RE: My 1K RP machine????

From: Bathsheba Grossman (
Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 22:11:12 EEST

On Tue, 4 Apr 2000, Charles Overy wrote:
> What an interesting quote. Particularly that Mr. Rudgley speaks of a 3D fax
> and not a 3D printer. I read this as an implication that 3D believes the
> idea of scanning and transmitting an objects specifications is the
> application that will make the technology widely commercially viable. This
> is as opposed to the output from 3D design application that allmost all of
> us are involved in. 3D faxing sidesteps (or at least makes transparent to
> the user) all the problems of CAD, file formats,bad facets, translation etc
> that we spend a great deal of time discussing.

Isn't it more that the idea presuppose a solution to these things,
rather than sidestepping them? I mean, to "fax" an object, there
still must be a file representation of it, and that file will still
have a format, and that format will still be vulnerable to errors.

I'm puzzled by the specificity of the "fax" angle. If we had an
output device that could do good models at that price, of course it
would have many uses, and of course long-distance transmission would
be one of them, but I wouldn't think of the device as specifically
tied to it.

I mean, I use my 2-D printer to print documents with many origins:
scans, web downloads, faxes, emails, not to mention docs I write
myself. Most of them come from somewhere else, but I still don't see
the printer as being primarily part of a transmission system.

> I really do hope 3D systems really has the technology research and the
> business model to support this statement and that it is not just
> prognostication. Very exciting. At $1700 it would be a lot closer to me
> than the corner high street!

And everybody who's still paying off a $100,000 box would be sucking
the mop. Awful stuff, technology. :-}

> Subject: My 1K RP machine????
> "Mervyn Rudgley, the senior director of business development at 3D Systems
> in Valencia, California, believes this will happen sooner rather than
> later. "In about five years, we will be producing 3-D fax machines for less
> than 1,000, and they will be available in your local high-street store,"
> Just found this interesting statement...........wonder how big the fax will
> be...Thermolithography is it's name? TLA?

I would expect that if they are really pushing to make such a machine,
it would be possible. It doesn't seem to me (know-nothing that I am)
that there's anything very inherently expensive about the various 3D
printing technologies. Plastic and lasers are not by nature costly,
and great precision has been achieved in 2-D printers for peanuts.

It's just that a mass market has not been perceived by machine
manufacturers, and meanwhile there are these very well-capitalized
specialized markets, and therefore no serious effort has been made to
make 3D printing cheap enough for normal consumers. As I'm sure
you're all tired of hearing me say, I believe that a bet's being
missed there, and that the first manufacturer to go after that market
will clean up.

If it's going to be 3D Systems, good for them.

Bathsheba Grossman (831) 429-8224
Digital Sculpture

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