As I’ve noted previously one of the current limitations of 3D printing is the limited materials that can be used to print with, mostly plastic, paper, wax and others up to now. The ability to create molds which can then be used to create castings of metals and other materials expands the range considerably but the ideal of course is to be able to create objects of any material. And in keeping with what seems to be the norm where the rate of change is exponential, we are now much closer to this ideal now that 3D printing can be done in stainless steel. The big news and change is not just that 3D printing can be done in stainless steel but that YOU can do it! The article below will give you more details.
I’d also recommend reading this article for the note about how Shapeways has done such an admiral job of being very up front and clear about their service. Read for example the Shapeways stainless steel page titled “expectation management.” I want to join Aaron in pointing this out as a great example that all companies and organizations would do well to emulate. As Aaron put it:
“I would like to take a moment and applaud Shapeways for having both guts and common sense. Listen up Internet, if you want to sell us something cool, put the limitations right up front.”
I can’t help but like a company with the tag line: “Passionate about creating”
Shapeways also has some excellent tutorials on their site (one included below) which are very instructive and well worth watching if you are as fascinated by this rapid evolution of 3D printing and DIY manufacturing.
Overall I see these developments as some of the most compelling evidence of The Snowflake Effect and how we are headed for a future where we can increasingly realize the promise within us all as unique snowflakes by increasingly being the designers and creators of our the manufactured part of the world we live in.
August 6th, 2009 by Aaron Saenz
As if 3D printing wasn’t cool enough, you can now “print” objects in stainless steel. That’s right, dust off your old Transformers designs, make room in the Monopoly box for a new piece, and get ready for the model budget at your office to sky-rocket. Shapeways, an European 3D printing website that has traditionally worked in plastics and resins, has upped its game by giving you the option to take your airy artistic concepts and fashion them into cold hard steel. Except for some reasonable constraints on size and detail there are no limits to what you can create. Even if you’re not a model enthusiast, stainless steel printing holds the promise of machines that can replicate themselves and build anything.