When most people think of 3D printing, they usually think of the plastic trinkets that come out of Makerbot machines. But increasingly, there’s interest in being able to 3D print items out of metal, which allows for more heavy-duty industrial applications of the technology.
Metal 3D printers exist now, but they can be expensify to purchase. A new startup called MatterFab hopes to reduce the cost associated with metal 3D printing, with a machine that houses a high-powered laser to basically weld metal together.
Unlike most plastic 3D printing machines, which work by extruding small amounts of plastic filament onto an object, the MatterFab machine puts down a thin layer of metal powder onto a build plate and then uses its laser to melt the powder onto the layer beneath it. By doing so, the machine can very precisely print various metal objects.
MatterFab CEO Matt Burris got his start after growing up around his father’s CNC machine shop in Indianapolis. That shop specifically built machine parts for the aerospace industry, but about three years ago, GE started to 3D print some of the parts that the shop used to make.
That led Burris to become interested in creating his own metal 3D printing machine, which he’s been working on for the past two years along with co-founder Dave Warren. The team has been working out of the office of hardware incubator and seed-stage investor firm Lemnos Labs, which helped to get the startup up and running.
Due to the rapidly decreasing cost of sensors and computational power, the MatterFab machine was built to offer up metal 3D printing at an order of magnitude lower than other products that are available to manufacturers today. With its prototype done, the company is looking to start building and shipping printers to partners beginning early next year.
Check out the video above to see how it works.
Read the original post: MatterFab Launches To Make Metal 3D Printing Affordable
You scream, I scream, we all transform an off-the-shelf Cuisinart soft-serve maker to extrude super-cooled and 3D-printed shells of ice cream! Three students at MIT, Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker, and David Donghyun Kim, have created a homemade ice cream printer that extrudes soft serve and immediately freezes it so that it can be layered on a cooled plate.
The system is a proof-of-concept right now but they were able to print some clever shapes out of the sweet, sweet cream. Writes Bunker:
We were inspired to design this printer because we wanted to make something fun with this up and coming technology in a way that we could grab the attention of kids. We felt that it was just as important to come up with a new technology as it was to interest the younger generation in pursuing science and technology so we can continue pushing the limits of what is possible.
The team worked on the project their spring semester at MIT and got it working to print a star. They have no plans to commercialize it yet but it seems like a clever and very useful hack.
“We ate a lot of ice cream during the making the machine especially during the couple all-nighters when ice cream became our midnight snack and breakfast, it was a great project and we had a lot of fun working on it,” she said.
The team built the printer as part of Professor John Hart’s class in additive manufacturing. They used a Solidoodle printer to control the plate and the stream and froze the ice-cream as it came out with liquid nitrogen. As you can imagine, it melted quite often, resulting in a pool of sweet, edible sadness. As a man who can eat three gallons of ice cream in a sitting, I could imagine this thing just 3D printing all over my head.
Continued here: MIT Students Create An Ice Cream Printer
3D printing has changed the way engineers test products, allowing them to cut down on time and costs. But what about 3D printing the components that go into most of these products?
Botfactory computer engineer Carlos Ospina said that most of the people he encountered didn’t believe it was possible. But he’s proven them wrong with Squink, a portable circuit board factory that allows you to test your project in minutes in the comfort of your home — costing around $2 to print.
Launched on Kickstarter last week, Squink prints conductive ink on specific materials such as photo paper or glass. In the span of about three days, Ospina and his team have raised about $24,000 on Kickstarter.
The circuit board is designed through a web-based portal usable only with Squink plugged in. The printer applies conductive glue dots onto the ink and then picks up components from a tray, aligns them and places them on the glue dots.
Botfactory and Squink were created by a group of engineers who met at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. Ospina said Squink can get anyone interested in circuit building because the portal requires no prior knowledge about circuitry and is simple to use.
You can also find a circuit board you’re interested in building online and input that into the Squink portal.
They don’t want Squink to replace the current process of sending projects to manufacturers to build but want it to be a tool for people to test out their ideas immediately, without having to create a delay in the creative process.
“We really want to be a stepping stone — try it out really quickly and once you’re ready, then you crank out about 100 boards from a manufacturer,” said Nicholas Vansnick, the team’s robotics engineer.
They are planning to sell the printer with a cartridge of conductive ink, cylinders of the conductive glue and a standard set of components. A cartridge of conductive ink can print about 100 boards, while one cylinder of the glue is for a single use.
If a user wants to buy more or different components, Ospina said they’re looking into ways to let the user buy them through their website.
The printer is still a prototype and the design is incomplete; as the Kickstarter dials down, they’re continuing to work on ways to make it look sleeker and be more portable and precise.
IMAGE BY Julian Chokkattu (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)
See the rest here: Squink Lets You Print A Circuit Board For The Price Of A Cup Of Coffee
It may surprise you but print media isn’t dead yet. Hell — some people even like reading ink off of pulped tree. And that curious fact is something U.K. startup Peekster is intending to cash in on — with an app (yes, it’s still an app) that links offline reading habits with online socializing and sharing habits to please old school readers and publishers alike.
We’ve covered this startup before, as a graduate of last year’s Wayra UK accelerator intake. But today Peekster is strutting its stuff on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in our battlefield competition, and has just announced it’s launching its app in the U.S. today.
Peekster’s U.S. launch publications are the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, which join the six existing U.K. publications (The Times, Independent, Metro, The Guardian, the London Evening Standard and City AM) already supported by the app.
Users of Peekster who like to read these learned journals in dead tree form will be able to whip out their smartphone and digitally ‘clip’ an article from the paper edition they’re reading by scanning a few words from the headline or first paragraph.
When I say ‘clip’ — which Peekster calls tagging — I mean the app will locate the digital version of the article a user is reading so they can share it online with their social networks, or save it for later reading (Peekster integrates with read-it-later services such as Pocket and Instapaper for that). In other words, the app enables a newspaper reader to connect their offline reading with their online identity and networks.
The iOS app uses optical character recognition to figure out what the iPhone’s camera is pointing at and point the user to the correct online article. Where a publication’s content is not currently being linked to within the app, Peekster will suggested related similar articles based on the words the user scanned — so you can use it as a related content discovery engine too, if you wish.
On the discoverability front, the app also curates a real-time list of popular tags — based on what the community of Peekster users is scanning. So its pitch to publishers is that it can also help bring in new readers, as well as linking their offline readers to their online content.
To be clear, Peekster says it is not maintaining a database of publishers’ content itself (to avoid any copyright issues). It’s either looking at a publication’s RSS feed to locate the content a user is after, or doing a web search, says co-founder Tine Hamler. Although he adds that it does do some headline and URL indexing to speed up internal searches.
Since there’s no database to build out, the only real reason for Peekster limiting the number of publications whose content is accessible within its app is on business model grounds. Ultimately it’s hoping to be able to persuade a sub-set of publishers to pay for the privilege of having their content in front of Peekster’s audience.
But to do that, it needs a sizeable enough audience to encourage publishers’ to pay — so this chicken/egg is not there yet.
Peekster needs some content to get readers interested of course — hence it’s starting by offering a limited selection of mainstream publishers’ content without them having to pay it, in the hopes that the ability to locate their content will help it amass enough users to get other publishers interested in paying to get content accessible within the app. (This is one of the reasons it’s focused on adding free newspapers in the U.K., says Hamler, owing to the potential volume of readers that brings in.)
Peekster is not currently breaking out app user numbers — but the app only launched last November so that’s not too surprising. Hamler says its active weekly user percentage is around 15% and that’s also something it will need to ramp up if it’s to make itself attractive enough to get publishers to pay. The startup itself was founded in May 2013, on selection by Wayra U.K.
That’s its only funding to date too. Now, post-Wayra, Hamler says it’s looking to raise a half a million dollar seed round and is currently meeting with investors — with the hopes of being able to close the round in about four months.
In the future publishers will need to advertise their content — not just their brand, but also the content; the articles themselves
While you might think it’s a retrograde choice for a startup to build a digital business atop very-long-in-the-tooth media format (print), Hamler argues there’s life left in dead tree media — and, over the longer term, an opportunity to provide publishers with technology to help them promote and sell individual articles in a mostly digital future.
“We saw a lot of people reading newspapers on Tubes, on public transport… and we did some market research and found out that people still rather prefer print over digital when commuting to work,” he says, explaining the genesis of the idea for Peekster. “The over 35s are still big print consumers so we checked the market and 80% of all the publishing industry is still on print, and only 20% is on digital subscription.
“Also print brings in most of the revenue for publishers, and so we thought why not? Why not try and make print more interesting — why not include popular services from the Internet, like sharing stuff, like saving stuff.”
But the grand vision of Peekster goes beyond the current generation of print media — so ultimately isn’t tethered to print publications. The app’s makers envisage a future where big name publishers require new ways to flag up and distribute their content in an increasingly crowded marketplace of digital content.
“Print is declining but at the moment it’s still a pretty huge market,” says Hamler. “But in the future we believe that we will witness a big change in content distribution because all the content will be online and it will be hard to stand out and be found… We want to play a part in this. Our idea is that in the future publishers will need to advertise their content — not just their brand, but also the content; the articles themselves.”
Hamler points to billboard advertising campaigns that have been run by the Economist which present different angles of a story and encourage viewers to text certain keywords to get sent a copy of the publication as an example of the kind of advertising that large publishers are increasingly going to have to turn to, to drive interest in their content.
“I think print will go down that road — that content will be advertised on billboards and so on. It will be great for Peekster because you’ll be able to just scan the billboard and basically buy that one article with an in-app purchase,” he adds.
In the mean time, while it waits to enable a future where readers pay per article (at least from publications which can afford to advertise their wares on billboards), Peekster has several revenue strands in mind — including, hopefully in the near term, being able to persuade smaller publishers to pay for having their content included in its app.
It is also already taking revenue from other sources. Its basic app is freemium but certain advanced functions (such as exporting content to other services, and an offline mode feature) require an in-app purchase to unlock them. It’s also taking revenue from pushing promoted content within its app, collecting a fee per click on that.
Another possible revenue stream for the business is providing ‘Google analytics’ type services to print publishers – about the kind of articles people are looking at in paper newspapers and magazines.
Hamler says it may also look at licensing its technology (via an API) to publishers so they could add its ‘scan and tag’ function within their own apps — but he says those publishers it has talked to so far seem to prefer the concept of a standalone, independent service, which offers the chance of bringing in new readers, not just serving an existing readership.
Q: Why did you go to the newspaper market first as opposed to billboards?
A: We see Peekster and printed media as a great driver to introduce Peekster to the audience because we can also count on publishers’ support as a way to promote their content
Q: Do you see print publications supporting it? It seems to me going to consumers and changing behaviour is a lot harder than going to the publishers and saying use this as a white label solution…
A: We are getting offers from publishers to white label.
Q: One aspect [of your pitch] is it’s in places where people don’t use their device, but you’re also expecting people to use their device so there’s a little bit of disconnect there –- so where are people doing the sharing? And also it seems like you really need the long tail of content? So how do you coach the user to use it?
A: Peekster is meant for print readers. So they consume content from print. Peekster is here just only for that second that the reader wants to share something to social media.
If we don’t find the right article for you we always suggest three similar stories so you can pick other articles from other publishers.
Q: Do you support reading in the app, like Pocket?
A: We link you directly to the website, but we offer in the future the option to remove all the clutter around the website, and then save to Evernote or Pocket or things like that.
Q: Do you see people coming back? Is there a way to bring users in more often than just grabbing a headline to share it?
A: Peekster is also widely used for content discovery – like you saw in the demo we provide this popular list, so you don’t need your print newspaper to discover new content.
Q: You’re doing OCR, so why couldn’t you just do a Google search to find the article that way?
A: We built a custom search that includes only publishers.
Q: What type of user data do you have to show that customers are sticking with it? To me it seems like you’re solving a problem that may not be a problem…
A: People are reading print because they like print. We have from 25% of our users are weekly active users.
Q: How often are they sharing content?
A: They are sharing on a weekly basis. The engagement rate is around 15%
See original here: Peekster, A Shazam For Print Media, Launches In The U.S. At Disrupt NY
Apple has today opened up the OS X Beta Seed Program, which allows you to test pre-release versions of the Mac operating system.
Until now you needed a $99 per year developer account to access beta versions of OS X. As noted by TechCrunch, you can now do so for free. However, you’ll still need to accept a confidentiality agreement, so you should think twice before leaking any new features to the world.
Originally posted here: Now you can test beta versions of Apple’s OS X for free, without a developer account
Say, for example, you wanted a dog skull but did not want to remove said bone mass from a living dog. What to do? If you’re the team behind Quinn, the 3D-printable posable doll, you’d make and sell a set of models that you can print out on your Makerbot or similar device.
The Kickstarter project is quite interesting. Essentially you are buying a set of files – skulls from dogs, dragons, goats, humans, and Alyssa Milano (not really) – and you can print them out without supports, which is a pretty big deal.
For $35 you get all three kits emailed to you when they’re complete. The creators, 3DKitBash will email them to you.
Founded by artists Natalie Mathis and Quincy Robinson, 3DKB aims to make fun stuff you can download and print. They are selling something very unusual – 3D object files – and I hope their model takes off. Considering they already blew past their $500 funding request to about $3,000 it’s clear they’re onto something.
Follow this link: New Kit Lets You Print Your Own 3D Skulls
It seems like we can’t go a week these days without hearing about some new startup making a new 3D printer that wants to be better and cheaper than everything else. I’m not complaining, of course — competition is good for everyone. But it’s a tough space if you’re looking to stand out.
MadeSolid, a YC-backed company out of Emeryville, CA, is going after the 3D printing market from the other end: they want to fix the materials we 3D print with.
You see, 3D printing isn’t perfect. Amongst other things, the smallest snag in the process of printing an object can (and regularly does) wreck the entire thing — often after many hours of printing. Imagine if you were printing a book on an inkjet printer and the entire thing somehow ruined itself any time there was a paper jam or if a bit of ink ended up in the wrong place. When 3D printers fail, they tend to fail hard.
MadeSolid actually started out with the intention of being a 3D printing service, but quickly realized that the fail rates of 3D printers was just too high for them to do it at scale. With backgrounds in chemistry, nuclear engineering, and business (quite the combination), the company’s three co-founders set out to tackle what they saw as an overlooked weakness: the materials used to 3D print.
For those who are just keeping an eye on 3D printing from afar, a quick primer: there are actually quite a few different types of 3D printers. The two types that have become cheap/accessible enough to find their way into the homes of hobbyists are Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SLA).
Those names may sound a bit intimidating, but this is all you really need to know: FDM printers (like MakerBots) heat up plastic until it melts, then lays that ooey, gooey plastic down layer by layer to form an object. Meanwhile, SLA printers (like the Form 1) aim superfocused lasers into a vat of specialized goop (called a “photopolymer resin”) that hardens almost instantly when the laser makes contact.
Each style of printer has its strengths and weaknesses. Stereolithographic printers tend to be a bit finicky right now, but can make crazy detailed prints. FDM printers have a friendlier learning curve, but the print resolution of a stream of melted plastic just can’t match that of a finely-tuned laser.
So which tech would a company like MadeSolid bet on? Both! While company co-founder Lance Pickens tells me that he sees SLA printers winning out in the long run, the company is hedging their bets and making materials for both types of printer.
When it comes to plastic extrusion printers like the Makerbot, most folks turn to one of two materials: ABS or PLA.
Neither of these materials is perfect. Printing with ABS makes the entire room smell like straight up cancer; it’s the type of thing that you smell and just know it’s probably not great for you. PLA, meanwhile, smells like waffles (seriously) — but objects printed with it tend to be fairly brittle.
Looking to make a material that offers up the strengths of both, MadeSolid has come up with what they call PET+ — a modified version of the PET material that’s commonly used in manufacturing.
MadeSolid has composited PET+ for a very specific set of properties:
I’ve been tinkering with a spool of PET+ for a few days now, and I’m quite pleased with it so far. Like any material, it has its quirks (it’s very similar to PLA, in the quirks it does have), but I’m really enjoying working with it.
Unlike ABS or PLA, it smells like… nothing. Really — even when I close my doors and let the printer run for a while, I don’t detect any fumes. That’s not to say you should stand over your printer and huff at it all day (detectable fumes or not, the jury is still out on how safe 3D printer emissions are), but it won’t drive you out of the room.
In two dozen or so prints, I’ve yet to have a single one fail for any reason that I could blame on the material (as opposed to a software or printer glitch.) I’ve seen next to no shrinkage/warping, and not one print has detached from my build plate (heated to 60c)
As mentioned, MadeSolid is making materials for SLA printers, too. As with PET+, they’ve custom tailored their resin to fix what they didn’t like about the stuff already on the market:
You can find out more about MadeSolid here. These guys have only been around for a few months — I’m excited to see what they’ll do in a year.
Oh, and be sure to check out the video up top which MadeSolid put together to show how their stuff fares against the rest (if only for that sweet, sweet blowtorch action at the end).
Read the original here: MadeSolid Is Creating Next-Gen 3D Printing Materials
There are apps to preserve family memories, apps that enable you to read your kids a book when you’re not around, and apps for just about everything. And now there’s one for digitally storing and sharing handprints and footprints of your lovely offspring.
Handpressions for iPad lets you create individual profiles for everyone in the family, tracking the growth of their hands and feet as they progress from babies through to, well, whenever they start complaining about your obsessive growth-tracking. Unfortunately, it remains a US-only service for now though.
Once you’ve created an account, you’ll see three sections on the main screen – profiles, capture and create.
The first port of call should be to start creating profiles for everyone you wish to track.
Now, you can start capturing hands and feet for posterity, following the guidelines laid out by Handpressions.
Though this is designed to take photos of physical hands and feet, there’s nothing stopping you from capturing existing paint-based prints you’ve already made. Let’s be honest, if you’re a parent, you probably have something like this on your wall already, right?
You can crop, rotate, erase and brush-up to make it print-worthy…
…and even start messing around with blurring and lines.
To ensure the correct size is captured, you’ll need to measure the original hand/foot to ensure this is stored and displayed with the correct dimensions. The last thing you want is to give your 1-month-old a pair of Sideshow Bob-esque clodhoppers.
From your stored or freshly-captured images, you can then go into the e-shop to request prints of your handiwork – which could be a good gift idea.
There are north of 400 designer templates available at launch, each of which can be customized and delivered directly to anyone’s door.
Though this is being pitched as a hand/foot-specific app, it really could be used for capturing anything, including animal paw-prints and even faces. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t.
Handpressions is the brainchild of Carla Valdes, a former General Partner at Fortify Ventures where she managed its accelerator program and events. And you can download it now for free from the App Store – but it’s iPad-only, and restricted to the US.
Meanwhile, check out the official promo skit below.
Go here to see the original: Handpressions: Capture, store and print your kids’ hand and footprints directly from your iPad