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
It may seem like small potatoes, but Polish 3D printer manufacturer Zortrax has chalked a 5,000 unit order from Dell. This is the first I’ve heard of a mass order of home 3D-printing equipment and it means a real boon for the budding Olsztyn-based company.
“Dell kept in touch with us when we were still in the middle of our Kickstarter campaign. We weren’t in a position to make them a reasonable business offer at that time, since our production volume was very limited,” said Rafał Tomasiak, Zortrax CEO. “At that point in time the production was very tedious, every single printer was quality checked and tested by us. Business negotiations with Dell were stalled at some point and we focused on shipping the printers to our Kickstarter backers. Now the situation is much different, we are prepared for large quantity orders.”
Zortrax launched last May and is now shipping to happy Kickstarter backers. I’ve used the printer multiple times and was very impressed by the print quality and build. The company is poised to be a major player in the European market and, with this investment by Dell, potentially globally. The company said the the printers are headed toward Dell’s central and east Asia offices.
“Frankly speaking, we were surprised that any company, even a company like Dell, wants to place such an order! But after a while we realized how many printers we use in our own office… For a designer who prints a large number of prototypes it is much more useful to use 10 smaller printers on one desk, which operate simultaneously, rather than one with a larger build volume,” said Tomasiak.
Go here to see the original: Polish 3D Printer Zortrax Sells 5,000 Units To Dell
Today at CES 2014, MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis announced the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printing Platform including the new Mini, Z18, and prosumer Replicators. This “platform” consists of the MakerBot Replicator Mini, a smaller 3D printer with the build volume of the original MakerBot Cupcake, the large Z18, and a new Replicator printer.
The first in the family is a new, smaller Replicator called the Mini. Pettis called it the “consumer 3D printer” with one-touch 3D printing as well as printing via mobile devices. It includes Wi-Fi and a built-in camera so you can monitor the things you build on the device. It also requires no leveling to print in PLA filament. You can also share photos of your device taken from inside the Mini thanks to a built-in camera. The Mini has an easy-to-maintain extruder that snaps in and out of the device. It costs $1,379 and will ship in the spring.
“It’s kind of a big deal,” said Pettis.
The company also announced the MakerBot Replicator (actually the fifth generation of the device), a prosumer machine that prints in PLA filament. It has an 11% larger build volume (8x10x6 inches), faster build times, and has 100-micron layer resolution. A 3.5-inch screen on the device allows you to print right from it and preheat the printer or change the filament. You can connect to the machine via Wi-Fi, USB stick, Ethernet, or USB. It also allows you to access your own personal 3D object library and includes a small camera to monitor your print progress as well an instant build plate leveling system. It is available today for $2,899 and will ship in a few weeks.
They also showed the new MakerBot Z18, a huge replicator that can make objects at 12x12x18 inches – a truly gigantic build envelope. Pettis said that the company would use the device to make MakerBots. It has an enclosed build chamber and prints in PLA.
The company has also updated the desktop app for monitoring and controlling your printer as well as a mobile app that sends alerts when things happen on the printer and in the cloud.
After dedicating his presentation to all the MakerBot operators around the world, Pettis also announced a partnership with Softkinetic, a 3D sensor manufacturer to create the “futuristic 3D scanners of tomorrow.”
“Makerbot is an innovation company. We innovate so others can innovate,” he said. “We’re a manufacturing education in a box.”
Pettis announced that the company has sold more than 44,000 MakerBots and currently has 450 employees around the world. He expects to see a million MakerBots “in the distance.” There are also more than 218,000 digital designs uploaded to and 48 million downloads from the company’s 3D digital design sharing platform, Thingiverse.
Pettis also described the success of their two retail stores in Boston and Manhattan as well as the new store in Greenwich, CT. Each store has a 3D photo booth where customers can scan and print their own heads and purchase MakerBots and plastic filament. Finally Pettis announced MakerBot Entertainment, a set of toys and character models that users can buy and print at home. The products are part of the MakerBot’s burgeoning 3D model shopping experience.
In short, MakerBot updated their entire line and has proven itself, again, to be the Apple of the 3D printing industry. More as we get it.
Go here to read the rest: MakerBot Unveils The Replicator Mini, Z18, And A New Prosumer Replicator
Flipboard has confirmed that it raised an additional $50 million, which will close out the Series C round of financing that it brought on in September. In addition to the new funding, Flipboard is also announcing that it has also surpassed the 100-million-user milestone.
The additional funding, which was first reported by Fortune, will also be led Rizvi Traverse Management, the investment fund run by under-the-radar Suhail Rizvi. The funding closed last week, according to a company spokesperson, and brings the total amount raised to more than $160 million.
Valuation was pegged at $800 million, which was only slightly below the $1 billion that had previously been rumored. Existing investors, which include Goldman Sachs, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Index Ventures, and Insight Venture Partners, also participated.
Flipboard’s raise comes as the company continues to add new users. The company now has more than 100 million users, which is up from 85 million, at the time that it confirmed the first half of the Series C funding.
It has also been working to give users more tools to build magazine-like feeds of their favorite pieces of content. In March, it launched the 2.0 version of its product, which unveiled the magazine feature. Soon after, it enabled users to share those custom feeds with their friends.
All of that was meant to attract more brand advertisers, which the company hopes will treat its content more like magazines, in terms of how much they’re willing to pay to reach Flipboard readers. By placing their ads in a clean, well-lit, and attractive space, the hope is that Flipboard can command higher premiums than one would find in a typical mobile app.
It took that one step further in November, when it launched tools to enable brands to build their own catalogs. Those catalogs are meant to evoke a better shopping (or at least browsing experience) than one would find on most e-commerce sites.
The strategy appears to be working so far. While Flipboard has declined to give out revenue numbers in the past, in November CEO Mike McCue told TechCrunch:
At a high level, the economics for ad deals on Flipboard near print, as opposed to digital CPMs – which has always been a goal of ours,” he says. “This kind of brand advertising sells for about the same as what it sells for in print pages in Vanity Fair.
To continue getting more advertisers on board, and to keep moving its product forward, Flipboard expects to hire pretty aggressively over the next year. The company has about 100 employees today, according to CTO Eric Feng, and expects that to double to 200 by the end of next year. Hires will be focused on engineering and adding to its sales team.
Read the original post: Confirmed: Flipboard Raises Another $50 Million To Close Out Its Series C Round
One of the popular use cases for Dropbox, which just this month hit 200 million users, is photo storage. In addition to saving photos from your desktop to Dropbox by way of drag-and-drop, the company also added automatic photo uploads to its mobile application back in 2012. Today, a new service called Printhug lets you do something useful with your expanding Dropbox photo collection – by simply dropping photos into a select folder, Printhug will automatically print and ship photos to any address of your choosing.
Printhug is the first product to publicly launch out of Israeli startup Token Labs, which was founded this March by Nir Buschi, who previously spent three-and-a-half years as VP of Business Development at Wibiya (acquired by Conduit), and Shachar Tal, formerly the CTO at Equitick and Gamescale.
However, the service was not the first product the team had actually built. “We stumbled across the need of a simple photo printing solution while working on the other products,” explains Buschi.
Token Labs’ other photo products are still in private beta, he says, and are more social in nature. He declined to provide further details about these products, but says that it’s possible that Printhug could connect with one of the company’s other offerings in the future.
“The more we researched and spoke to people about it, we understood there were many barriers to printing photos. It’s a time-consuming task, uploading, downloading, driving, waiting in line – it’s a hassle,” says Buschi. “Many people do not have the time for that, and for that reason they just don’t print even though photo prints have a special and personal touch to them.”
So the team decided they wanted to come up with a way to offer a simpler solution. Like Dropbox itself, using Printhug isn’t much difficult than dragging and dropping items into a folder. To get started, you authorize the application, which creates a “Printhug” folder within your Dropbox “Apps” folder to which you add the photos you want to have printed. This allows Printhug to work on any platform where Dropbox works – web, mobile, tablets, or desktop.
Printhug watches that folder in real time and then automatically sends an email invoice after you finish shuffling around your photos. You receive the invoice, pay online, and then the photos ship out in the standard 4×6 format. The company is working with a handful of printing partners in Israel and the U.S., and is working to make connections in Europe, too. The photos are $0.39 each, and the shipping cost is a flat $3.00 worldwide for now, at least.
In addition, Printhug includes a few hacks for sending photos to new addresses, requesting more copies, or soon, specifying different sizes, too. In the case of the former, you can create a sub-folder in the Printhug folder, throw in a text file or doc with a different address or addresses from the one you set up in your Printhug account, and the service will automatically ship photos to those addresses instead. As for requesting more copies or different print sizes, you can again use a new folder, or edit a file name to include the request. For example, you could make a folder called “8 Copies” or rename a file “5x7_photoname.jpg” or “8copies_photoname.jpg” as a way of communicating your request.
Doing this makes using the Printhug service a bit more hands-on than maybe originally intended, but it is a straightforward enough method which would work fine for the occasional one-off request.
A number of companies have tried to go into the photo-print business, competing with giants like Shutterfly, launching as standalone web and mobile applications, or offering prints in conjunction with a variety of photo products like photo gifts and books. But Printhug’s support for working right within Dropbox could be a draw for those who aren’t interested in adopting an entirely new product, and just want to stick with something they already know.
The company is currently based just outside of Tel Aviv and is a bootstrapped team of just the two founders. You can try out Printhug for yourself here.
3D printing is all the rage and it’s hard to know just where to start. If you have a budding manufacturing magnate on your Christmas list we’ve got a few fun things for them to check out. One word of advice? Don’t buy cheap 3D printers. I’ve tested a few so far and a number of the “cheap” open source models and some of the models you find at Office Depot are unusable at best. It hurts me to say this but there is really a race to the bottom when it comes to 3D printing right now. Things may be expensive, but like any early-adopter you should save your pennies and pick the right model for the job.
First, I’d recommend the Makerbot Replicator 2X, an “experimental” Makerbot that can print using corn-starch-based PLA and plastic ABS. Being able to print in both materials is vitally important if you want to make high quality items and each material has its different qualities. For example, you can print translucent objects with PLA but not ABS and ABS objects are far more resilient than PLA objects.
At $2,799 it’s not a cheap toy, but if you’ve been planning to jump into 3D printing there’s no time like the present. I actually make a little money using MakeXYZ, a market for 3D printed objects. By printing things for other people you can actually pay for the ‘bot and the printing material in a few months.
Want to spend a little less? Take a look at the Afinia H series, a $1,599 printer with a smaller build plate than the Makerbot but, in some ways, superior resolution. I tested the rugged little Afinia and came away impressed. You can order the printers here.
Don’t want to spend too much? 3D Systems has released the Sense scanner, a $399 model that requires you to move the scanner around an object in 3D space. They’re beginning to ship now and we’ll have a full review shortly, but that’s the gist of it.
Finally, you could probably use some filament. While Makerbot sells their own excellent filament, I’ve had good luck with Monoprice. You may have to mess around with the spool holder for your printer – Monoprice’s spools don’t fit the stock Makerbot spool holder – but you will save about $25 off of Makerbot’s prices.
Be sure to leave plenty of room under the tree for your printers – these things aren’t tiny – and enjoy entering the amazing 21st century.
Originally posted here: Gift Guide: Gadgets For Budding 3D Printing Fans