3d Printers. In shops. In the UK. Today

Continuing the discussion from 1x08: We Don’t Need Roads:

[quote=“sil, post:1, topic:130”]
<li>The second half of our predictions for 2014: Bryan and Stuart give theirs</li>[/quote]

Check this out.


Currys, one of the biggest electrical chains in the UK (think Best Buy, etc) sell 3d printers! today! I am astounded! Does this mean that @bryanlunduke wins, because he predicted this, or he loses because it was already happening when he predicted it?

Naturally , he should lose because not us.

Could someone please explain to me the use case(s) for a 3D printer in the home? As cool as I think that is, I’m not sure what I would be printing, day to day. Legos?

as far as I can tell from listening to 3d printing aficionados, what you will print is… 3d printers.

At work we had a talk a couple of months ago from 3D printer geeks. Some examples of the things they’d printed included a new drain to fix his kitchen sink, and a brio->duplo connector for childrens’ toy mash-ups.

@sil This is a leaf blower…

Stuart is sort-of right; 3D printer owners often spend their time printing more bits of 3D printers :slight_smile: But since I built my Mendel90 from scratch, I’ve also printed anti-child clips for our cupboard doors, a replacement clip for the side of our son’s cot (which is a very odd shape), a “patch” to a broken plastic toy kitchen to fix a ripped-out hinge hole, a stand for my tablet so I can do videoconferencing while still using my main PC, and so on. http://blog.gerv.net/category/3d-printing/


Agreed that all these things are doable, but you have to work out what shape the replacement clip or toy patch needs to be, by eyeballing it, and then somehow draft that shape on the computer and then send it to the printer. (Obviously things like tablet stands, being in some sense a standard part, are probably on thingiverse, but odd-shaped custom cot clips are not.) Wouldn’t it be easier to just buy a block of plastic and a sharp knife and carve out the shape you want? If 3d printers produced beautifully polished elegant looking things, but they do not in my experience; anything I’ve seen that’s 3d printed has the air of a badly-thrown pot about it anyway, so you’re not gaining much in terms of fit and finish here.

Actually, the cot clip was the first thing I printed where I was fairly sure it would have been hard to do some other way. See http://blog.gerv.net/2013/05/printing-a-cot-cli/ . As you can see, that might be hard to whittle out of a block of plastic - and if you whittle too much in one place, you’d have to start again!

I worked out the shape by scanning in the remaining intact clip and drawing round the result, then using OpenSCAD to “extrude” the outline into a shape. The picture was out of focus but it did the job.

Objects printed on my 3D printer, being self-built, definitely have a rough and ready air about them (more tuning required! ;-), but I’ve seen very good quality from others’ printers and from things like a MakerBot.

Interesting blog post! I am still mostly inclined toward the thought that a thing printable with a 3d printer is probably more easily creatable with some sort of hardenable Play-Doh, unless someone’s already put a model up publicly to use. Did you submit said created model to somewhere public? (Note: not an accusation that you should have done so; just curiosity.)

I think it needs to happen in North America somewhere for me to win. I feel like anything that happens in Europe is just a practice run for “the big game”. :slight_smile:

I didn’t submit the model anywhere; I thought it was so specialist as to not be worth it. (Specific to this model of cot, which they probably don’t make any more.) But that’s one of the great things about having a 3D printer - one can make things that only you need.

I do have some of that “hardened Play Doh” stuff they are now selling at B&Q for repairing things, but have not yet found a use for it. Given that I had to have 3 goes to get the clip exactly right (too large and it won’t fit; too small and it won’t support the weight of the side), I think trying to craft that sort of precision without a machine would be very difficult.

I certainly agree that in this, as in most other things, we’re ahead of you but it’s nice to see that you’ve found a way to rationalise it. :smile:

I think the Europeans are gonna love this comment… :wink:

The sales staff at Currys don’t know the difference between Volts and Watts… I can’t wait to watch them try to explain what a 3d printer is to the layman :smile:

Hmm, the last time I had to use the customer service (to get a laptop repaired under warranty) at PCWorld, there was a big banner proclaiming “KNOW HOW”. I left the two month experience with the distinct impression that not only did they not know how Volts were different to Watts, but that their “Know How” of arse from elbow probably left something to be desired.

“Good Morning Dave, after you’ve cleaned the poo off your arms, can you work the Returns Desk please?”

Hey, having the things appear in normal shops for normal people is Big Step Number One in widespread acceptance. Currys are no good at anything else either and yet they sell a lot of TVs :smile:

Good. I wrote that just for them. :smile:

Here is a question for the room. How long will it be before you can order some trinket from, let’s say Amazon, an then Amazon sends data to you system and what you ordered is printed on a 3D printer?

Minimum of five years. Very good question, though. This is the sort of service that smaller companies can’t provide, because you have to have a bunch of customer-unfriendly DRM-like things in place (which little companies don’t do because they can’t afford to be customer-unfriendly), you have to have enough money to basically create a market for a piece of hardware by selling millions of them at good rates, like the Kindle did (which little companies can’t do because they can’t afford to take a multi-million-dollar punt on it) and the hardware has to at least conceptually exist even if there’s no really successful product there (which home 3d printers, as discussed ad nauseam, do not yet, unless Amazon only sell you trinkets entirely made out of one piece of plastic with bumpy edges).

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