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$25,900 3D Copier Makes Real Objects

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 28 comments

Z Corporation has developed a printer than can generate 3D copies of objects placed inside.

Z Corporation today revealed the first automated, monochrome 3D printer, costing consumers a whopping $29,500 USD. The monster of a machine takes normal copying to a different level by creating actual objects up to 8 x 10 x 8 inches in size. While the new ZPrinter 350 definitely isn't a Replicator capable or recreating a cup of tea or a Klingon's favorite dish, this new device is certainly a step in the right direction.

So why would anyone need a 3D printer? Engineers would put it to good use, making a physical copy of a current prototype before going back to the drawing board to modify the original. Although the ZPrinter 350 only provides one color (white), consumers can preserve complex geometries and intricate details before making alterations. It's like making copies of a virtual model before applying the textures.

“The ZPrinter 350 gives a lot more engineering departments access to advanced 3D printing technology at a value price,” said Z Corporation CEO John Kawola. “ZPrinting is going to improve the quality of their products, speed their development processes, and ultimately help the bottom line.”

The company said that the new 3D printer uses snap-in binder cartridges, and will recycle the unused, office-safe building materials. However don't expect the machine to magically create the copy in mere seconds: the 3D copier has a vertical build speed of .08-inches per hour.

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  • 6 Hide
    ubernoobie , October 16, 2009 9:12 PM
    omfg, you can make like, fake graphic cards now?
  • 2 Hide
    dzeric , October 16, 2009 9:13 PM
    Now mod it with a way to destroy the original object and you have yourself a short range transporter!
  • 6 Hide
    mlcloud , October 16, 2009 9:25 PM
    Haven't toy makers, 3d-model makers been using this sort of thing for a *long* time now?
  • Display all 28 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    xaira , October 16, 2009 9:31 PM
    thats really kool, does it like skulpt the copy out of one solid block of material
  • 2 Hide
    ssalim , October 16, 2009 9:34 PM
    No I dont think it makes a real working object, it's just a copy. Also the time it takes is not worth consumer items.
  • 0 Hide
    Uncle Meat , October 16, 2009 9:34 PM
  • 7 Hide
    cdillon , October 16, 2009 9:36 PM
    There's nothing really new or exciting about this even though they're claiming a "first". 3D printers have been around for at least 10 years now.
  • 1 Hide
    mavroxur , October 16, 2009 9:37 PM
    I wanna sit my ass on that copier. Much more "funny" factor than black & white butt prints.
  • 5 Hide
    hunter315 , October 16, 2009 9:42 PM
    How is this different from a currently existing rapid prototyper? It will also have trouble scanning into recesses in an object so it probably comes out less useful than just using a rapid prototyper that they already have.
  • 1 Hide
    1ce , October 16, 2009 9:55 PM
    Yeah, additive maching machines, rapid prototpying, 3D printing, whatever you want to call it, has been around for quite some time. All they've done here is add a 3D scanner.....and 3D scanners aren't new either. Like hunter315 said scanning into recesses or areas with shadows will be a limitation.
  • 1 Hide
    Shadow703793 , October 16, 2009 9:56 PM
    mlcloudHaven't toy makers, 3d-model makers been using this sort of thing for a *long* time now?

    EXACTLY! This kind of thing has been done for ages. Many rapid prototyping services use this kind of things.
  • 0 Hide
    Blessedman , October 16, 2009 9:56 PM
    when we get atom needles down pat and can have 100,000 of them taking electricity and turning into chicken, call me!
  • 4 Hide
    ElectroGoofy , October 16, 2009 10:16 PM
    Old news if you "print" it from a computer model, new if you can put in a physical model and it would scan it then print it.

    The reason for this is that I took a tour at Walla Walla University at the beginning of this last summer and they had a 3D printer there that could print 3D computer models, but it didn't have the scanning capabilities. Whats cool about the one that I saw was that you could have an object with interlocking gears or something and it would put a hard material between the gears as it printed it so that the gears would not be fused together. After that you would put it into some sort of slightly acidic solution and it would dissolve the in-between object so that the gears could turn freely. It was really cool!
  • -2 Hide
    cookoy , October 16, 2009 10:35 PM
    Frankly guys, I don't understand anything in this news. You create a physical copy of an object using ink and paper? The title isn't helping either: 3D Copier Makes Real Objects. Really? Real Objects! This is the most impressive invention of mankind ever! Stop all research on cloning now. We can copy babies now!
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , October 16, 2009 11:05 PM
    The star trek type future is coming.
  • 0 Hide
    the_krasno , October 16, 2009 11:36 PM
    I see many adult stores taking advantage of this somehow....
  • 1 Hide
    apache_lives , October 17, 2009 12:17 AM
    lol this will put china out of business
  • 0 Hide
    rpmrush , October 17, 2009 1:50 AM
    My buddy works for a different 3D printer company and there machines will build intricate 3D models with moving parts that function after built. Build a replica car... the wheels rotate and turn and all the mechanicals are identical and function like the real thing in terms of basic movement.
  • 0 Hide
    Supertrek32 , October 17, 2009 2:23 AM
    This just took photocopying your butt to a whole new level.
  • 0 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , October 17, 2009 2:31 AM
    The difference between this one and previous models, like Electro Goofy said, is that you can scan a model, use the 3D data, and then "print" out the copy with the same machine.

    Mondotronics used to sell 3D scanners and small CNC machines through their catalog in the late 90s, plus software that both could use, but the scanner/fabricator were separate. Also the fabricator didn't use the powder+printed binder method of this one and most modern 3D printers (the loose powder is smoothed out and a glue is sprayed on the shape of a layer of the model, then another layer of powder is smoothed over that and repeat a few dozen hundred times until a 3D model made up of "slices" of the original comes out)
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