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We just got our first 3D printer in the office.

very simple little thing and very cheap circa $1600 (£1060)

Surely the future of manufacturing, we currently make(outsource) quite a few very complex parts in some exotic metals, parts that would be impossible to machine conventionally.

Im would like to resist but it's tempting to think that in the future, when I get a very poor quality casting for a part (figure head/ deck furniture) that I can model it and 3D print it.

It seems to defeat the point in some ways, however the finish results could be greatly improved.

This sort of cost also means it falls into the budget for the more serious home user.

I find this stuff really interesting, history in the making.

 

Nick

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Nick,

 

I think this will be a very interesting thing to keep an eye on.   I'm thinking of some of the fantastic computer 3d ship models I've seen on the site, and it seems like a natural for the next step to be printing them out.   You could print each plank and piece, and theoretically they would all fit together.   No more sawdust!

 

Surely, at the least all the metal castings and/or resin parts that come with kits could be made this way. 

 

And thinking of my current work on making deadeyes, how much easier it would be to simply print them out, in whatever size and quantity are needed!

 

Whether this is a good thing or not is another discussion!

 

Ron

Edited by rlb
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Being involved in model aircraft as well as wooden ship models, I've followed the progress in 3D printing with some interest.  There are already some individuals creating complete model aircraft (not just parts/fittings) using the technique.  Thusfar, these creations have been fabricated from composites.  But there is work being done on fabricating 'wood', of sorts.

 

I suspect progress will come faster then most of us expect.  The future is already here.

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It's early days for these things although even now I can see how useful they can be for model making. Much of the stuff I've seen from them though has been rather underwhelming considering all the hype about 3D printing. If development continues apace and the price goes down while the durability of finished items goes up then I expect they will be indispensable for many of us in the near future. What excites me most about them is wondering what type of items can be made with these things that could'nt easily be manufactured before.

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I've known about and have worked with 3-D prints in my "day-job" and agree the technology is very promising, but it's still got a ways to go. The prints are still pretty rough and need significant hand-work before it can be used on a model. In fact, I think we have one of the very few hobbies where craftsmanship will NOT be replaced by 3-D printing. Our hulls are made of wood, and there is no printable substitute for some nice Pear planking, and I doubt a printer will ever be able to do rigging.

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