Sculpteo raises $2.5 million in angel investment

Another 3D printing company attracts investment.

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.

Via 3D Printing Event blog

3D Systems sues the maker of the Form 1 3D printer and Kickstarter for patent infringement

What will this mean for low cost 3D printers and crowdsourcing?

Formlabs, maker of the Form 1 3D printer that was a runaway hit on Kickstarter, is being sued for patent infringement by 3D systems. 3D systems is also suing Kickstarter for promoting the project on the grounds that Kickstarter had a financial stake since they take a 5% cut.

The Form 1 raised $2,945,885, a remarkable feat, because it offered low-cost stereolithography printing. Other low-cost printers like the MakerBot and RepRep use a plastic extrusion technique, but the Form 1 uses UV cure resin, allowing for much higher resolution prints.

This brings us to the main issue. 3D Systems has an extensive patent on the use of stereolithography for 3D printing, and they are claiming that Form Labs violated it. Specifically, 3D systems is claiming that Form Labs infringed claim 1 and 34 of U.S. Patent No. 5,597,520.

This will be a case to watch. Regardless of the outcome, it could have a large impact on the future of low cost 3D printing and crowdsourcing.

Via Tech Crunch

3D printable folding Arduino lab

A versatile case to keep your next Arduino project protected and organized.

This folding Arduino case was designed by Jason Welsh. It holds an Arduino and a breadboard, and it has two drawers for all the parts you need for your project. When you finish your project, just fold it up and use it as a project box to protect your hard work. Last but not least, the box is fully 3D printable, with the small exception of the hardware.

The files are available on Thingiverse so you can make your own.

Via Makerbot

Printing full-size museum replicas

Challenging perceptions of what 3D printing can do

Extending on his earlier work with scanning and printing museum objects, California-based Cosmo Wenman contributed these impressive 3D printed replica sculptures to the MakerBot team’s exhibit for London’s 3D Print Show.

The equine form and bust of Alexander the Great were scanned using 123D Catch and printed in sections at 1:1 scale on a MakerBot Replicator. Once assembled and painted, the outcome is remarkably true to the historic original.

Click through to see the 29 unfinished blocks that make up the horse head, before they were fused together and finished with that incredible bronze patina. (more…)

Manufacturing product beta?

Manufacturing development emulating the software worldDesign studio Teague recently showcased 13:30, a pair of headphones at Makerfaire. They are currently experimenting with applying the concept of releasing products in ‘beta’ to manufacturing. For Teague, John Mabry designed a pair of headphones entitled 13:30, for print on a professional grade FDM 3D printer using commonly available electronic components. (more…)

A new hi-res desktop 3D printer announced today.

Formlabs announced today the release of the Form 1, their “prosumer” desktop printer that uses stereolithograpy to produce highly detailed models.

“The Form 1 marries high-end stereolithography (SL) technology and a seamless user experience at a price affordable to the professional designer, engineer and maker.”

A common complaint of current desktop printers like Makerbot, Ultimaker, and RepRap that use FDM extrusion technology, is that the print quality is too low. The Form 1 tackles this head on and the high quality results speak for themselves. Another printer in the “at home” printing market is great news for consumers too. The Form 1 promises to be “An end-to-end package. Printer, software, and post-processing kit that just works. Right out of the box.”

The price is affordable though the regular retail price has not been announced. At $2499 it is comparable to the price of the Replicator 2.

They have a kickstarter campaign to manage pre-sales and generate funds to ramp up production. The machines are selling fast! They have reached their goal of 100K in 2.5 hours.

Formlabs is a Boston-based start-up founded by a trio of MIT grads with impressive backers like Eric Schmidt and Mitch Kapor. They’ve also enlisted Dragon Innovation, a manufacturing consultancy, to assist with the production of the printers and hopefully avoid the kinds of hurdles we’ve seen other successful kickstarter campaigns face.

Nice work guys. I’m excited to see the results!

More on Formlabs and Wired

Replicator 2: a new direction for MakerBot?

The much-lauded maker of 3D printers for amateurs goes pro.

As we mentioned in our recent coverage, MakerBot has just released a brand new 3D printer, the Replicator 2. It boasts a range of new features and upgrades that I won’t repeat here. It also boasts a new $2199 price tag. I doubt anyone will complain about improved print quality and larger build volumes, and, frankly, the new printer looks gorgeous. That being said, this blogger sees the Replicator 2 as a new direction for MakerBot. They have clearly and specifically labeled it “professional-grade,” a first for MakerBot. This is not necessarily a bad direction, but it is a marked change from how they began.
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MakerBot launches Replicator 2 3D printer

The new professional-grade 3D printer from MakerBot.

The people who brought us the Cupcake, the Thing-o-Matic, and the Replicator 3D printer have just released their next creation: the Replicator 2.

In contrast to their earlier printers aimed at hobbyists, MakerBot is describing this new printer as “professional-grade.” This claim is supported by the radically improved print quality, in addition to a slew of other upgrades and tweaks. To compare, the original replicator had a layer height of 270 microns, and the Replicator 2 has a layer height of 100 microns.

Keep reading past the jump for more features, photos, and videos.
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BotQueue: Open Distributed Manufacturing

I for one would like to welcome our open-source 3d-printing robot overlords

MakerBot co-founder Zach Hoeken announced BotQueue this week:

BotQueue is an online platform for distributing print jobs to multiple 3D printers for production. As the name suggests, it allows you to create a print queue which contains jobs. Your connected bots will grab jobs and produce them. As each job is competed, the operator is prompted to remove and verify the output. Upon successful completion, the bot will grab the next job and start producing it. This continues until the queue is empty. If a bot fails, it is taken offline for repairs.

You can play with it here.

Improving 3D print adhesion with hairspray(!)

Extra hold for extra hold

Extra Hold by phineasjw

Thingiverse user phineasjw had problems with his 3D prints not fully sticking to his MakerBot’s build platform. Then he noticed a can of hairspray…

This is such an offbeat solution to a common hobbyist 3D printing problem that I just had to write about it. Making sure that the first layer of a print sticks to the platform is key to producing a high-quality object. If it doesn’t stick right, the edges can warp, or the entire object can come loose before the print is complete.

With that in mind, phineasjw’s solution was to spray a light mist of Aqua Net Extra Super Hold over his build platform’s kapton tape. Since doing so, he and other brave Thingiverse users say that they’ve had excellent results with their prints!

The full details are here, including templates for creating a cardboard mask to protect other components during hairspray application: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:28787


Derek Quenneville is a 3D printing evangelist who posts weekly on the Ponoko blog. Follow him on Twitter @techknight.