3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

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3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby Softimus Prime » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:37 am

Hi guys, I very rarely post here since I have nothing worthwhile to say most of the time but I came across this little piece of news about Staples beginning to introduce 3d printing machines to their stores.
http://www.kurzweilai.net/staples-3d-printing-service?

Right now the resolution of the prints are likely low and the costs are fairly high, but in the coming years both are sure to change. The sturdiness of the material is also yet to be seen, but resin 3d printers also exist and might supplement these machines in a few years.

What this means to me is that savvy modders will soon be able to print their own gun designs, alternate heads, modified hands, arms, doors, etc. and potentially even make them available to the community. I can't help but compare the cost of that 9 euro chess piece ine the promotional video to some of the expensive add-on kits like the classics cliffjumper, ultra magnus, and rodimus prime accessories that have been released in recent years; and part of me wonders if it can't be done cheaper already.
Looking a bit farther I can imagine some third party companies embracing this and cutting the costs of those very expensive metal molds needed to cast plastic AND all shipping fees. This one is still a few years off of course since the machines can't yet work in color or hold fine enough detail. It would be great to see $100 toys drop down to $10 files,$40 prints, and $.50 screws.
Further still, We might even see Hasbro embrace that same idea as shipping costs rise and the technology improves. Probably not likely for another decade at least though.

Maybe my head is in the clouds a bit but I can certainly see a technology like this having an impact on at least the fringes of collecting and modding.

Anyway, the whole thing was thought provoking to me and I hope it will spark some ideas with a few of you as well. I'll be going back to my usual lurking now.
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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby Mykltron » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:32 am

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I'm sorry to say that you're a bit behind the times! Shapeways already provides this service with various qualities of material. You can print your own design, buy a print of someone else's or even commission one from a designer.

I've got a few add-on parts and they're pretty good. Some customisers have been using them for some time.
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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby Softimus Prime » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:20 am

I am familiar with shapeways but they don't have a machine in every store of a major retail chain found worldwide. Their outfit is a more niche mail-order business and Isn't as likely to grow the technology quite as fast as this move staples is trying.
To me, this is one step removed from a home 3d printer. And since those things are super expensive, I'm happy to let some store pay for that expense. Plus, there's nothing quite like instant gratification right?
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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby Mykltron » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:56 am

Motto: "If I win again I'm still the champion. If you win HAH! that's just impossible.

Weapon: tea cup."
Interesting point. I've no idea what a printer looks like, I wonder if it's possible to watch the object take shape. Probably not, so there's probably nothing to watch :-(

Perhaps it will bring 3D printing into the public eye a bit more.
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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby triKlops » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:28 am

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i have been interested in shapeways for a while, only buying one or 2 pieces so far; but the depth of the designs and individual shops coupled with high quality printing materials is making them a stronger force every day within the fandom.
this move by staples is interesting, i am assuming they will run tests in most major metro markets before going whole hog on chainwide setup but to think this may be a norm at a local Staples is pretty intriguing.
mykltron, i do believe that there are view progress windows on a good portion of the machines, so yes being able to watch it being constructed should be possible.
i imagine, like a cnc machine, the window is necessary to catch flaws and mistakes before ruining the product or the machine.
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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby SJ21 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:24 pm

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This would be awesome. I would use that service a lot once they got the costs to a reasonable level.
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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby Anonymous. » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:38 pm

The meterial in 3D printers are just not up to the standard of what toy material needs to be. It's wax. I'm sure it might be interesting on home projects and what not but it's still a far way away from doing what an everyday TF collector would want it to do.

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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby Mykltron » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:23 am

Motto: "If I win again I'm still the champion. If you win HAH! that's just impossible.

Weapon: tea cup."
It's not wax but it's expensive to get quality that's worth owning. It's good for add-on parts but not much else.
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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby Mkall » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:22 am

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Mykltron wrote:It's not wax but it's expensive to get quality that's worth owning. It's good for add-on parts but not much else.

Aye, There's different materials out there depending on printer used. I'm waiting for quality home printing where colour can be mixed into the results. I might actually start wargaming if that could happen.
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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby Mykltron » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:41 am

Motto: "If I win again I'm still the champion. If you win HAH! that's just impossible.

Weapon: tea cup."
Mkall wrote:
Mykltron wrote:It's not wax but it's expensive to get quality that's worth owning. It's good for add-on parts but not much else.

Aye, There's different materials out there depending on printer used. I'm waiting for quality home printing where colour can be mixed into the results. I might actually start wargaming if that could happen.

Oh, you don't fancy painting 50,000 little soldiers exactly the same?
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Re: 3D printing affecting the future of mods and third parties?

Postby Mkall » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:27 am

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Mykltron wrote:
Mkall wrote:
Mykltron wrote:It's not wax but it's expensive to get quality that's worth owning. It's good for add-on parts but not much else.

Aye, There's different materials out there depending on printer used. I'm waiting for quality home printing where colour can be mixed into the results. I might actually start wargaming if that could happen.

Oh, you don't fancy painting 50,000 little soldiers exactly the same?

I can't say it's high on my list of interests.
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