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It’s a toy that makes toys


This is not my work. This is the tragic result of typing “3D Weasel” into a Google Images Search. This bad boy is available on Turbo Squid (the online 3D model repository) for the low, low price of $99.

Any of you gadget hounds fallen for the 3D printer yet? I keep getting flyers at work for a £500 model and a £1,000 model. A little poking around and it looks like the consumer/hobbyist versions are in the $100 to $2,000 range.

Like laser printers, I gather the manufacturer makes their money off the ‘ink’ — in this case, a plastic filament that looks like fat fishing line whereof this grade of 3D ‘print’ is made.

I must say, the arty prints from this class of printer look pretty jaggy and crude to me, but I have no way of knowing if that’s the printer, the model or a user-selectable switch of some kind. I get the impression you can make useful things if you try.

This is a pretty interesting overview of one man’s first year with a 3D printer. FYI, the printer he’s using is around $500. A reel of filament for it is about thirty bucks.

You may recall, I love love LOVE me some 3D modeling. It’s only a matter of time. Just not, perhaps, any time soon.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: January 12, 2016, 2:26 am

I’m hoping direct metal laser sintering 3D gizmos get cheap enough so I can make my own durable firearms. Such guns have been made, but the tech is way out of my price range.

Comment from bds
Time: January 12, 2016, 3:50 am

Not sure about the more expensive models, but when I looked into them a while back the filament came in standard sizes. You have to get the right material type and gauge for your machine but there are multiple sources.

I like to fiddle with new gadgets, but the enormous range of options (how the printer is built, how it prints, how it is controlled, the filament types, etc.) have scared me away from 3D printers even more than the expense. At least until the technology shakes out a bit more. Or I hit the billion dollar lottery and can buy a big industrial gizmo that can build anything.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: January 12, 2016, 5:03 am

3-D printing.

Ya, well, I’m sitting here in the dark computing by candle light because I can’t keep incandescent light bulbs in this house. I buy’m by the case, and right now I have two bulbs working in the whole house, and here in the computer room the switch is busted.

In the dark with only one candle and the light from the monitor.

There is an extenuating circumstance beyond by reluctance to leave my domicile. The weather service predicts 1-3 inches of snow every twelve hours, for the last two weeks, and for the foreseeable future. I’ve been clearing six inches of snow out of the drive every day for at least a week. I need groceries, light bulbs, mouse traps, and a winning powerball ticket.

It’s hopeless.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: January 12, 2016, 6:48 am

The Dremel 3-D printer is about $1000.00. But a thousand now, is 300 in 4 years, so i shall be patient.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: January 12, 2016, 8:00 am

Here’s something I saw that came out of a 3D printer that I would not mind having. I have some of the fossils, but it would be interesting to see them “unsquashed”.


Comment from QuasiModo
Time: January 12, 2016, 2:43 pm

I always wanted to try one of those but they emit some pretty toxic fumes apparently, while melting and spraying the plastic…you would want to make sure to have well ventilated conditions. I have asthma so it kinda killed my enthusiasm for it.

I’ve bought models from TurboSquid…handy if you need something to quickly render…not doing so much of that kind of thing these days.

Comment from dissent555
Time: January 12, 2016, 4:01 pm

Compare the old dot matrix printers with what we have today for 2D printing and we may be on a similar timeline.

Anyways all this cheap plastic junk is just killing poor old Gaia, so there’s that.

Comment from dissent555
Time: January 12, 2016, 4:05 pm

btw, Google “Gaia” and find yourself surrounded by a world of Internet stupid.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 12, 2016, 9:20 pm

Gosh, Quasi — what were you buying models for?

I’ve downloaded a few of the freebies. Potted plants, office furniture, that sort of thing. Needless to say, the free models aren’t the best, but it was usually something in the background not worth wasting my time to model myself.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: January 13, 2016, 12:25 am

I occasionally do animations for videos and need something to bring into 3DS Max…a pipeline valve turning, a nurse and doctor to indicate something medical…stuff like that.

I don’t mind paying for a good quality model with good textures…I just want to drop it in the scene and render it cuz I’m usually in a hurry :+)

I haven’t even installed Max on my new computer yet…not doing much of that kind of thing these days.

The Canadian dollar is in the tank so I’m lucky I’m working at all…lots of people getting laid off out west. This is the kind of economy that you’d live frugal and spend time improving your skillz :+)

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 13, 2016, 12:33 am

I had no idea you did that sort of thing, Quasi. Pardonnez moi if you’ve mentioned it before.

I’ve often wondered what kind of return people get on their contributions to Turbo Squid. I’ve burned to own a copy of Zbrush since forever, but I can’t justify it unless I can figure a way to make it pay for itself.

Honestly, I’m just lousy at any kind of moneymaking scheme.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: January 13, 2016, 1:24 am

No worries…we have talked about modeling in the past…3DS Max, etc. We talked about ZBrush before…I can’t stand the interface, myself :O~

I notice you’re letting your Zazzle shop languish…still waiting for my Zombie Winston Churchill cup ;+)

Ya, I thought it might be fun to design and sell some models on TurboSquid…work has been pretty busy the last few years though, so my 3D efforts are on the shelf.

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