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21 May 2013 - 01:58 AMSo this past weekend I had a chance to attend Maker Faire, the Geek/Hippie/DIY event that happens every year in Silicon Valley, and sometimes in other places as well. One of the things that was all over the place at the Faire this year was 3D printers, with people turning out all kinds of things with them. I had a look at a few at work, and a chance to touch and play with their products. They're still a bit grainy, the printers take a long time to make things, the process is complex, and they're expensive. But they're also solid, good quality, and amazingly versatile. Besides this, of course, every technology starts out as expensive, slow, complex, and clunky, and over time (not a lot of time, really) ends up cheap, fast, easy to use, and exponentially better at what it does. I'm sure, for example, most of us remember the days when anyone who wanted to make any decals needed a dedicated, expensive, professional-level printshop. Not so anymore.
So, while the technology might not exactly be ready for prime time quite yet, it's probably not too early to start wondering how 3D printing will eventually affect modeling. It will almost certainly be not very long at all before we see the first aftermarket manufacturers adopt it. After that... what? It's possible that the technology will eventually get to the point where everyone can afford one, and we can simply print our own custom parts, or even our own entire kits, in our garage. Could aftermarket manufacturers, or even kit manufacturers, eventually become "fabless" like ARM Holdings, and end up as companies that sell downloadable instruction files so that you can print their kits yourself? Would this eventually lead to piracy of these files? To open-source model kits or parts? What is they were user-modifiable? If you could simply correct any inaccuracies in the file yourself before hitting "Print", would there even be a need for aftermarket manufacturers anymore?
So where is this going? Where could it go? What are the possibilities?
10 May 2013 - 08:01 AMWow... that's definitely some different engines on EP-AJD:
Quite a nice paint job too.
Here's the same airplane a couple years ago:
I wonder what anyone might know about these new engines. Also, that paint job has to be the hardest-to-airbrush one I can think of...
07 May 2013 - 06:54 AMMaverick and Iceman's days may be numbered - the completely autonomous X-47B Navy combat aircraft demonstrator made its first successful shore-based arrested landing on a runway at Pax River this weekend:
Full story from Wired:
03 May 2013 - 02:20 AMSo, I've been seeing these thin metal strips every so often in the streets since I was a little kid - they're a few inches long, maybe 1/16" wide, and made of some kind of rather hard iron or steel. But in all this time, I still have no idea what they actually are or how they end up in the street. With a lot of mechanically-inclined guys here, I thought I'd ask - does anyone know exactly what these things are?
22 April 2013 - 08:39 AMA report in US News and World Report this Friday says that the Osprey will soon get its first foreign customer, as Israel buys an undisclosed number of V-22s for an undisclosed price: