Hursley 3D Printing Expo

D’oh, looks like I missed a swarm of 3d printers in Hursley recently! I wonder if anyone has printed a model of the house/site yet.

I’m still looking for even a vaguely plausible excuse to splash out on a 3d printer, but printing models or new 3d printers still isn’t quite enough to justify the money (or space these days)!


Printing money

There’s a 3D printer in my future. Not so long ago it was a distant dream, with the cost of a 3D printer well beyond gadgety impulse buying limits, but costs are coming down and the future is approaching fast. I just need to find some way to justify the need for a 3D printer on the grounds of printing some replacement part essential for fixing the downstairs toilet! (Ok, so $500 for a Solidoodle is still a fair bit more than the cost of an old coat hanger.)

With all these cheap 3D printers on the way, we need more things to print. Speculating wildly, I can’t really see people wanting to print 3d photos. I’m sure existing CAD software is well suited to printing engineering orientated objects but that would be missing a huge opportunity.

A few years ago, I saw an incredible demo which Ann Marie Shillito gave to a few of us in Hursley. It was like being able to reach inside the screen and mould objects. The sense of touch added another dimension in a way which 3D displays just never have for me. I would definitely recommend trying to get a demo if at all possible.

In what should be perfect timing, Anarkik3D are raising money through IndieGoGo to fund the next stage of development for their Cloud9 software for 3D modelling. They have just 35 days left to reach their target of $120,000!

Photo © John Abella (CC BY 2.0)

What did the Victorians ever do for us?

Last week, after an aborted start due to a meteorite impact (stone chip on windscreen!), we spent a couple of days away from home/work/the internet in Shropshire. We spent a bit of time at the birthplace of the industrial revolution, now home to a few museums… and a power station:

(Probably not PC but somehow seems an apt addition to the scenery considering the area’s past.)

Despite a closed road (travel was turning out to be a pain on this holiday!) we made it to the Blists Hill Victorian town, which was well worth the effort.

The town has it’s own printing shop where they were printing boxes to put bricks in, as you do. They had a couple of old presses, including one fantastic platen press. Probably a bit too big for the shed sadly.

Typesetting the kind of postcards they usually print probably doesn’t take too long, but the post office had a newspaper which would have been a huge effort to typeset… not to mention pulling apart again, cleaning and storing ready for the next edition. Movable type clearly has it’s drawbacks.

And yet there’s something far more tactile about the end result than modern printing, which got me thinking about a fairly random mashup of old and new technology. Instead of assembling all those individual pieces of cast metal by hand, could you print the whole thing using a 3d printer? Linotype may have cast complete lines as a single slug, but a 3d printer could produce whole paragraphs, or pages at a time. Ok, pointless I know: technology has moved on, and clearly in a more efficient direction, but I still want to try it!

(Alternatively, this random use for 3d printing could be even more fun!)

Photo of metal type © no_typographic_man cc by-nc-nd 2.0