One software designers attempt to grow up.

By Alexander Somma
Sent to you by outofpaper via Google Reader: Will 3D Printing End Mass
Manufacturing? [PICS] via Mashable! by Todd Wasserman on 4/10/11

Dictionary.com has 17 definitions of the verb “to print,” but none of
them conjure up images like the metal cross you see on your right, or
other objects such as glass figurines, iPad covers or even shoes — all
of which can now be printed with the help of special machines.

The process of “3D printing” only loosely corresponds to our common
image of printing. It may, however, revolutionize the way we define and
interact with manufacturing.

Chief among the proponents of this view is The Economist, speculating
in a February cover story that the technology “has the potential to
transform manufacturing because it lowers the costs and risks,” thus
opening it to smaller players. It’s not hard to see this line of logic.
Just picture a local craftsman able to make his own customized bicycle
using parts created from his printer.

“3D printing will for sure be a new mode of manufacturing,” says Peter
Weijmarshausen, the CEO of Shapeways, which creates 3D objects for
consumers. “People are no longer only happy with mass-produced products
that all look the same. That is just what mass production has given
them. With 3D printing you can produce en masse custom and personalized
products at perhaps almost the same prices.”
The Cost

At the moment, 3D printing is more of a curiosity than a threat to the
status quo. One roadblock holding up the revolution is cost. For
example, Z Corp’s 3D printers range from $14,900 to $59,900 in the U.S.
It may be steep but the costs balance out, says Scott Harmon, Z Corp’s
vice president of business development. “More important than the
purchase price is the operating cost,” Harmon said. The total expense
for finished models is $2 to $3 per cubic inch.

The prices are likely to come down over time, and new materials are
being used for 3D printing. Shapeways, for instance, added stainless
steel in 2009, glass in 2010 and last month, silver to its printers.
Moreover, larger manufacturers are coming on board, including Clark’s,
the British shoe brand, which this month began using Z Corp’s 3D
printers for prototyping.

Harmon says his customers come from a variety of industries, including
mechanical design, education, architecture, retail and entertainment.
While architects and mechanical designers usually use 3D printing to
make prototypes, many of the firms, including Shapeways,Jujups and
i.materialise.com, basically act like a Kinko’s for 3D objects —
consumers send in their designs and the companies print/manufacture
them. For instance, FigurePrints, a Seattle company, makes 3D replicas
of Xbox Live avatars and World of Warcraft characters.

Sculpteo, a French firm, offers more options. The company can make a 3D
figurine of you or someone else from a picture and also creates custom
objects using 3D designs in software programs like sketchup and 3ds.
Clement Moreau, CEO and co-founder of Sculpteo, says the price for such
objects ranges from $20 to $2,000, depending on the size. “We have two
kinds of customers — consumers and professionals, mostly mass-market
artists,” he says. Moreau started the company in 2009 in order to make
3D printing available to a wider audience.
Looking to the Future

3D printing will eventually infiltrate the market, even though Z Corp’s
Harmon doesn’t see that happening for a while. Harmon says the
evolution is already underway: “What 3D printing will do in the short
term is give business owners and consumers new kinds of products that
can’t be made using traditional techniques,” he says. “As 3D printing
generates scale with these new products, it will become increasingly
price- and quality-competitive with traditional manufacturing
techniques for a broader array of products.”

Click through the photo gallery below for a look at some of the 3D
printers and the objects they’re able to create. What do you think? Let
us know in the comments.

Z Printer 650

Z Printer 650 from Z Corp., the company's top printer. It retails for

Z Printer 650

Another view of Z Corp.'s Z Printer 650.

The 3D Printing Process

This excerpt from a Z Corp. white paper on 3D printing explains how the
models go from CAD to 3D objects.

System Overview

This Z Corp. document offers a deeper dive into the guts of the printer.

The Printing Cycle

Z Corp's 3D printers work with powder, which eventually solidifies.

The Build Chamber

This illustration shows how the objects are "printed," layer by layer,
using powder.


Z Corp. currently offers three types of materials for 3D printing
ranging from salt and water to two-part, high-strength resin.

Bit Cross

This item was made by Shapeways. It was created by Michiel Cornelissen.

Color It Wiggle the Dog

A dog, created by Shapeways.

iPad Cover

An iPad cover created by 40 West.

Over the Top Puzzle

A puzzle created by artis: Oskar van Deventer.

iPod Tray

An iPod tray created by 40 West.


A timekeeper created by Aeron203.

More About: 3d printer, 3D printers, 3d printing, Gadget, printer,
tech, trending, z corp

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By Alexander Somma
Sent to you by outofpaper via Google Reader: Growing Human Organs —
Dr. Anthony Atala Blows the Minds of a TED Audience via Singularity Hub
by David Hill on 3/15/11
Dr. Atala builds a case for the future of regenerative medicine layer
by layer

If there was ever a point in your career to unleash your inner
magician, it’s at a TED conference, hands down. TED has emerged as the
premier global event for satiating the intelligentsia’s appetite for
the cutting edge and has made overnight rock stars out of numerous
speakers. This year has turned out to be no different and may very well
be Dr. Anthony Atala’s coming out event as he brashly demonstrated the
tissue regeneration technology he has been working on for 20 years by
using a 3D printer to generate a kidney on stage. Dr. Atala is THE man
in regenerative medicine and a favorite at Singularity Hub, where we’ve
profiled his work previously, but this year he went all out. We just
had to provide an update on what he pulled out of his hat at TED.

In case you haven’t heard of him, Dr. Atala is the director of the Wake
Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Chair and Professor of
Urology, and a surgeon. He has spent 20 years working in the area of
regenerative medicine – in other words, he is growing human organs.
Reiterating some of his points from the TEDMED talk he gave in January
of 2010 but under a time constraint, Dr. Atala can only give a zoo-tour
treatment of years of research in his TED talk. He first shows an
artificial heart valve that beats, followed by an engineered human
bladder that was generated from a scaffold sutured together to match a
3D image of the organ. The scaffold was coated with patient cells and
incubated for a few weeks in an oven at physiological conditions to
generate a new bladder. Next, he shows the underlying vasculature of a
liver that was produced by the washing away of cells from a salvaged
liver, which can later serve as a template for patient liver cells to
grow on. Finally, he turns to desktop ink-jet printers in which cells
replace the ink and layer by layer, a 3D object can be printed in 40
minutes, such as a piece of bone implanted in a real patient. He then
casts the vision of the future in which new 3D printers can be designed
where a scanner would first create a relief-like map of a patient’s
wound and then printing would be done directly on the patient to build
up the layers of the regenerated tissue. Check out Atala’s TED talk

At the two-thirds mark in his talk, Dr. Atala definitely had the
audience’s interest, so it was time to build up the show stopper. He
starts by saying, “90% of the patients on the transplant list are
actually waiting for a kidney. Patients are dying every day because we
don’t have enough of those organs to go around.”

He describes how they reconstruct the entire volume of a kidney from CT
scans of patients, something that is becoming increasingly popular when
engineering replacements for the body, and this information is
processed to create scans of single layers, much like the slices from
an MRI. These scans become the instructions for how the layers of cells
are to be printed to generate a patient-specific kidney. Dr. Atala then
reveals that there happens to be a printer on the stage and is about
halfway through the 7-hour task of printing the kidney prototype. To
show the audience what a bioengineered kidney looks like, the finished
product is brought out that has the appearance of a raw chicken breast,
but then again, it is made out of real human cells. When he shows the
kidney to the audience, it gets its own applause. And showing it off is
important because ratcheting up public attention about both the
supply-demand problems of organs and efforts toward novel solutions not
only justifies the funding of scientific research, but offers hope for
many who are facing the prospect of joining the transplant list, even
if this kidney is experimental and a clinical version is in the

Now the search for new technologies to restore functional tissue has
been possible because of three developments in the field, which Dr.
Atala mentioned earlier in his talk. First, he highlighted that the
challenge of designing suitable biomaterials for organ engineering.
Biomaterials are important because they are shaped into a 3D scaffold
which is then coated with actual patient cells one layer at a time to
rebuild the organ. Second, he pointed out that it used to be difficult
to grow human cells outside of the body, but numerous advances have
made this trivial for most cells, with a few notable exceptions,
including liver, pancreatic, and nerve cells. Finally, Dr. Atala stated
that one of the greatest challenges in bioengineering has been
recreating the vasculature of organs, but new fabrication techniques
with biomaterials allows for vessels to be constructed. He even showed
a slide from work in 1996 of a diseased and regenerated vessel in an
actual patient using the biomaterial technology they developed.

While much of the media is focusing on the printed kidney in Dr.
Atala’s hands, and erroneously reporting that it was a functional
kidney, this was not his finale.

The wow moment came after a short video about Luke Massella, now a
communications major at the University of Connecticut. As a child, he
was born with spina bifida. At 10 years old and after a dozen
surgeries, he agreed to an experimental surgery to receive a
regenerated bladder from his own cells. He explains how after the
surgery he became a wrestler and has been able to have a normal life.
The video ends, the audience gives a standing ovation, and humbly Dr.
Atala thanks the audience. That’s when the big reveal happened. Luke
walks out on stage and talks about the experience in more detail, even
getting choked up at one point reflecting on what the surgery meant for
him. And this is why Dr. Atala is the man. He has spent a career
developing tissue-fabricating technologies and his work is gaining more
traction as the advances blow people away. But in the end, it’s about
changing the course of a single individual’s life. While we’re in an
era that is shaped by emergent technologies and the next big things,
researchers like Dr. Atala that fuel innovation out of a tenacious
desire to help people are the kind of minds we need at the helm.

Dr. Atala began his presentation saying, “There’s actually a major
health crisis today in terms of the shortage of organs,” and laid out
the scope of the crisis: “In the last ten years, the number of patients
requiring an organ has doubled, while in the same time, the actual
number of transplants has barely gone up.” With an aging population,
this divergent trend is bound to continue so work in bioengineered
organs is not just a cool demonstration of futuristic technology — it
is desperately needed.

[Image: TED]

[Source: TED, Principles of Regenerative Medicine]
Related Posts:
- Extraordinary TEDMED Video About Growing New Organs
- Tengion - The Company That Will Grow You a Custom Organ
- Growing Organs in the Lab
- Wake Forest Lab Creates First Liver Using Human Cells
- Tengion IPO Unspectacular - What Do Investors Want?

Things you can do from here:
- Subscribe to Singularity Hub using Google Reader
- Get started using Google Reader to easily keep up with all your
favorite sites

By Alexander Somma

By Alexander Somma
For any one who liked my earlier linux/ubuntu link http://ping.fm/SIsdD

By Alexander Somma
For anyone thinking about jumping into linux http://ping.fm/gKgDS

By Alexander Somma
ug... In bead feeling sick while on March Break.

By Alexander Somma
So frustrated with VHS I'm programming a tool to extract my data http://ping.fm/XsIp6