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Printers - Consumables

Mattel Brings ThingMaker Back as 3D Printer

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Mattel Brings ThingMaker Back as 3D Printer

Mattel is the next company to take on 3D printing as it presents the ThingMaker at the New York Toy Fair-- a bright orange low-cost 3D printer complete with iOS/Android app co-developed with AutoDesk.

The ThingMaker is technically a resurrection of an 1960s Mattel toy named, well, the ThingMaker. The old "at-home maker device" allowed kids to create small objects by pouring liquid plastic into molds before heating and cooling. The new ThingMaker also allows kids to make small objects, if through the power of 3D printing and a companion app.

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Toshiba Claims Faster 3D Metal Printer

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Toshiba Claims Faster 3D Metal Printer

Toshiba presents a prototype 3D metal printer promising fabrication speeds up to 10x faster than printers using powder bed fusion, the current most common metal sintering technology.

The printer uses laser metal deposition (LMD)-- a technology that deposits powdered metal and fires a laser beam in tandem. A high-speed nozzle based on Toshiba fluid simulation technology reduces the area where metal particles are injected, while the laser focuses very precisely on the tiny powder-covered area.

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Gartner: 2016 3D Printer Shipments to Reach 460000

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Gartner: 2016 3D Printer Shipments to Reach 460000

Gartner predicts rapid near future growth for the 3D printer market with 2016 shipments reaching 496475 units, a 105% increase over the 244533 units forecast to ship in 2015.

Such growth will continue over the next few years, as the analyst says shipments will "more than double" every year between 2016 and 2019 before global shipments grow to over 5.6 million.

"Rapid quality and performance innovations across all 3D printer technologies are driving both enterprise and consumer demand, with unit shipment growth rates for 3D printers increasing significantly," Gartner says. "The 3D printer market is continuing its transformation from a niche market to broad-based, global market of enterprises and consumers."

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What You Need to Know About 3D Printing

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What You Need to Know About 3D Printing

HP is in. Microsoft and Intel, too. Ingram Micro, Tech Data, ABC Data and other distributors have opened Business Units or appointed product managers. Best Buy, WalMart, Media Markt, Staples, Synaxon and even Cool Blue are selling it at retail. Not to mention companies like Verbatim selling "filament" to print in 3D like they did for the PC with diskettes and CDs.

3D printing is IT's Next Big Thing. There are 3D scanners that attach to an iPad... applications that link to HP Sprout,  Oculus Rift and Augmented Reality...service bureaus and even clouds where you find 3D printing-as-a service. And a number of e-commerce platforms that sell or give away content, fighting to be the iTunes of 3D printing.

While the song may be different, many in IT will recognize the tune and dance to the beat.

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MIT 3D Prints With Up to 10 Materials At Once

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MIT 3D Prints With Up to 10 Materials At Once

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) researchers present the MultiFab-- a 3D printer able to print objects using up to 10 materials, as well incorporate other, finished objects into the design.

"Multi-material" 3D printers already exist, if in the shape of industrial machines able to print able to use up to 3 materials at a time. The Multifab claims to be superior to such devices through the use of 3D scanning and machine vision technologies.

As CSAIL put it, the MultiFab constantly receives feedback from a 40-micron 3D scanner and a camera array while printing, allowing it to adjust and re-calibrate materials and the printing process on the fly. The scanning also allows the incorporation of finished objects, such as circuits and sensors, in the printed object.

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An End to Ink Cartridges With EcoTank?

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An End to Ink Cartridges With EcoTank?

Epson suggests an alternative to ink cartridges-- the EcoTank, a range of printers featuring permanent mechanical printheads and a built-in user-refillable tank holding enough ink for around 2 years of printing.

Currently vendors sell printers at a loss, instead making profits through cartridge sales. The EcoTank concept upturns such reasoning, since it involves higher upfront purchase prices and lower replacement ink costs. Refills come in the shape of bottles allowing users to literally squirt ink into the appropriate tanks.

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Context: W. Europe 2nd Biggest 3D Printer Market

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Context: W. Europe 2nd Biggest 3D Printer Market

According to Context W. Europe is the 2nd largest market for desktop 3D printers (priced under $5000), capturing 20% of of global Q1 2015 shipments growing by 114% Y-o-Y as more brands enter the 3D printing arena.

The top 5 global vendors according to the analyst are XYZPrinting (Da Vinci), 3D Systems (Cube/Cubify), M3D (Micro), Stratasys (MakerBot) and Ultimaker.

The market leaders see "good" Y-o-Y gains, even as Stratasys and the MakerBot brand struggle. Further boosting shipments during the quarters is the successful M3D Kickstarter campaign for The Micro, a 3D printer initially offered back in 2014 for $299.

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Ingram Micro Opens Euro 3D Printing Division

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Ingram Micro Opens Euro 3D Printing Division

Ingram Micro commits itself to the 3D printing market as it opens a European 3D printing and scanning division and plans to provide resellers with support and training via new European center of competence.

Leading the division is Rudolf Ehrmanntraut, senior manager of 3D printing and scanning for Europe.

"We have seen a frenzy of activity in the 3D printing and scanning space in Europe, with our resellers making it clear that they are looking to enter or expand in this fast-growing market," Ehrmanntraut says. "We are pleased we are able to provide resellers with the needed support to get them fully operational in offering 3D printing and scanning products and support services-- going much further than just providing hardware."

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A Colour Palette for 3D Printers

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A Colour Palette for 3D Printers

Customers appear to approve of low-cost 3D printers, but such devices can create objects in only one colour. Enter the Palette, an add-on accessory allowing single-extruder 3D printers to print in up to 4 colours.

The idea behind the Palette is fairly simple-- it combines 4 different 1.75mm filaments into a single filament output. It also calculates and cuts filaments according to the design, ensuring every colour appears exactly where it should.

Interestingly the device even handles different filament materials, allowing the use of non-plastic filaments such as conductive, carbon fibre infused, stainless steel infused and woodfill.

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