Advancements in technology seem to be improving by leaps and bounds. While laptops were once thought of as a luxury item with an expensive price tag, nowadays it has become the norm for even children to have touch screen tablets. However, although technology seems to be advancing, we still aren’t quite at the stage of The Jetsons where each household has its own cleaning robot maid.
While we may not be living on other planets or have personal spaceship vehicles for intergalactic travel, we are getting one step closer to the future with 3D printing. While The Jetsons had a machine that allowed for things to materialize with just a simple push of a button, MakerBot is a company that has created a printer that can scan objects and duplicate them.
The ability to create 3D models isn’t exactly a brand new one, but the technology was previously only available for high level manufacturing and required the use of a machine the size of a refrigerator or larger. However, MakerBot offers 3D printing for everyday users in a design small enough to be used right on your desktop.
MakerBot is on its 4th generation of product lines, with a new digitizer scanner to be used in collaboration with one of its Replicator products. The latest, Replicator 2, has a build volume of 410 cubic inches, 100-micron layer resolution and a pop-out build platform for ease in use.
Unlike other 3D printers that build a model from a large block with a cutout form, the MakerBot Replicator 2 builds layer by layer. This difference in process helps to eliminate the need for sanding or post-production activity. The result is an ultra-smooth item with high quality dimension in a printer that stands up in accuracy to the true original design. The Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner works in collaboration with the Replicator 2 by scanning the object via a camera, and uses lasers to render a 3D design.
The original item to be scanned it must fit within the size constraints. The size must be within less than 8 inches in diameter and height and under 6.6 pounds. However, within those constraints are a world of possibilities. Think about all the items that contain intricate smaller parts, like an engine or any other type of machinery.
Consider the story Richard Van As, the creator of Robohand. When Richard had an accident and lost four on his right hand, he set out to make new fingers for himself. Richard used his MakerBot to create a prototype to make his own situation more manageable.
This prototype seemed to take on a life of its own when he came into contact with a mother trying to help her child. The child was suffering from Amniotic Band Sydrome, a condition caused inside the womb that affects a baby’s development. The amniotic bands in the womb can actually wrap around a limb to cut off circulation, which can cause the baby to be born without fingers, toes or even portions of the limbs. Richard was able to use his MakerBot to create a robotic hand for this child to allow him to grasp things for the very first time. The company has gone on to continue to help and create, and the process of creating artificial, mobile limbs has been made easier through the use of 3D printing via MakerBot.
This is just one example of how 3D printing can be used for entrepreneur purposes because it cuts out the middle man when it comes to building, creating and duplicating. This is a revolutionary product that can help bring new and innovative products to mass audiences and can help to make the world a better place, with one idea at a time.