expensive professional-grade 3D modeling program at $995 ($195 educational). It’s still a bit steep for the hobbyist, but it could be a good investment for a maker trying to turn their passion into a profession.
NASA has commissioned Dr. Amit Bandyopadhyay from Washington State University and group of colleagues to test the feasibility of 3D printing using moon rock as the build material. Lacking significant quantities of actual moon rock, they used a simulated moon dust known as “Regolith.” Dr. Bandyopadhyay seems almost giddy in the video, so it seems that the experiment went well.
One of the major obstacles to setting up a base on the moon or elsewhere in space is the enormous cost of bringing material and supplies from Earth. 3D printing seems like the ideal way to produce what is needed on location, thus saving the shipping cost, and NASA apparently agrees. Previously, we wrote about a proposal to 3D print structures on the moon, and this new experiment shows a continued interest in the technology.
FARO, a company specializing in 3D scanning hardware and software, has released SCENECT, a free app that uses the sensor data from a Microsoft Kinect or other, similar device for 3D scanning. The app even incorporates the color data in addition to the geometry of the object to produce full-color 3D models.
Printing realistic 3D objects using standard paper.
Mcor’s IRIS printer, previously mentioned on this blog as part of Mcor’s deal with Staples, uses a deceptively simple method for its full-color prints. It “prints” objects by cutting out and gluing together hundreds of layers of paper.
One might imagine all sort of high-tech ways to add color, but Mcor chose a simple, yet highly effective approach. Hidden in a cabinet underneath the IRIS is a standard inkjet printer equipped with ink specially designed to soak through the paper, ensuring thorough color saturation (pictures below). The inkjet also prints a barcoad onto each sheet to make sure they are glued in the right order. (more…)
Lithoz, a new Austrian company specializing in 3D printers for ceramics, has recently finished development of the CeraFab 7500. Using a photo-curing process that is more reminiscent of plastic resins than ceramic, the CeraFab is capable of printing ceramic objects with astoundingly high detail and strength. The binder is photo-cured an entire layer at a time to create the form, and then the object is fired in a kiln to harden it.