Jon's Place

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

3D Printers

One of the technologies we may end up using eventually on this project is a 3D printer, which basically constructs objects using a 3D CAD model, out of melted/extruded ABS plastic. A 3D printer is basically a CNC milling machine with a print head rather than a cutting head, and some specialized software to control it.

A friend of mine (hi Eric!) met up with a guy in San Diego at a conference who has a commercial 3D printer. I checked out his website, and it turns out the printer guy is also in Second Life, which is a 3D world I hang out in, building and selling virtual flying vehicles. I hooked up with the guy, and sent him a CAD model of one of my vehicles, the Marlin XCV. The picture at the top right of this post is what the vehicle looks like inside Second Life.

John (the printer guy) printed the model, and mailed it back to me. I just got it today, and was very impressed... This is what the model looks like in real life (its about 6 cm long, and that's a Canadian quarter next to it).

Very cool stuff, indeed. If you want to get something printed for a reasonable price, his service is excellent - check it out at


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