3D Printing Parallels

Makerbot Industries – Replicator 2 – 3D-printer 11 | Flickr – Photo Sharing! Creative Tools Attribution 2.0 Generic | CC BY 2.0 The 3D printer is presently a hobbyist’s tool, one fostering a society of makers who have found a useful medium with which to let their imaginations run loose. 3DP business have sprung out with specialties in art, décor, fashion, and novelty. Beyond that, however, 3DP has yet to achieve an appreciable breakthrough—a killer app to transform the printer from an interesting gadget to an essential household appliance. Given this fact, one ponders the 3D printer’s trajectory. Where will that trajectory lead? When will it get there? For that answer, one should look at the early years of the home computer. The home computer, after all, spent its first decade largely in the hands of the hobbyist because of its complexity and cost. Aside from the wealthy, only the electronics enthusiast had the willingness to spend and learn how to use the early home computer. Micro-Instrumentation Telemetry Systems’ (MITS) Altair 8800 retailed for $650 in 1975 (equal to about $2,800 in 2014), Processor Technology’s Sol Terminal Computer retailed for $2,100 in 1976 ($8,700 today), and the Apple 2 retailed for $1,300 in 1977 ($5,000). The need for a buyer to supply his own keyboard and monitor added to the cost, while the need to understand a programming language (usually Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, or BASIC) further hindered the personal computer’s accessibility to the general public. Despite its limitations, the early PC fostered commercial, cultural, and technical innovation. Local clubs were set up in which members showcased discoveries, exchanged solutions, and conjured up new ideas. Northern California’s Homebrew Computer Club is the best remembered of these early outfits, having been a staging ground for the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Sid Meier and Will Wright, pioneering designers of PC games, both started their careers by programming computer software at home. Then there is the hacker, whose culture found formed seeking novel (though not always ethical) uses for the PC. The hacker community has become the most enduring of these early enthusiasts, finding new opportunity in every step of the computer’s evolution. The hacker’s place and purpose were best articulated by Loyd Blankenship, author of the so-called The Hacker Manifesto. The essay, published in 1986, explained the rationale behind and justification for hacking. Despite Blankenship’s ethos, the hacker’s knowledge has often been put to criminal use, attacking governments, businesses, and consumers. Such is the struggle that knowledge and technology bring. There is an underlying philosophy underpinning the hobbyist/consumer dynamic.  The hobbyist greets heightened challenge and complex processes as part of an enjoyable experience, while the consumer wants to avoid them. The consumer sees complexity as a burden to completing a task, whether it’s checking out news on the Web or printing a report for school.  The consumer simply wants his device ready out-of-the-box and with the fewest steps possible to operate. So we get to 3D printing. The consumer 3D printer is in its youth, experiencing the same two factors that steered the early PC towards the hobbyist: complexity and cost. The early PC required one’s knowledge in programming, while the 3D printer often requires a user’s knowledge in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) in order to generate and print objects. The average cost of a 3DP is, like those early PCs, relatively high, hovering around $1,500. (It should be pointed out that this is still minor compared to the adjusted cost of early PCs.) Many 3DPs, like old PCs, are sold as kits—something hobbyists love and typical consumers...

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3D Printing: Bigger, Faster & Better

3D Food Printer | Flickr – Photo Sharing! Playing Futures: Applied Nomadology Attribution 2.0 Generic / CC BY 2.0   Speed remains a hurdle in 3D printing. Producing a small object can require hours of waiting, a process that tests the patience of any user. While inroads are being made, speed remains the key inconvenience for 3DP. The federal government wants to change that. The US Department of Energy announced that it will invest in research-and-development to improve both the speed and scale of additive manufacturing. Asst. Secy. David Danielson made the announcement at the department’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., a move that signifies the Obama White House’s continued interest in 3DP as the key avenue for US industry. Danielson stated: “Developing innovative manufacturing technologies in America will help ensure that the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow are created here in the United States, putting people to work and building a clean energy economy.” As part of that development, the US Energy Department has forged a partnership with Cincinnati, Inc., a longtime manufacturer of machines and tools. Among its current list of products, Cincinnati produces advanced laser-cutting hardware and metal fabrication. Such expertise factored into the government’s decision to partner with the company. That expertise will be needed as the US Energy Department has set an ambitious goal for the partnership to achieve. The department wants to see the maximum size of printed objects increase tenfold—no small task. Even more challenging is the department’s goal for speed: The partnership is intended to improve 3DP speeds by two hundred times–minimum. And it’s not like 3D printers don’t need the boost: A typical, name-brand example prints at a rate of a tenth of a cubic inch per minute. Using that basis, an object that’s roughly 6 in.3 in size requires an hour of printing. What does this all mean for consumers? It means the world’s largest financier – the US government – will be pouring in a fortune to accelerate the capabilities of 3D printers. That increases the likelihood of a technological break, one that manufacturers of home 3D printers will use to advance their own products. Put simply: Bigger. Faster....

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Why Buy LINKYO Remanufactured Epson Ink Cartridges?

If you’re on the market to buy a remanufactured Epson ink cartridge, you should know that there are two types of such cartridges on the market, one based on a new chip and the other based on a reset chip. What’s the difference? I’ll explain. A cartridge’s chip serves two purposes: To tell the printer the cartridge’s model and color To tell the printer the cartridge’s model and color A compatible cartridge’s chip uses a “page counter” to calculate the amount of ink is inside the cartridge; this method is inaccurate because it estimates the amount of ink based on the number of pages it has printed on. Each page, regardless of how much ink is actually used, is based on a pre-programmed estimate. Let’s illustrate this problem using Epson’s compatible 127 ink cartridges and the image above. The Epson compatible 127 cartridge has a calculated yield of 755 pgs. A printer will be equipped with colors black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. Magenta would be the primary color to print the image above. If you were to print out 377 pages of that image (half the 127 cartridge’s total yield), you’d have a printer reading the compatible magenta cartridge as being half-empty. The problem here is that the chips in the three other colors–black, cyan, and yellow–would also run as half-empty. Any color print, no matter what color is really being used, triggers the page counter in all the color cartridges. In the worst-case scenario, you could end up having an ink cartridge read as “empty” when it could actually be almost full. Let’s say you own one of these models of Epson WorkForce printers: WF-3520 WF-3530 WF-3540 WF-7010 WF-7510 WF-7520 All these printers can use a single model of ink cartridge, the Epson 127. The cartridges are available in four standard colors: black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. Cyan, magenta, and yellow have official yields of 755 pages. (Black has a higher yield than the rest.) Print 377 pages and, in theory, your cartridge is half-empty. Simple? Yes. Accurate? No. Let’s use an example with the above image showing of the two apples falling into water. Magenta is the primary color being used for this image. Print 377 pages of this image and your magenta ink cartridge will read as halfway-empty. You’re barely using the three other colors. Here’s where the problem of compatible ink cartridges creeps in. Even though magenta is the color being most affected, cyan and yellow would also read as being half-empty. (Black would read as being less empty because of its higher yield.) The “page counter” in each ink cartridge calculates based on a page used, no matter how much ink was really used in the process. In the worst-case scenario, you’d have an ink cartridge reading as empty when it could actually be almost full. You could have the reverse happen, as well: A cartridge could read as almost full when it’s really almost empty. This happens because a print could use up more color than is considered standard. Each of LINKYO’s remanufactured ink cartridges uses a reset chip from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). This reset chip guides the cartridge’s sensor to make an accurate reading on how much ink is available. Using this system, printing the above butterfly image would only affect the readings of the cyan and black ink cartridges because those are the two being used. Had it been using the prior “compatible” model, all color readings–including magenta and yellow–would be lower, even though some colors weren’t even used. LINKYO remanufactured process involves cleaning and repairing the OEM ink...

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3DP Turns the Automobile into DIY

A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) automobile is the fantasy of millions, yet one heretofore unachieved. That might be about to change as big-ticket and startup car companies increasingly turn to additive manufacturing. Could 3D printing be the catalyst that DIY carmakers have been waiting for? History’s littered with failed DIY cars, some by charlatans and others by wannabe-visionaries. They’ve come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and styles, targeting every demographic of every segment of society. (Just lookup up the 1910s’ “Lad’s Car,” a DIY automobile that targeted early adolescents.) There is one thing all these efforts share: Utter and complete failure. This “Second Industrial Revolution,” as enthusiasts have proclaimed it, has reinvigorated the imaginations of carmakers, established and aspiring alike. Big-dollar manufacturers have taken an inviting attitude, with Porsche and Honda both offering Computer-Aided Design (CAD) blueprints of their vehicles for 3D-printing. Ford engineers are using MakerBot 3D printers to create vehicle parts for pre-production testing. Aston-Martin printed scale-models of its vehicles for use in Skyfall. But it’s on the other end of the spectrum that one sees more creative forays being made in the field.   Rally Fighter Body (LocalMotors) / CC BY 3.0   Arizona’s fledgling Local Motors, founded in 2007, announced that it would 3D-print an electric variant of its “Rally Fighter,” making it available by fall of this year. The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) contracted Local Motors to develop the vehicle, which it hopes will showcase the maturing potential of additive production.   By 3dilla (Urbee 3D printed car | 3d Print Show | 3dilla.com) [CC-BY-2.0], via Flickr – Photo Sharing!   Canada’s Jim Kor is leading another 3DP auto effort. Kor, an engineer, has been on a crusade to 3D-print an ultra-light, ultra-compact vehicle called the “Urbee.” This ovular, three-wheeled car has its interior and exterior composed of 3DP material. Powered by bio-fuel, Kor aims to have the Urbee run across the United States on just 10 gal. of fuel.   By Sicnag (1961 Aston Martin DB4Uploaded by OSX) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons   In a true DIY-fashion, Ivan Sentch of New Zealand garnered international press when he started work on a 3D-printed replica of an Aston-Martin DB4, a vintage touring coupe. Sentch is using a Nissan as the basis for the replica, but he is printing interior components and exterior body-work for assembly in his humble little garage.   By Racingjeff (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons   The next stage in automotive development is approaching. MakeForge’s Mark 1 appears to be the first 3D printer to produce carbon-fiber. The relatively small, industrial-grade machine specializes in lightweight, high-strength composites as seen on exotic and premium automobiles, such as the $239,000 McLaren MP4-12C and $136,000 BMW i8. Composites appear to be an inevitable direction in automotive design: Rising fuel-efficiency standards have pushed automakers to build leaner and less consumptive vehicles. Carbon fiber, a material made of melded threads, is becoming common on automotive body-panels. High cost and labor-intensive production are the material’s setbacks, but the notion of an additive, low-labor alternative may be a breakthrough… Composites appear to be an inevitable direction in automotive design: Rising fuel-efficiency standards have pushed automakers to build leaner and less consumptive vehicles. Carbon fiber, a material made of melded threads, is becoming common on automotive body-panels. High cost and labor-intensive production are the material’s setbacks, but the notion of an additive, low-labor alternative may be a breakthrough… … or, at least, the start of...

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How to Fix Canon Printer Ink Error

Why am I getting Canon printer ink error – ink is emptry or low – after installing remanufactured Canon ink cartridges? It’s common for remanufactured Canon ink cartridges to read as empty or low. This is because the ink monitoring chip in the cartridge (especially the ones with built-in print heads) is intended for one-time use only. DON’T PANIC! Your remanufactured Canon ink cartridges are indeed full and ready to print. Simply ignore the message, click OK (or CONTINUE), and continue to print. Some printers, particularly Canon inkjet models, won’t print if the cartridge reads as empty. You’ll likely receive an error message, such as the following: Canon printer ink error message indicating that your ink is low or empty. Canon printer ink error message indicating that your ink has run out and for your to replace the cartridge You can bypass these error messages by holding down your printer’s RESUME, STOP/RESET, or COLOR START button for 5 to 15 sec. The ink monitor will shut off, the printer will stop blinking, and the printer itself will resume printing. Lastly, here are some more troubleshooting tips to help improve remanufactured Canon ink cartridge’s performance. Always perform printer cleaning cycle, deep cleaning, and alignment test after you install new ink cartridges in your printer. Print a few test pages to ensure proper ink flow and correct alignment. If the printer does not recognize the cartridge, remove the cartridge and gently wipe the electrical contacts of the cartridge using a clean paper towel or a lint-free cloth. This is to remove the dust and residue that may have been blocking the electrical contacts from the printer. If the printer still does not recognize the cartridge, try taking out the unrecognized cartridge, turn off the power on the printer and unplug the printer for about 30 to 60 seconds. Plug and power the printer back on and reinstall the cartridge and print. For cartridges with print heads, sometimes the cartridge has been kept flat or upside down for weeks or months, therefore inks are not reaching to the print head which prevents the new ink cartridge from printing. To clean, gently place the cartridge with the print head facing down on a damp paper towel until ink flow is visible. Reinstall the ink cartridge and...

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3D Printing’s Micro-Scale Frontier

The word “scale” plays a big part in the ongoing speculation about 3D printing, but it tends to apply to matters of production and enormity. One team of German researchers is casting light on a new aspect of the form, one not visible to the naked eye. The Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), in partnership with the Nanoscribe Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH), is developing structures built around nano-scale, honeycomb-like layers. The theory is that the strategic layout of these structures will produce more strength with less material, thereby increasing efficiency. Engineers use photoresist, a material used in computers and engraving, as the primary material for the structures; they then coat the structure in alumina, a synthetic aluminum-based compound. Simply put: The photoresist is the frame and the alumina the armor. The combination makes for an overall product of “optimal” strength. That, however, is only part of the picture. KIT and Nanoscale have placed just as much emphasis on the lightness of the process and materials as they have of strength. This is overall in step with the direction of engineering in general, as seen in the latest generations of buildings, aircraft, and automobiles. Take a second to think about it—lighter, less consumptive structures would place less stress on the space they inhabit; likewise, lighter objects permit greater portability. Like the components that make up the process, this nano-sized form of 3D printing can offer breakthroughs on scales big and small. So, you might be thinking, how does this apply to me as a consumer? Nano-scale printing is a process on the horizon, and one that uses less material to create stronger objects. Use less, save more. Even better: You’re using less and saving more while creating a stronger object intended to last...

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