The greatest show and tell on Earth - Maker Faire 2013 - graced NYC this past weekend and while there was a wildly varied assortment of DIY projects and sights to see, 3D printing took center stage once again with an entire cluster of tents dedicated to the miniature fabrication movement. Over the past few years, Maker Faire has slowly transformed into something of a 3D printer fest, but the evolution was even more apparent at this weekend’s show with new printers, fabrication materials, and mind-blowing designs. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite 3D printing finds from the show so take a peek into our photo gallery to see them all.
Ultimaker displayed its new Ultimaker 2 to the public for the first time this weekend. Although it looks very similar to Ultimaker’s first 3D printer, there are a couple of notable updates including a new aluminum body, a quieter drive motor, and a heated print bed. The latter upgrade allows the Ultimaker to create objects using ABS plastic. The warm platform also prevents printing errors that occur when parts of the plastic lift as they cool. The new Ultimaker 2 has an asking price of 1,895 euros ($2,563).
The Ultimaker 2 wasn’t the only innovative printer at the show. The B9 Creator is a fairly unique looking printer with an elevated building chamber. What’s more, it repurposes a DLP projector (the same screen beaming device you might see used in company meetings or classroom presentations) to fabricate prints.
Instead of extruding hot plastic into solid shapes, the B9 Printer uses a stereolithography (SLA) process of curing light sensitive, liquid resin into a 3D print. Normally SLA printers, such as the Formlabs Form 1 printer, use a high-precision laser to solidify the resin, the B9 Creator, however, was designed to use an off-the-shelf projector with a few optical adjustments. The end result is an affordable $2,990 high-resolution 3D printer that can create objects with 50 micron (0.05 millimeter) thin layers.
Another homebrewed printer at the show was a metal-based inkjet printer called the Vader printer created by father-and-son makers Scott and Zackery Vader. It looks badass. With a granite countertop and a machined aluminum printing bed, the Vader 3D printer was designed to take the heat from shots of molten metal in Liquid Metal Jet Printing. In other words, the printer literally shoots droplets of liquid, molten metal to fabricate a solid metal object.
Zack said the inspiration for the idea came from a 1997 University of Texas at Arlington research paper on Liquid Metal Jet Printing. Now the family project is six months into development and they hope to have a fully functioning printer by next month.
Deltaprintr is out to give makers some much needed height capability for their creations. Using a three-pronged base, you can extend the 3D printer’s build area by replacing the original rails with even longer ones. Yasick Nemenov of Deltaprintr says that this triangular design has been around for years, but the idea was to simplify the technology and make it affordable even for a college student. Nemenov and the rest of the team hope to have a Kickstarter by November with introductory printers starting at under $500, making it one of the most affordable, and not to mention, unique 3D printers around.
There’s a saying that imitation is the kindest form of flattery. If that’s the case then See Me CNC makes the Delta Maker’s more customizable, hot bed-equipped cousin. Whereas the Deltaprintr is about being a barebones 3D printer only meant to create cold prints with PLA plastic, the Rostock Max was made to print with all sorts of materials including ABS, nylon, and a curious new material called T-Glase. This new, transparent substance by Taulman is made with 20 percent of the same PET plastic you would find in bottled water. The material not only has the same transparency as a plastic bottle but also the same squishable rigidity.
If you think that’s amazing, 3D Printing Providence’s Matt Shultz highlighted even more 3D printing materials that are being developed in Europe and abroad. A German 3D printing materials inventor by the name of Kai Parthy has already created two revolutionary materials including Laywoo-D3, a composite wood and polymer filament. The other filament meanwhile is known as Laybrick, which is a material suitable for architectural builds. Shultz also showed me another carbon embedded material that’s actually electrically conductive – read printable electronics.
Not to be shown up by the international competition, Shapeways, the online 3D printing service for those without a 3D printer, was at the show in full force with its entire line of printing mediums. Everything from regular old plastic to metals to one of its latest creations a squishy, rubbery plastic material that you can squeeze. On top of interesting materials, there were also plenty of intricate designs to see with more than a few of them being mechanized including the hand-cranked fan you see above.
Towards the end of my 3D printing travels, I met up with a smaller 3D materials outfit, M3D that has created a thermochromic filament that reacts to your body heat in the same way a mood ring works. The effect of picking up a gray cup and watching it turn white from your body heat isn’t just a neat trick. The M3D crew says it’s also been useful to monitor how their 3D prints are cooling, so they can avoid any warping errors. Another filament that M3D developed is embedded with iron filings, which makes it magnetic, potentially allow you to create custom magnets.
Check out more 3D printing goodness on our Flickr Stream!