Saturday, September 29, 2012

3D Printing For The Average Joe

3D printing has the power to change the way that we look at manufacturing products for the masses. There are so many applications within this broad technology known as 3D printing, that I simply cannot list them all. But I do want to cover some of the general applications of this technology.
3D printing is here to change the way that the "average Joe" can manufacture parts. Virtually anyone has access to this technology if he or she is knowledgeable about where to go for the services. There are quite a few local facilities around the globe. If you live in a large city, there is probably a place to use this kind of manufacturing, just as there would also be places for machining methods. There are multiple international 3D printing facilities that can manufacture custom parts and have it sent to virtually wherever you need. For example, Kraftwurx, Shapeways, Ponoko, Redeye, or whoever have access to printers in different places in the world. If you live in a large country, you can probably gain access to one of these services. Places like the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Australia, and Russia have access to these companies.
Some people are even buying their own entry level printers to make things in their garages. Companies such as 3D Systems, Makerbot, and others are making it easy for people to gain access to the technology for a reasonable price. Some of these entry level 3D printers cost around $3,000. Others cost as low as $800. It depends on what you're looking for, really. Cubify is a reasonable printer to look into. If you want to get a higher end FDM printer that has great qualities for a reasonable price, you might want to look at the Mojo printer. I could continue to ramble on about some of the other entry level printers out there, but if you're interested - the information is all over the web. The point is: you can gain access to an entry level printer for a couple thousand dollars.
Being in the 3D printing industry, I've found that most people look to use an international 3D printing facility to make parts and orders. Most people using this service have a background in 3D modeling before creating parts. This means, they have the ability to produce 3D images on the computer. The "makers" creating their own parts typically are very talented on the computer with imaging software. If they have the talent to produce a scaled down 3D model of whatever they want to produce, they can likely manufacture it through 3D printing.
Due to the availability of this technology known as 3D printing, the "average Joes" across the world are starting to produce real parts. The garage engineers are creating some cool stuff! Some of the do it yourself "makers" out there already have extensive backgrounds in engineering, but simply want to continue making things as a hobby. Regardless, 3D printing is definitely gaining momentum, and people all over are using it to manufacture some cool stuff!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why People Love 3D Printing

3D printing has the power to change the world, and in fact - it has been doing so for the past 20 years. When it comes down to getting certain parts custom manufactured, 3D printing is usually there to pick up the slack.
Some people enjoy designing characters and various parts on the computer in their spare time, and don't have thousands to spend in seeing their creations come to life. These artists are using 3D printing to create full color prints of these characters for their personal use. If you've ever seen a talented 3D artist go to work on a part, product, or character, you'll know that it takes time. Of course every model is different, but these designs can truly be pieces of art. To bring a project that took over 20 hours of skilled labor into the physical world is impressive. 3D printing is here to bridge the gap for these artists that can't afford to send out an order overseas. Some full colored models can be made for under thirty dollars. Of course you can spend as much as you'd like on certain parts, but 3D printing is available for a pretty inexpensive rate at some places if you are an artist looking to create something.
Perhaps you don't really have a desire to produce parts "just to do it", but you want to actually make a functional part. Maybe you're interested in eventually mass producing a part, but you need to prototype. 3D printing is definitely there to pick up the slack in this instance as well. 3D printing has a large variety of materials to choose from when actually producing parts. Some are better than others for certain models and designs, but there is a material for practically everything. If you need a metal that can withstand the heat inside of a jet engine, you can use 3D printing. If you need a product that can be flexible or rubber like, this technology is for you. If you need a full color model, it is for you. If you need a part that offers chemical and heat resistance, this technology is for you. I'm not going to say that 3D printing is going to be there for absolutely everything, but at the same time I can't think of anything right now that couldn't be prototyped through this technology. 3D printing can be pretty expensive in some cases, and not all machines can produce large pieces, but aside from that - there aren't very many downsides to this technology.
Within the past few years, this technology has been blowing up at an exponential rate. There are 3D printers being placed by hobbyists to have in their own homes. There are quite a few international companies that offer this technology as a service. There are tons of local facilities across the world doing it as well. Within the next 10 years, this technology is going to be significantly changing the way that we look at manufacturing goods and parts.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Learn About Proper E-Waste Disposal

At the rapid rate that electronics are becoming obsolete, businesses and households are amassing a huge amount of unwanted or outmoded electronic products. The most common of which are mobile phones, PDAs, television sets, computers and other appliances. Disposing of these items is becoming a major concern for all. There are several eco-friendly solutions to this growing problem which allow owners of these products to make money out of their junk.
Improper disposal of outdated and broken electronics is both hazardous to the environment and to the health of the community. These items contain dangerous chemicals that are toxic and very harmful to the Earth and the public's health. Chemicals such as lead, mercury, arsenic are common in these gadgets.
As a responsible citizen, everyone should properly dispose of their unwanted gadgets. Each one should think green. Several states in America have enacted legislation toward the proper disposal of e-waste which encourages zero landfill and export of such materials to third world countries.
There are several manufacturers of electronics that have instituted a take back program. Here they will accept returns of unwanted gadgets that they had manufactured. These companies then recycle almost all components of these returned products.
In several cities there are a growing number of eco-friendly companies that offdr their services to take these outdated and non-functioning gadgets out of anyone's hands. These outfits advocate environmentally safe solutions in helping one get rid of unwanted electronic products. They even pay to get these items off the hands of anyone. This is responsibly making money from junk.
There are corporations that will professionally assess the usability of these items. The outcome of these assessments may either be refurbish or recycle. Most items that can be refurbished are computers, printer toner cartridges and PDAs. The rest, such as mobile phones, are headed for recycling. These companies usually offer to buy these unwanted gadgets from owners who want to use their services.
There are a growing number of outfits in some cities in the United States of America that offer responsible electronics disposal services. Austin is one of those cities. In this city there are a few companies that practice zero landfill disposal.
Agencies that are into electronics disposal in Austin strive to prolong the use of unwanted gadgets by refurbishing them and selling them back to consumers. Items that cannot be refurbished will have every component recycled. Others offer both itdm buyouts and revenue sharing.