Pardon me if I remain in the skeptical corner. Once again, a potentially valuable tool or process is being buried in hype. What kind of metal properties will these sintered particulates (with some residual binder) have? How much will the kiln (mentioned so casually in the article, and not at all in the video) cost? (For anything other than solder it has to reach a whole lot higher temperature than your kitchen oven!) If you want two different metals in the same piece, what will the interface look like?
The problem with the hype about 3D printing is that it ignores all these and many other fundamental subtlties of materials processing (thermal history, mechanical working, etc. etc.). There are some applications for which these won't matter: most items of art don't depend on a precise annealing schedule, for example, nor do they need high purity or strength. But 3D technologies are being sold (hyped) as if these issues didn't exist. WHy would one make a motor (which uses several different metals and insulators) this way instead of buying one with optimized properties for a small fraction of the cost?
I agree with Jayna...this 3D printing PR is getting really annoying...do you really expect me to design my own chair and print it at home for few thousands dollars??? and even at that price it would be very lousy chair made out of metal or plastic and no movable parts not to mention sophisticated functions like massage or heating...Kris
First, you have to be capable of imagining where a rapid prototyping machine has its strong points. Obviously you aren't going to spend 2,000 for the ability to print a chair to sit on. However, if you were someone who designed chairs regularly, 2000 might be a small cost to be able to spit out a computer modeled prototype right there in your home at a fraction of the cost of a prototype house.
I personally use mine for custom attachments to gaming controllers for people who have physical disabilities. The cost to print one (that is actually usable) is nothing compared to the thought of tooling and minimum orders.
There is TONS of hype out there. However, there are also legitimitely great things happening as well.
@Max...re lathes...a friend of mine had a Myford ML7 (3.5" swing, 20" bed) which I spent many happy hours playing on (and did some useful stuff!) For really small stuff (less than 2'' x about 5" or 6") there was a thing called the Emco Unimat. But both are expensive - I saw a Myford for $1250 on Ebay and a Unimat for $500+. I guess there are other things these days, with CNC no doubt. I so need to win the lotto......