Last time I went on about 3D Printers was back in October 2008. Time for an update.
What I found interesting is that there are some sub $1,000 models. Granted, most of those are Kickstarter projects, but it shows that these things are getting some traction in the geek hobby market.
That expanding base also means a greater number of programmed designs as people share their experiments.
One that is sure to cause a stir is Defense Distributed’s plan to design a 3D printable firearm. They have designed, and printed an AR-15 lower. They have put over 600 rounds though a firearm using that printed lower in a single day. They claim that it should be able to handle a 1,000 rounds.
The AR-15 was a good choice. It is one of the most popular civilian firearms in the US, and as Gun Geeks will tell you, it’s the general purpose PC of firearms. It is very modular, with the ability to change stocks and uppers easily. It also has a large market of add on accessories, including pink plastic parts for the female (or male who just likes pink) shooters.
The inter-changeable upper (which includes the barrel) is key. You can convert your .223 AR-15 to 5.55mm NATO, .308 Winchester, .22 LR or even .50 Beowulf. All the same firearm by current US regulations.
On the lower end of the 3D printing scale, is the EDoodler. A hand held devices that extrudes a steam of heated material that you can create whole pieces or parts of a larger object. This is another Kickstarter project which blew past its original goal of $30,000 pretty fast. They have pledges of over $2 million and still have three weeks to go for fundraising.
Going even lower end, you have InstaMorph. I know people who swear by this stuff for really Q&D projects. You heat the stuff up and then are able to mold it. When it cools, it hardens. Kinda like a gateway drug for 3D printing.
Get your hot iPad2 rumors here.
Some of the highlights:
- Slightly smaller
- better speakers
I have been looking at iPad apps for usability issues for the past few weeks. Here is a quick list of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good: IMDB, Scifi Wire, Adobe Touch
The bad: The buggy WordPress app
The Ugly: AP News
About the iPad itself, very slick, very cool/fun to use. On the down side, no SD slot, no USB, and Apple’s “walled garden.”
HP has been on a buying spree. They bought 3Com, and now they have just purchased a former 3Com company, Palm Corp. for $1.2 billion.
The article I linked talks about what HP could do with Palm’s webOS for mobile devices, including using it in netbooks and tablet devices.
What it doesn’t talk about is Palm’s patent portfolio, which could be worth the price of the sale alone.
An actual Film Camera spotted in the wild! The person with the camera was taking a photography class, and some of her assignments required an actual film camera to be used.
One rumor I’ve heard from an industry insider is that Hulu is working on an iPad-friendly version of its site that should be ready by the time the iPad hits the market. Hulu itself is still vague about its plans.
Hulu is a major source of online videos direct from the content providers (i.e. quality streaming videos instead of hacked, malware ridden stuff), so having it on the iPad will provide a lot of added value. I still hold that the apps customized to take advantage of the iPad will be a major factor in driving sales.
“I’m betting the Apple product announcement today will have a more positive effect on the economy than Obama’s attempt to rebrand himself on national TV tonight.”
It’s called the iPad and Apple is announcing their own bookstore, in direct competition with Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Update: Here are some details on the iPad. Pundits were wrong on the pricing. They were talking $1000.
The intro price is $499. That’s for 16 Gig and WiFi. The iPad comes in two basic flavors: WiFi & WiFi+3G.
Both models comes in 16, 32 and 64 Gig models. So here is the pricing
WiFi only: 16: $499 32: $599 64: $699
WiFi+3G: 16: $629 32: $729 64: $829
The announcement said that the iPad will run iPhone/iTouch apps, so you can load the Amazon Kindle app and read books from Amazon, as well as e-reader apps like Stanza and Bookshelf.
So it looks like that the tech rumor that there will be a lot of Kindles on e-Bay once these start shipping is probably on target.
The iPad won’t start shipping for 60 days, another 30 days after that for the 3G models.
AT&T is finally carrying an Android based phone, this one is made by Dell, and called the Mini 3. This phone has been selling overseas already, so the specs are pretty well known. 3.5-inch 640×360 display, Bluetooth, 3 megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, microSD, and GPS. Two things catch my eye, no WiFi and and microSD support. So that is the bad and good points right off the bat. No WiFi was one of the major complaints about the Crackberry Storm.
The inclusion of a microSD slot is a big, big plus. The lack of an additional memory source is the biggest strike against the iPhone hardware, IMNSHO.
The other new Android phone is Google’s own Nexus 1. We’ll see how long that name lasts. The estate of Philip K. Dick is already taking legal action against the name. Otherwise, this is an impressive bit of hardware. It sports a one-gigahertz processor, a 3.7-inch display, a five-megapixel camera, light and proximity sensors, and dual microphones that allow for noise cancellation. Woot! This phone also has a removable battery! The serious road warrior can pack a spare for emergencies. The phone itself only has 512 Meg of flash memory, but it comes with a 4 Gig microSD card. The phone will support up to 32 Gig in that slot, so expansion is available.
Power outlets with two USB power points. There are couple of spots in the house were this would be really useful, especially for charging iPhones. What is nice about this model is that the adapters don’t draw power when nothing is plugged in, unlike a wall wart.
The rumor is that these will run for $10 and be available in early 2010.
I found this interesting post on cleaning your coffee grinder.
If you aren’t drinking freshly ground coffee, you should be.
Ok, here is the tip from weeklyroast.com’s coffee blog, uncooked white rice.
A really great way to clean out your grinder is to use uncooked, white rice. If you use a blade grinder (and we highly recommend upgrading to a burr grinder!), fill it with white rice up to the blades. If you use a burr grinder, put about 2-3 teaspoons worth of white rice and set the burr grinder to a fine grind (espresso) setting and start grinding.
After you’ve finished grinding, you’ll notice immediately that large clumps of previously ground coffee are now clinging to the powdered, ground white rice and after dumping the grounds out, you should see spots you could never clean before coffee-ground free. The inside of the grinder should also be a lot cleaner than before as most of the old, rancid coffee oils also attached themselves to the white rice (they’re attracted to the starch in the rice – that’s why this technique works so well).
Repeat this process until the ground rice no longer has any black particles in it.