Re: [rp-ml] Slow growth

From: Stewart Dickson <>
Date: Mon Apr 28 2008 - 19:28:43 EEST

Does anyone remember Soligen? ? (Extinct)
Alumina and Colloidal Silica binder. Real industrial strength. Another
MIT 3D Printing licensee.
They have the most robust ink-jet heads you have ever seen.

Back in the old days, Marshall Burns wrote essays proposing SLS machines
which ran on sand.
A new way to build a pyramid.
If it would work on Mars, it would work in Africa.


Darren Stevenson wrote:
> My $.02:
> There is a definite "what do you need" factor here that influences
> this conversation and all the technology that is being released and
> unfortunately not released for RP.
> For developing countries where almost any RP is going to be
> cost-prohibitive, their need for rapid prototyping is usually for
> functional objects, i.e. building a fastener ring for a water pump.
> The need is not full-color printing for display purposes, which is
> what Z-Corp banks on. I don't see many people buying Z-Corp machines
> who really need functional parts. There's just too many other
> companies out there making monochrome RP machines that do the job far
> better (and are much more durable) than the plaster-based output from
> a Z-Corp machine.
> Z-Corp is more and more focusing their marketing on the product design
> industry, since that's one of the only arenas you cannot get away with
> using a monochrome prototype (others being the art world, teaching,
> probably others I'm not aware of).
> We operate Z-Corp machines in my lab because we are a visualization
> facility and most people in our lab need color detailed output for
> presentation purposes. That blue Objet stuff just won't do. But we
> definitely have the same love-hate relationship with the company that
> most others do. We love the color output and its great detail, but we
> hate the abusive pricing that Z-Corp uses for its consumables. I
> almost wonder if they are in violation of price gouging laws (think
> gasoline industry) because they sell secret "binder" (water + ~2%
> something else) and secret powder (hardware plaster + ~2% polymer) at
> offensive and insulting prices. I don't know much about these pricing
> laws, but Z-Corp seems to be on the hate list w/everyone for their
> consumables pricing, especially those who continue to buy their
> materials. They are preventing themselves from becoming at viable RP
> tool for the education sector and for developing nations, since most
> people cannot afford to operate their materials. I have never seen a
> company where so many of its clients are angry but keep coming back
> (us being one of them!).
> Guess that was more like $.25 or maybe even a dollar...oops.
> Darren
> --
> Darren Stevenson | Manager, Visualization Media & Imaging Laboratory
> (VMIL)
> Imaging Technology Group (ITG) | Beckman Institute | University of
> Illinois
> 405 North Mathews Avenue | Urbana, Illinois 61801 | VMIL 4602 | Office
> 4311
> | 217.244.3074 phone | 217.244.6219 fax |
> Stewart Dickson wrote:
>> Hello, Andrew,
>> The leverage Z-Corp uses is voiding the warranty and maintenance
>> agreement for using non-Z-Corp materials in the 3D printer.
>> Note that I am seeing refilling kits in the stores besides the
>> original HP ink jet printer cartridges.
>> *P**lea**se click on a Brand:***
>> Apollo <>
>> Canon <>
>> Compaq <>
>> Dell <>
>> Epson <>
>> HP <>
>> Lexmark
>> <>
>> I think that the crux here is that Z-Corp has always stated that they
>> haven't the resources to do Research and Development
>> to improve their own product. The example I quote was when Mike
>> Bailey at UCSD/SDSC printed out a replica of the 3D Munsell color
>> solid <>,
>> which he sent to the Z Corp engineers, so that he could point out the
>> specific bugs in the printer software.
>> The idiotic nature of this situation indicates to me that Z-Corp is
>> practicing some kind of intellectual protectionism -- reserving all
>> R&D for either Ellie Sachs at the MIT 3D Printing Lab, or Tim
>> Alexander at Z-Corp (but, I don't think so.)
>> The obvious improvement I would do right off would be to substitute
>> the cheap HP print heads with the Epson, color-fast, eight-color
>> process print heads and inks.
>> There has to be some kind of I-P tug-of-war going on between MIT and
>> Z-Corp which prevents things like this from happening.
>> -Stewart
>> Visualization Research Programmer, Integrated Systems Laboratory
>> 4355 Beckman Institute, 405 N Mathews Ave, Urbana, IL 61801
>> +1(217)333-3923
>> Andrew Werby wrote:
>>> Stewart Dickson wrote:
>>>> The cost of R-P machines is dropping constantly, but I think that
>>>> the cost of operating them is not dropping as quickly.
>>>> Consider that Z-Corp's -- essentially plaster-of-Paris and
>>>> Super-Glue -- is still on the order of $100 a liter.
>>>> Granted that's 1/4 the cost of Stereolithography resin, but it
>>>> seems that for the benefit of developing countries
>>>> (and academic institutions) there could be some "Open Source"
>>>> materials made available.
>>> [What would be the legal status of those materials? If they
>>> duplicated a patented system, wouldn't the RP companies have the
>>> right to sue? What about if they were slightly different? Ink-jet
>>> printer manufacturers make a lot of their money from selling
>>> cartridges; it seems to be the same in the RP industry. It seems
>>> like they'd want to come down hard on anyone "open-sourcing" their
>>> consumables, but would they have a leg to stand on, legally?]
>>> Andrew Werby
>>>> I think that the 3D Systems Thermojet might be the cheapest to own
>>>> and operate.
>>>> Are the Michaels Tsenter and Feygin -- Helisys -- still in
>>>> business? (Paper is possibly not a plentiful resource in Africa,
>>>> for example.)
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> -Stewart
>>>> Visualization Research Programmer, Integrated Systems Laboratory
>>>> 4355 Beckman Institute, 405 N Mathews Ave, Urbana, IL 61801
>>>> +1(217)333-3923
>>>> Todd Pederzani wrote:
>>>>> ahmad ayyaz wrote:
>>>>>> Despite of all the fantastic features and benefits of Rapid
>>>>>> Prototyping , the idea could not get acceleration especialy at
>>>>>> small to medium enterprises level largely in developing
>>>>>> countries? What you people think the root cause of this? and what
>>>>>> you will suggest to do in this regard?
>>>>> I'm no expert, but two factors I'd consider are price and
>>>>> locality. None of the RP machines are particularly affordable
>>>>> (IMO), and service may not be available (or at high cost) in their
>>>>> area (or on a reasonable time frame.)
>>>>> Do you have quantitative measurements of the lack of adoption of
>>>>> RP in the countries? You may get a lot of answers, but I'm not
>>>>> sure how provable any of them may be (mine definitely included).
>>>>> --
>>>>> Todd Pederzani
>>>>> ProtoCAM Information Technology
>>>>> 3848 Cherryville Road Phone: (610) 261-9010
>>>>> Northampton, PA 18067 Fax: (610) 261-9350
Received on Mon Apr 28 17:39:12 2008

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