Thursday, December 17, 2009

Deep Thought on 3D Printers

Here at work we have an Objet Eden 250, which is basically the single most badass piece of equipment on Earth that can be owned for less than six figures. You just dump your 3D model into it and voila! several hours later you have a perfectly built plastic copy of your virtual model. Rapid prototyping never felt so good!

However (you knew the however was coming), the machine has this weird, government-like tendency to underestimate things. Typically when you start a print job, it tells you how many hours and how much modeling material it will use. Typically this turns out to be 20% shorter than the actual print time, and 5% less material than is used. I do not understand this at all.

That said, I am sitting here typing this while it builds intricate parts that no machinist could ever produce (and a 5-axis CNC would probably reject as impossible), without complaint. Of course, the parts were supposed to be done an hour ago...

...oh wait it just finished.

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