3D printing takes shape

3D printing takes shape

Summary: Take a tour of items made possible by virtual 3D printing provider Shapeways, which is one of the service and hardware companies bringing 3D printing to small businesses

TOPICS: Hardware

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  • Developments in 3D printing, which used to be extremely expensive and only in reach of heavy industry, are putting the technology in the hands of the public and small businesses. HP aims to deliver a 3D printer later this year, and manufacturers catering to hobbyists are starting to push out products.

    If those machines are still too expensive — mainstream models can cost around £10,000 — then there are several companies that will print out 3D models of a design submitted online.

    One of these online 3D printing service providers, Shapeways, announced that it has received $5m (£3.2m) in funding and has moved its headquarters from Eindhoven in the Netherlands to New York. The service, which is two-year-old spinoff of Royal Philips Electronics's Lifestyle Incubator, lets people put together their own designs, which they upload for Shapeways to print out and ship.

    Photo credit: Shapeways

  • There are two ways that 3D printers can produce a model: by chipping away at a block of material or by building it up layer by layer.

    Shapeways uses the second method for its products, such as this spiral in white matte glass. It uses several different kinds of printers in its business, including Eos, Objet and Z Corp machines.

    Photo credit: Shapeways

Topic: Hardware

Karen Friar

About Karen Friar

Karen Friar is news editor for ZDNet in the UK, based in London. She started out in film journalism in San Francisco, before making the switch to tech coverage at ZDNet.com. Next came a move to CNET News.com, where she looked after west coast coverage of business technology, and finally a return to her homeland with ZDNet UK.

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