3D printers can make “Real” products
As of today, people will pay for 3D printed parts and as we develop new techniques for combining it with digital manufacturing technologies, such as laser cutting and water jet machining, our products will become more complex. We believe that our only limitation is our imagination.
I Heart Robotics, who are also in Brooklyn, give a great breakdown of all the costs that go into making a TriK Tripod Adapter (for a Kinect), which sells on their store for $19.95.
They say the only complaint they’ve gotten so far was when they couldn’t make the adapter in the color a customer wanted. That’s a pretty easy fix.
It’s also cool to see these guys using their Thing-O-Matic to produce a part where they’re not quite sure of the market. You don’t have to do too much market research if you can make the product on demand, and if you only sell 20 of them, you probably don’t want to sink a bunch of money into injection molding costs. They’ve sold 56 adapters since buying their Thing-O-Matic in September, 2011, which nearly pays for the machine itself. As they note in the blog post, with 107 units sold overall, they certainly could never have profited from another method of manufacturing.
okay, we were speaking about this a while ago… [↩]
The work that has come out of the Met MakerBot Hackathon has been really ground breaking, especially since it has inspired people who weren’t even with us a couple of weekends ago.
Matthew Plummer-Fernandez is one of those artists. I posted about him during the Hackathon and it generated a lot of interest about his ideas of “remixing” and “sampling” physical objects.
The video above, “We Met Heads On”, is a new addition from Matthew, drawing on what has so far been captured with 123D Catch and uploaded to Thingiverse. Here’s the description of the video from the Vimeo page.
This video titled ‘We Met Heads On’ is my remix of the 3D scan hackathon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY organised by Makerbot. The public were invited to scan artifacts to then modify and 3d print derivatives. The files ended up on Thingiverse, giving me access to the scans, in particular ‘decimation study – met heads’ by scotta3d which is a derivative from another thingiverse user tbuser. To continue the lineage of derivatives, I have placed the low-polygon heads from scotta3d into a Processing sketch that distorts the meshes in realtime in response to sound and outputs the modified stl objects. The soundwave is analysed from the streaming audio and used to force the mesh to twist to the strength of the soundwave. Performed and recorded in real-time.
We are going crazy about this video right now. Imagine what could be done with some of these ancient figures, animating them (re-animating them?) to appropriate music. Renaissance sculpture to ancient Greek music, Oceanic sculpture to Oceanic music.
The Thingiverse dev team has been busy lately, and today just launched its newest feature: categories!
To browse categories, click on the new “Browse” button in the top navigation, and choose a category.
You’ll see all kinds of awesome things from Thingiverse, sorted into categories for easier searching. Our team of highly advanced AIs has categorized over a thousand things to start off, and in the next few weeks will be categorizing everything on Thingiverse.
If you would like to categorize your things, click on the edit button on your thing. On the edit page you will notice a new dropdown where you can choose or change the category of your thing. Choose a category and save. That’s it!
Get a load of this title: “How 3D printing built a new face.”
Wired UK posted a slideshow and brief last week as a preview to an article in the upcoming July issue about the use of 3D printing for an inspiring face transplant, including bones! This is amazing, especially since the patient was able to speak afterwards.
<Warning> Some of the links below may present some graphic pictures of surgery, but they’re not too bad, and definitely worth the read.
And then I remembered Nicholas Giovinco, DPM, a MakerBot user who has made it his business to show others how a combination of 3D printing technologies can significantly increase the knowledge a surgeon takes into the operating room, and therefore significantly decrease the time a procedure takes.
Down in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Giovinco, a foot and ankle surgeon, recognized the huge potential of using a MakerBot to get a good look at a bone structure before operating on it. This is hugely important in one particular kind of surgery he performs, Charcot Foot reconstruction. I’m not a doctor, so I’ll give you my best understanding of this and refer you to Nick’s own incredible documentation: basically this is a foot that has collapsed, and the patient doesn’t necessarily feel it because of neuropathy caused by other conditions like diabetes.
Sufferers of the Charcot condition don’t give the surgeon a predictable operation. Their feet are all different, and just like in the case of the face transplant, it pays big time to know what that foot looks like before you have to cut it open. Here’s the procedure, and notice how remarkably inexpensive this is.
– Take a CT scan. Doctors are going to order one of these anyway, so there’s a bunch of good data just waiting to be used.
– Run the scan through OsiriX, a free application for viewing DICOM files (DICOM is a medical imaging file standard). This allows you to turn the layers from a CT scan into a 3D model.
– Once there’s a 3D model of the bone structure, it can be manipulated in a program like Lightwave or Maya. A surgeon can basically do the surgery on the screen.
– Make the model and practice the cuts with surgical saws.
Dr. Giovinco’s specific process involves using a MakerBot to get the model just right before making the “practice” foot on another kind of 3D printer at Freeside, a hackerspace in Atlanta. In fact, the participating members at Freeside were so instrumental in the whole experiment that their names were included at the top of the paper when it was published in The Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery.
The most impressive part of this may not be how incredibly inexpensive the planning process was — it cost Dr. Giovinco and his team about $40, not the $1500 that some services charge for bone models — but how much time and money the ability to plan may have saved the patient and medical team. Having an anatomically correct model of the pre-operative foot and the post-operative foot means knowing exactly how this surgery will proceed without having to tinker around at all. Also, and this is huge, it let the team pre-assemble the Ilizarov construct (a cage thing that holds everything in place afterwards) beforehand, which takes at least an hour of surgery time on its own.
Two take-home points here. This is an inspiring example of how 3D printing more generally may play a huge role in bringing down the costs and risks of medical procedures. But closer to home, this is another in a long string of examples of people in the MakerBot community helping each other to make great things happen. Check out this exchange of Google Group messages that kicked things off:
And the rest is history. Now Nick is traveling the country discussing this work — all part of being a surgical resident, he tells us — and explaining to his colleagues how efficient a work flow like this can be. When you’re working with diabetic patients, it’s all the more important that surgery time be reduced as much as possible.
Our hats are off to Nick and the whole team involved in this work. It’s an excellent example of the DIY spirit improving — and maybe even saving — lives.
Look at your hands.
Hands are complex tools that grant humans a superpower, the power to transform imagination into reality. The power of our hands is unlimited. We can use them to throw a ball, climb a tree, or build a tool.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have two hands.
Robohand is an…