The new Steam engine

Here is a quote by Jim Pinto

Nobody could have predicted the impact of the printing press in 1450, the steam engine in 1750, or the transistor in 1950. It’s impossible to forecast the long-term impact of 3D printing. But the technology is coming, and it is likely to cause a significant disruption. This will be a major inflection point of progress.

We live in changing times, things are moving forward at ever faster rates, quantum computing may be just over the horizon.  3D Printing is here to stay.  The fact that a hobby/kit style 3D printer costs less than the early laser printers is certainly a trend indicator.  You can now buy a laser printer for under ZAR700 (less than US$100)  and it is much better than the early 300 dpi giants.  The same will happen to the 3D printer but because it can be done at home it will spread from there.

The one local importer of budget 3D printers mentionedon a forum that they had shipped around 150 of their budget printers, more by now for sure, and they retail for about ZAR11000 (US$1400)  or there about.  The DIY kits like the RepRap can already be had for half that from a number of suppliers and the price is falling.  Collecting all the parts yourself should bring it all in under US$500 and the Printrbot project has gained pledges (they received over 30 times the project amount) for around 800 kits world wide (some local too I hope) for about US$440 on the Kickstarter special with a projected retail price of US$499 estimated.

This is the cost of a medium laptop these days. and it can make copies of itself (well partly, but most of the tricky bits at any rate) so it can earn its keep.

For those looking to roll your own a neat place to get bits is old flat bed plotters (Roland DXY series) and some of the older 9-pin impact printers.  These are sometimes still found lying around in office and factory corners, in company storerooms taking up space and sometimes advertised on Junk Mail or Gum Tree.

The circuitry to run the printers is being simplified all the time and most of it can even be made at home if desired.

Keep plotting

 

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