Researchers discover a new way to identify 3D printed guns

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have found that 3D printers have fingerprints, essentially slight differences in design that can be used to identify prints. This means investigators can examine the layers of a 3D printed object and pinpoint exactly which machine produced the parts. “3D printing has many wonderful uses, but it’s also a […]

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have found that 3D printers have fingerprints, essentially slight differences in design that can be used to identify prints. This means investigators can examine the layers of a 3D printed object and pinpoint exactly which machine produced the parts.

“3D printing has many wonderful uses, but it’s also a counterfeiter’s dream. Even more concerning, it has the potential to make firearms more readily available to people who are not allowed to possess them,” said Wenyao Xu, lead author of the study.

The researchers found that tiny wrinkles in each layer of plastic can be used to identify a “printer’s model type, filament, nozzle size and other factors cause slight imperfections in the patterns.” They call their technology PrinTracker.

“Like a fingerprint to a person, these patterns are unique and repeatable. As a result, they can be traced back to the 3D printer,” wrote the researchers.

This process works primarily with FDM printers like the Makerbot which use long spools of filament to deposit layers of plastic onto a build plate. Because the printers used in 3D printed guns are usually more complex and more expensive there could be less variation in the individual layers and, more importantly, the layers might be harder to discern. However, for some simpler plastic parts could exhibit variations.

“3D printers are built to be the same. But there are slight variations in their hardware created during the manufacturing process that lead to unique, inevitable and unchangeable patterns in every object they print,” said Xu.

Gillette partners with Formlabs to 3D print razor handles

3D printing for manufacturing is one of those things that gets talked about a lot, but we’ve yet to see a lot of truly mainstream applications for the technology. A new partnership between Gillette and MIT-born startup Formlabs offers up an interesting potential peak into such a future. Granted, customized razor handles is probably more […]

3D printing for manufacturing is one of those things that gets talked about a lot, but we’ve yet to see a lot of truly mainstream applications for the technology. A new partnership between Gillette and MIT-born startup Formlabs offers up an interesting potential peak into such a future.

Granted, customized razor handles is probably more of a novelty than anything. It’s not exactly as game changing as, say, Invisalign braces, prosthesis or even sneakers, but if the tech proves scalable it could add an extra level of customization to a product that’s a part of many of our day to day lives.

For now, Gillette’s 3D printed razor handle program is just a pilot the shaving giant is offering up in limited quantities. It starts at $19 and goes up to $45, depending on the materials used. Using the Razor Maker site, users can build their own distinct version. The handles are then printed out on Formlabs machines at Gillette’s Boston headquarters.

French designers build a 3D-printed metal watch

French watchmaker Unitam and 3D printing company Stainless teamed up to build a unique 3D printed watch, essentially the first of its kind. The team created the watch case using laser sintering to melt stainless steel 316L powder on a Renishaw AM250 printer. The watch, which uses French-made hands and a Miyota movement, isn’t completely […]

French watchmaker Unitam and 3D printing company Stainless teamed up to build a unique 3D printed watch, essentially the first of its kind. The team created the watch case using laser sintering to melt stainless steel 316L powder on a Renishaw AM250 printer.

The watch, which uses French-made hands and a Miyota movement, isn’t completely 3D printed. However, because 3D printing is now nearly foolproof and almost as good as injection molding, the teams will begin mass producing and selling these watches in the Unitam in Paris.

The watchmaker and the metals company showed off their watch at the Micronora trade show in France’s watchmaking city, Besançon.

It’s a clever and unique use case for 3D printing and I’d love to see more. Sadly, the current 3D printing systems can’t make small, complex parts for watch movements so we’re stuck with making larger, less complex parts until the technology truly takes off.

Lunewave is pitching a new sensor offering better vision for autonomous vehicles

The investment arms of BMW and the Chinese search technology giant, Baidu, along with a large original equipment manufacturer for the auto industry and a slew of technology investors have all come together to back Lunewave, a startup developing new sensor technologies for autonomous vehicles. The $5 million seed round which the company just closed […]

The investment arms of BMW and the Chinese search technology giant, Baidu, along with a large original equipment manufacturer for the auto industry and a slew of technology investors have all come together to back Lunewave, a startup developing new sensor technologies for autonomous vehicles.

The $5 million seed round which the company just closed will serve as a launching pad to get its novel radar technology, based on the concept of a Luneburg antenna, to market.

First developed in the 1940s, Lunewave’s spin the antenna technology involves leveraging 3D printing to create new architectures that enable more powerful antennas with greater range and accuracy than the sensing technologies currently on the market, according to the company’s chief executive John Xin.

Lunewave was co-founded by brothers John and Hao Xin and is based off of research that Hao had been conducting as a professor at the University of Arizona. Hao previously spent years working in the defense community for companies like Raytheon and Rockwell Scientific after graduating with a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000.

Younger brother John took a more entrepreneurial approach, working in consulting and financial services for companies like PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Liberty Mutual.

Lunewave represents the culmination of nine years of research the elder Xin spent at the University of Arizona applying 3D printing to boost the power of the Luneburg antenna. With so much intellectual firepower behind it, Hao was able to convince his younger brother to join him on the entrepreneurial journey.

He has a strong desire to commercialize his inventions,” John Xin said of his older brother. “He wants to see it in everyday life.”

 Image courtesy of Driving-Tests.org

Now the company has $5 million in new funding to take the technology that Hao Xin has dedicated so much time and effort to develop and bring it to market. 

“With a single 3D printer in the laboratory version we can produce 100 per day,” John Xin told me. “With an industrial printer you can print 1000 per day.”

The first market for the company’s new technology will be autonomous vehicles — and more specifically autonomous cars.

Lunewave is focused on the eyes of the vehicle, says John Xin. Currently, autonomous technologies rely on a few different sensing systems. There are LIDAR technologies which use lasers to illuminate a target and measure the reflected pulses with a sensor; camera technologies which rely on — well — camera technologies; and radar which uses electromagnetic waves to detect objects.

Startups developing and refining these technologies have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to tackle the autonomous vehicle market. In June, the camera sensing technology developer Light raised over $120 million from SoftBank. Meanwhile, LIDAR technology developers like Quanergy and Leddartech have raised $134 million and $117 million respectively and some studies have claimed that the market for LIDAR technologies was already a $5.2 billion last year alone.

Most companies working with autonomous cars these days use some combination of these technologies, but the existing products on the market have significant limitations, according to Lunewave’s chief executive.

John Xin argues that the Lunewave technology can detect more objects in a wider field of view and at greater distances than existing products thanks to the unique properties of the Luneburg antenna.

Think of the antenna as a giant golf ball with a 360 field of “view” that can detect objects at greater distances than existing Lidar technologies because of the distance constraints on laser technologies.

Xin with a Lunewave prototype

“LIDAR right now is at the end of the day because of its short wavelength. It does not function as well in poor weather conditions. Penetration of shorter wave lengths would be very difficult in poor weather conditions,” Xin said. “Our radar technology has the ability to function across all weather conditions. Our hardware architecture of our Lunenberg antenna has the best distance and the spherical nature of the device has the 360 detection capacity.”

The company came out with its minimum viable product in 2017 — the same year that it launched. It was one of the early companies in the UrbanX accelerator — a collaboration between Mini and Urban.us — and is part of BMW’s startup garage program.

The company raised $5 million in two structures. Its seed financing was a $3.75 million equity round led by the automotive investment specialist McCombs Fraser with participation from Ekistic Ventures, Urban.us, Plug and Play, Shanda Capital, Lighthouse Ventures, Baidu Ventures and BMW iVentures. But a portion of its capital came in the form of a $1.25 million non-dilutive government grant through the National Science Foundation . “In late 2016 that’s what helped us to jumpstart the company,” said Xin.

Now, the company just needs to fulfill Hao Xin’s dream of taking the product to market.

“We have the product,” John Xin said. “It’s not just taking in money. Now it’s about [proof of concepts] and pilots.”

Facing sexual assault charges, 3D-printed gun advocate Cody Wilson evades US authorities

The gun rights activist who waged a very public legal war over the right to freely distribute 3D-printed gun schematics over the internet is facing serious charges that have nothing to do with firearms. According to a law enforcement press conference today, Cody Wilson, 30, is believed to have traveled to Taipei after learning that […]

The gun rights activist who waged a very public legal war over the right to freely distribute 3D-printed gun schematics over the internet is facing serious charges that have nothing to do with firearms.

According to a law enforcement press conference today, Cody Wilson, 30, is believed to have traveled to Taipei after learning that he was under investigation for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old. Wilson, who travels frequently, also missed his scheduled return flight.

According to an affidavit filed on Wednesday, Wilson is charged with the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl in Travis County, Texas. The affidavit describes how Wilson, an Austin resident, began communicating with the alleged victim under the handle “Sanjuro” using the website “SugarDaddyMeet.com.”

The two continued talking via iMessage and Wilson allegedly identified himself to the victim and mentioned that he was a “big deal,” prompting her to find his name featured in recent news stories. In addition to his high-profile role in the debate over 3D-printed firearms, Wilson also attracted attention when he founded Hatreon, a crowdfunding site for fundraisers that violated the rules of sites like Patreon and Kickstarter.

The affidavit, published in full on Ars Technica, details how the two met in person on August 15 at a local coffee shop and Wilson then took the victim to a hotel in a vehicle registered to his company, Defense Distributed. The victim alleges that the sexual assault took place at Austin’s Archer hotel, after which Wilson paid her $500. Surveillance footage corroborates the victim’s story.

Austin’s police department is coordinating with international authorities to bring him back to the country to face the second-degree felony charges, which could be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Update: A reporter with the Austin American-Statesman reports that the U.S. Marshals have issued a wanted poster for Wilson.

Zortrax launches a new high-speed, high-resolution printer, the Inkspire

Zortrax has launched a new printer, the Inkspire, that prints using an LCD to create objects in high-quality resin in minutes. The printer – essentially an upgrade to traditional stereolithography (SLA) printers – uses a single frame of light to create layers of 25 microns. Most SLA printers use a laser or DLP to shine […]

Zortrax has launched a new printer, the Inkspire, that prints using an LCD to create objects in high-quality resin in minutes. The printer – essentially an upgrade to traditional stereolithography (SLA) printers – uses a single frame of light to create layers of 25 microns.

Most SLA printers use a laser or DLP to shine a pattern on the resin. The light hardens the resin instantly, creating a layer of material that the printer then pulls up and out as the object grows. The UV LCD in the $2,699 Inkspire throws an entire layer at a time and is nine times more precise than standard SLA systems. It can print 20 to 36 millimeters per hour and the system can print objects in serial, allowing you to to print hundreds of thousands of small objects per month.

“The printer is also perfect for rapid prototyping of tiny yet incredibly detailed products like jewelry or dental prostheses. But there are more possible applications,” said co-founder Marcin Olchanowski. “Working with relatively small models like HDMI cover caps, one Zortrax Inkspire can 3D print 77 of them in 1h 30min. 30 printers working together in a 3D printing farm can offer an approximate monthly output of 360,000 to over 500,000 parts (depending on how many shifts per day are scheduled). This is how Zortrax Inkspire can take a business way into medium or even high scale production territory.”

The printer company, which is now one of the largest in Central Europe, explored multiple technologies before settling on this form of SLA printing.

“At the early stage of this project we were investigating the technology itself, and it seemed very unlikely we were able to create such a device,” said Olchanowski. “We tried SLA and DLP but we were not happy with these technologies. We perceived them undeveloped. But, step by step, we succeeded. We see huge prospects of development for resin 3D printing technology, because nowadays customers expect the higher quality of printed models.”

The company sells 6,500 printers yearly and will see $13.7 million in revenue this year. They are also selling resins for their new printers and they will ship in about two months.

Printers like the Inkspire are a bit harder to use than traditional extruder-based printers like Makerbots. However, the quality and print speed is far better and paves the way to truly 3D-printed production runs for one-off parts.

3DHubs, once a community 3D printing service, is now sourcing all 3D prints internally

3D Hubs, like MakeXYZ, was a community-based 3D printing service that let anyone with a printer sell their prints online. Founded in the heyday of the 3D printing revolution, the service let thousands of makers gather a little cash for making and mailing prints on their home 3D printers. Now, however, the company has moved […]

3D Hubs, like MakeXYZ, was a community-based 3D printing service that let anyone with a printer sell their prints online. Founded in the heyday of the 3D printing revolution, the service let thousands of makers gather a little cash for making and mailing prints on their home 3D printers.

Now, however, the company has moved to a model in which its high-end partners will be manufacturing plastic, metal, and injection molded parts for customers willing to pay extra for a professional print.

“Indeed, more focus on high end printers run by professional companies,” said founder Brian Garret. “So a smaller pool of manufacturing locations (still hundreds around the world), but with more control on standardized quality and repeatability. Our software takes care of the sourcing, so companies order with 3D Hubs directly.”

Not everyone is happy with the decision. 3DPrint.come editor Joris Peels saw the value in a solid, dedicated community of hobbyists in the 3D space. The decision to move away from hobbyist printers, wrote Peels, “has confused many.”

“The value of 3DHubs is in its community; the community gives it granular local presence and a barrier to entry. Now it is just like any 3D printing service upstart and will lose its community entirely. I’ve always liked 3DHubs, although I have been very skeptical of their Trends Report I like the company and what they’re doing. I liked the idealism coupled with business,” he wrote.

The community, for its part, is angry.

The move will happen on October 1 when all prints will be completed by Fulfilled by 3D Hubs partners, dedicated merchants who will offer “source parts for larger, high value engineering projects.” The company wrote that during the early hobbyist days the “platform at that time was very much free-form, with the goal of serving as many, mostly one-off, custom maker projects as possible.”

This slow movement from hobbyist 3D printing to professional parts manufacturer is not surprising or unexpected, but it is jarring. The 3D printing community is small, vociferous, and dedicated to the technology. In the early days, when 3D printers were rare, it was tempting to buy a mid-price printer and become a small, one-person shop online. Now, with the availability of commodity printers that cost less than some paper printers, the novelty and utility of a low-resolution print has fallen considerably.

3D printing never fulfilled its promise in the home and small office. A one-off print can save some of us a trip to the machine shop or music store but in practice home 3D printing has been a bust.

Like most open source technologies that went commercial, the dedicated zealots will complain and the established players will pivot into profitability. It ruffles feathers, to be sure, but that’s how these things work. To paraphrase the White Stripes, “Well, you’re in your little room and you’re printing something good/ But if it’s really good, you’re gonna need a bigger room/ And when you’re in the bigger room, you might not know what to do/ You might have to think of how you got started sitting in your little room.”

Cut, Burn, and Melt All the Things With This Insane Dobot Mooz Machine (Giveaway!)

Our verdict of the Dobot Mooz:An easy-to-assemble 3D printer kit, with optional CNC or laser engraving modules. This is a versatile machine, albeit a slow one. 910This is the Dobot Mooz. It’s a 3-in-1 industrial grade machine, priced at an entirely reasonable $699. It’s a 3D-printer, CNC machine and Laser-engraving combined machine. Join as us we dig into it and see what it can do. Is it the Jack of all trades, but master of none? If you’d like to own a Dobot Mooz of your own, then enter our contest at the end of the article, where we’ll be…

Read the full article: Cut, Burn, and Melt All the Things With This Insane Dobot Mooz Machine (Giveaway!)

Our verdict of the Dobot Mooz:
An easy-to-assemble 3D printer kit, with optional CNC or laser engraving modules. This is a versatile machine, albeit a slow one.
910

This is the Dobot Mooz. It’s a 3-in-1 industrial grade machine, priced at an entirely reasonable $699. It’s a 3D-printer, CNC machine and Laser-engraving combined machine. Join as us we dig into it and see what it can do. Is it the Jack of all trades, but master of none?

If you’d like to own a Dobot Mooz of your own, then enter our contest at the end of the article, where we’ll be giving away our review model!

Design and Build Quality

The Mooz oozes quality. The all-metal construction and modular design ensure it stands out in a very crowded market.

Dobot Mooz parts kit

The Mooz comes with with four identical modular, linear actuators. These parts contain everything required to move the machine in one axis. The sealed units each contain a stepper motor, linear rail, drive screw, and end stops. The self-contained design means assembly is super quick, and you don’t have to spend hours fine-tuning each axis.

Dobot Mooz connections

Each axis bolts onto the solid metal base and then connects to the brain with a single RJ45 connector. It’s all a very simple and straightforward affair.

Three different modules can be quickly swapped out (in minutes, rather than seconds). Each module is for a different function. These are:

  1. 3D printing: melted plastic forms complex shapes in the “traditional” Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process.
  2. CNC Machining: a drill bit like tool is spun at high speeds to carve a shape out of a solid material.
  3. Laser Engraving: produce complex engravings with this 0.5W laser module.

Each module is covered in greater detail in their respective sections further below. While each module simple bolts on to the linear actuator, don’t expect to be swapping out modules instantly. With practice, you can expect to change them over within a few minutes, but it’s still a slightly fiddly process, involving miniature bolts and hex keys.

The machine bed (where your finished part will sit) comes in two different styles. The heated bed is used for 3D printing or a vise-like bed for holding material for CNCing. Dobot recommends the 3D printing bed for laser engraving as well, but we think the CNC vise works far better for this, and you’re less likely to damage the precious 3D printing bed.

These beds are attached to the linear actuator with four bolts. Dobot has included four oblong shaped holes in the base, for your hex key to fit through. This means you can change beds without having to remove any other parts first and is an excellent idea.

Dobot Mooz controller

The Mooz is controlled through the included touchscreen controller. This looks like a small smartphone, and a small magnet on the base holds it to the base. This interface is rather basic, but it gets the job done.

This interface shows the percentage complete, but not time remaining. This leaves you having to guess at how long is left, based on percentage and time taken so far. Hopefully, a software update can bring this much-needed feature.

Dobot Mooz instructions

While the Mooz is extremely well made, with a lot of consideration put into the design, we can’t say the same about the manual. The English quality is not brilliant, and it can be hard to decipher the instructions at times. It’s not impossible to assemble, as it’s so well designed, but you may need to read and then re-read the manual again to figure things out.

Dobot Support

During our review, we encountered a problem with our CNC module. It appeared to work fine, but the Mooz would refuse to start any print jobs. We fixed it by rotating the X-axis, but the support team told us this was unlikely to stop it working.

Dobot Mooz wires

While attempting to resolve the issue, we contacted Dobot support. Initially, we received no reply to our query, but after messaging our press contact, things starting moving. It’s worrying that we heard nothing until our media credentials spurred things along, and we can only hope that the support team experienced a busy period and that it’s not a sign of a general lack of support.

Laser Engraving

Lasers are quite possibly the coolest toys around. While DIY laser turrets are cool, using one to engrave designs is amazing. You’ll need to wear the included eye-protection, but apart from that, operating the laser is a simple process.

Dobot Mooz laser

The laser on the Mooz is a rather meagre 0.5W. It’s possible to upgrade to a larger 1.5W module, but that still won’t be powerful enough to cut wood, plastic, metal, or glass.  It can cut paper, but you probably don’t want to do that. What it is good at, is laser engraving. This burns the surface of your material and produces a permanent etching. This could be words, artwork, or photos. It’s a bit like a tattoo for objects.

Dobot Mooz laser

This works really well, but you’ll need to experiment with materials. Leather and softwood produce excellent results, but you’ll have a hard time etching metal. The better the surface quality of your material, the better the resulting image.

Dobot Mooz laser etched wood

Despite being so small, this laser is 100% electricity based. This means that there are no costly CO2 tubes to change or mirrors to balance and protect. It ensures the Mooz is small and light, at the expense of laser power.

Much like using a magnifying glass to burn ants*, the laser only works at a pre-set focusing height. For each material you use, you’ll need to experiment to figure out the best height, speed, and power.

* No ants were harmed in the making of this review.

Dobot Mooz etched wood

The laser primarily produces designs in a raster format. The laser head moves left to right horizontally, gradually creeping forwards. It’s a slow process but generally produces excellent results with a reasonable level of detail.

CNC Machining

Moving on to CNC machining is where things get interesting. By spinning a cutting tool at high speed, and moving it around a material, you can cut out complex shapes and patterns. This is a simplified description, but the process remains the same.

Dobot Mooz CNC

CNC machines are nothing new, and a mini DIY CNC revolution almost took off before the 3D printing explosion. The problem with many small CNC machines is their rigidity. Producing designs by carving away material is a tough process, and puts a big strain on the machine.

As it’s made of solid metal, the Mooz has no problems producing designs. You won’t be able to cut metal, but most plastics and softwoods work well. If you need to produce a very deep carving, then you can make repeat passes until reaching the desired depth.

Dobot Mooz CNC

By spinning a tool at 12,000 RPM, the Mooz makes a big noise. Not only that, but you’ll get timber shavings and sawdust all over the place. We highly recommend using the CNC module in a garage or workshop, away from your house.

To prevent dirt from getting inside the mechanical workings, a small cover is included. This moves with the bed and stops almost all the CNC shavings from falling into the linear actuator.

The CNC module produces excellent results. A stunning level of detail can be achieved, and even materials with a poor surface finish are transformed by removing the top layer of material. This is the perfect tool for carving logos or small designs. PCB manufacturing is another excellent use.

Dobot Mooz finished CNC machined wood

Only one tool is provided, and as CNC machining is still slightly specialized, you may need to pay a premium for any replacement tools, especially those that are both quality and small size.

3D Printing

Dobot Mooz 3D printing

3D printing is possibly the main selling point of the Mooz. Producing objects by pushing molten plastic around is always an exciting process to watch, and the Mooz doesn’t disappoint. The rugged metal design is almost overkill for simple 3D printing, but it ensures a solid and stable base that is more than capable of producing amazing prints.

Dobot Mooz 3D printing

The Mooz works like the majority of other 3D printers on the market. It uses Fused Deposition Modeling to produce objects one layer at a time.

While a large cooling fan is constantly running, the Mooz is generally fairly quiet. You wouldn’t want to sleep with it in the same room, but it’s not so loud that it’s a nuisance like the CNC module.

Dobot Mooz 3D printing

A heated bed is included, with a total build volume of 130mm. A reasonable top speed of 80mm/s is achievable, and a layer height of 0.05mm is excellent.

The extruder is a sealed unit, but it’s possible to take apart for maintenance. You don’t need to cover the bed with special tape or glue, as the plastic surface provides the perfect base for prints to adhere to.

Dobot Mooz finshed 3D print

Note: this image depicts a warped print, which didn’t happen with other prints.

As you would expect from such a premium machine, the print quality is fantastic! It is surprising how well prints come out, and how it “just works”. You’ll need to spend some time perfecting speeds and temperatures for your own prints, but the factory-provided models are all ready to go.

Don’t forget to read our ultimate 3D printing guide for detailed 3D printing tips and tricks. If you own the Mooz, or any other 3D printer, then why not learn how to recycle 3D prints?

Is the Mooz for You?

Dobot DB-MZ001 Mooz 3D Printer 3 in 1 Industrial Grade Transformable Metallic, Support CNC and Laser Engraving, Free PLA Filament, Protective Case and Goggle Dobot DB-MZ001 Mooz 3D Printer 3 in 1 Industrial Grade Transformable Metallic, Support CNC and Laser Engraving, Free PLA Filament, Protective Case and Goggle Buy Now At Amazon $799.00

By using a solid metal design, industrial-grade parts, and self-contained modules, the Mooz is able to achieve an accuracy and ease-of-use which is almost unmatched at this price range.

This machine won’t shake itself to pieces or vibrate your table so much that is must be placed in another room. Yes, the laser can be smelly, and the CNC generates a huge amount of noise along with a big mess, but what similar machines don’t?

Possibly the easiest to assembly 3D printer kit we’ve used, the Mooz “just works”. Even with poor instructions, it can be assembled in less than an hour and enables even a complete novice to produce stunning designs. With a bit of practice and tweaking for different materials, environments, and speeds, you can create jaw-dropping artwork.

Dobot Mooz 3D printing

If you’re on a budget, it’s possible to buy the Mooz without the laser and CNC modules and upgrade those parts later on if required. If you’re looking for a 3D printer which doesn’t transform, then why not take a look at our 3D printer buying guide?

The only downside to the Mooz is the speed. Quality comes at a price, so don’t expect to manufacturer-on-demand at a craft fair, it’s too slow. This isn’t Dobot’s fault, it’s physics. There’s only so fast a laser or CNC can move before the quality is all but lost. If you can wait, the Mooz will deliver designs of the highest quality.

Thanks to Dobot, we’re giving away our review model. All you have to do is enter our giveaway contest!

Enter the Competition!

Dobot MOOZ: 3D Printer, Laser Engraver and CNC All-in-One Giveaway

Read the full article: Cut, Burn, and Melt All the Things With This Insane Dobot Mooz Machine (Giveaway!)

3D Printing at IFA 2018: Affordable Full Color Printing and Education Highlights

Consumer 3D printing entered a state of maturity a few years ago. We finally got reliable printing, solid hardware, and software that makes the process easy. So where does it go from there? IFA 2018 appears to have brought us very little in the way of groundbreaking new 3D printing technologies, but we did see some great iterative upgrades to already good printers, as well as a set of curricula to bring 3D printing into the classroom in a meaningful way. XYZprinting daVinci Color Mini The daVinci Color Mini brings the company’s full color 3D printing technology to a more…

Read the full article: 3D Printing at IFA 2018: Affordable Full Color Printing and Education Highlights

Consumer 3D printing entered a state of maturity a few years ago. We finally got reliable printing, solid hardware, and software that makes the process easy. So where does it go from there? IFA 2018 appears to have brought us very little in the way of groundbreaking new 3D printing technologies, but we did see some great iterative upgrades to already good printers, as well as a set of curricula to bring 3D printing into the classroom in a meaningful way.

XYZprinting

daVinci Color Mini

The daVinci Color Mini brings the company’s full color 3D printing technology to a more affordable price point than the daVinci Color. And by affordable, we mean around €1500/$1600. While still expensive, it is at least in realms of possibility for home users.

Using a single translucent PLA filament, the daVinci Color Mini is able to produce full color prints by integrating inkjet technology (which they’ve called 3D ColorJet) and CMY color tanks. The printer alternates between fusing a layer of plastic, then colouring the appropriate edges of the layer. The largest printable volume is 13cm cubed.

The enclosed design offers safety for schools and public areas, and also features beginner-friendly features like a removable print bed with auto-levelling and automatic filament feed, WiFi connectivity, and a 5″ touch-screen. It can print either PLA, Tough PLA, or PETG, but not ABS.

Like its big brother, the daVinci Color Mini can also be upgraded with a laser engraver module, which will be available at a later date.

STEAM Curricula

More impressive is the new 3D printing curricula. Divided into three modules for ages ranging 5-11, 11-14, and 14-18, the lessons introduce 3D printing technology in an age appropriate way to match the K-12 curriculum. You can view an example lesson plan resources for a flashlight housing project here. As far as we know, it’s the first attempt to structure a full suite of lessons to cover a broad range of K-12 ages and topics.

The suite is available to schools at a cost of €400 per licence, or is supplied with a new education package to suit school budgets. We think it’s a great initiative to ensure purchase printers are used to their full potential. Many schools are quick to adopt new technology but without a long term plan of how to integrate that into the existing learning schedule, it often sits unused in the corner.

Monoprice

MP Select Mini Pro

The MP Select Mini 2 has been a long established favorite of 3D printing enthusiasts, thanks to it’s ludicrously good value, ease of use, and ability to get great results.

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2 - Black with Heated (120 x 120 x 120 mm) Build Plate, Fully Assembled + Free Sample PLA Filament and MicroSD Card Preloaded with Printable 3D Models Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2 - Black with Heated (120 x 120 x 120 mm) Build Plate, Fully Assembled + Free Sample PLA Filament and MicroSD Card Preloaded with Printable 3D Models Buy Now At Amazon $189.99

Monoprice thought they could do better though, so after extensive user feedback, they made some upgrades. Most significantly: they made the bed removable, added an auto-levelling probe, and shifted from a physical control knob to a full touchscreen interface. The MP Select Pro retains the all-metal construction to reduce vibrations, and has been launched alongside the existing models at only $50 more. That’s an incredible amount of 3D printing tech to cram onto a device that costs just $250.

Monoprice also told us that the cable bundle under the print bed was switched to a more reliable ribbon cable, as it was apparently causing issues for a very small number of users. We talked to the product development manager, and it was clear they cared deeply about user feedback on how to improve an already great device.

That’s pretty stunning quality from a $250 printer.

For those on an even tighter budget, Monoprice offers a full metal construction small delta-style 3D printer for $160, which has been available in the US for a while, but is now being brought to Europe along with the rest of their range.

Monoprice Mini Delta 3D Printer With Heated (110 x 110 x 120 mm) Build Plate, Auto Calibration, Fully Assembled for ABS & PLA + Free MicroSD Card Preloaded With Printable 3D Models Monoprice Mini Delta 3D Printer With Heated (110 x 110 x 120 mm) Build Plate, Auto Calibration, Fully Assembled for ABS & PLA + Free MicroSD Card Preloaded With Printable 3D Models Buy Now At Amazon $159.99

MP Voxel

Also new to the range is the MP Voxel, a fully enclosed model for $399 . With a built-in camera to monitor your price, and cloud connectivity for remote management, the Voxel should be great for the educational market, with ease of use and safety in mind.

The Voxel features hotspot-enabled Wi-Fi so you can print directly from your phone, 15cm cubed print area, a 2.5″ touchscreen, and 8GB of on-board memory to store the prints. Alternatively, you can use a USB stick to load a print directly.

Filaments can be hidden away inside, and a filament sensor ensures you’ll never be printing dry. Like the MP Select Mini Pro, the Voxel also features a removable print bed, auto-levelling sensor, and heated print bed. The print bed is capped at 60C though, so you’re limited to the PLA and PETG filaments; the enclosure is purely for safety, rather than maintaining the higher temperatures needed for ABS printing.

Is It Finally Time To Buy a 3D Printer?

3D printers are a lot more reliable than they used to be, so we’re finally getting to the stage where we can mostly judge based on features offered rather than “does this even work”? Heated print beds and specialist print surfaces are now commonplace. However, we can’t test the reliability of printers at a trade show, so we wouldn’t suggest running out and buying one of the new models just yet.

If your school is struggling to make use of a printer they already own or can get funding for a new package, it’s certainly worth reaching out to XYZprinting for a look at their integrated curricula.

In the meantime, check out our 3D printing beginner’s guide.

Read the full article: 3D Printing at IFA 2018: Affordable Full Color Printing and Education Highlights

Udaan, the e-commerce startup led by three former Flipkart executives, raises $225M

The trio announced this morning that their B2B e-commerce startup Udaan had raised $225 million in Series C funding. The cash infusion, according to Indian media reports, makes Udaan the fastest-ever Indian startup to be valued at over $1 billion.

Looks like Sujeet Kumar, Amod Malviya and Vaibhav Gupta’s decision to jump ship from Flipkart to focus on their own venture is paying off.

The trio announced this morning that their B2B e-commerce startup Udaan had raised $225 million in Series C funding co-led by DST Global and Lightspeed Venture Partners, with capital coming out of the latter’s growth fund. The cash infusion, according to Indian media reports, makes Udaan the fastest-ever Indian startup to be valued at over $1 billion.

Flipkart, one of the most successful e-commerce platforms out of India, sold to Walmart in a $16 billion deal earlier this year. Kumar, Malviya and Gupta, which were the former president of operations, CTO and SVP of business finance and analytics at Flipkart, respectively, departed the company in 2016.

Shortly after setting up the B2B marketplace, the three raised $10 million in a Series A led by Lightspeed in late 2016then another $50 million earlier this year, also led by Lightspeed, with participation from the venture capital firm’s India office.

Bejul Somaia, a managing director at Lightspeed India that’s been on the Bengaluru-based company’s board since that A round, confirmed the latest funding to TechCrunch.

“We have been fortunate to see the company scale very rapidly from close quarters,” Somaia told me via email. “We’re drawn to the company’s first-principles approach to solving significant problems that are unique in the Indian context.”

Udaan’s mobile app connects 150,000 traders, wholesalers and retailers in India, enabling small- and medium-sized businesses to do business directly with manufacturers. Right now, electronics and consumer goods are for sale on the app, with plans for the company to make industrial goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, office supplies and more available soon.

At just 26 months of age, there are few companies that have raced—or shall we say trotted—into the unicorn club at such a speed. Recent examples include the 3D printing company Desktop Metal, which crossed the threshold 21 months after its founding. Plus, there’s the Craigslist competitor Letgo; it became a unicorn in just two years.

Indian startup unicorns, of which there are fewer, have historically taken longer to earn their unicorn horns.

On-demand delivery platform Swiggy, for example, became a unicorn earlier this year, about four years after it was founded. Zomato, another delivery app, garnered a $1.4 billion valuation in 2017 after nearly 10 years in business.