Mark Ganter, professor of mechanical
engineering and co-director, Solheim Rapid
Prototyping Lab, University of Washington
1. Objet ( objet.com), the first multi-material printer.
2. The American Society for Testing and Materials
(ASTM) now has a formal working group on rapid
3. Open source printers like RepRap ( reprap.org),
Fab@Home ( fabathome.org), and MakerBot
( makerbot.com) are really democratizing RP.
4. The new materials coming out of our lab. Like
printing in glass!
5. The idea of open sharing or open innovation
exchange in RP. Traditionally RP has been very
6. Really high-quality free software like MeshLab
( meshlab.sourceforge.net) and MiniMagics
7. The fact that more people are getting involved as
the price of entry is coming down.
Lenore Edman, Evil Mad Scientist (EMS) Labs
and CandyFab, an open source 3D printer for
The burgeoning business of printing objects for
those without printers, for example Shapeways
( shapeways.com), is exciting. This allows you to
print your own objects, even if you don’t have your
own 3D printer. Or maybe you do, but you want
larger production runs, or the ability to sell your
designs without even printing them. These services
also enable printing in media like metals that aren’t
yet easily accessible to the home 3D printer.
Fig. F: Bathsheba Grossman’s amazing geometric
sculptures 3D-printed in metal. Fig. G: A multi-material (two different colors of glass) set of
Vitraglyphic glass pots produced on a 3D printer.
The Vitraglyphic process combines finely powdered
glass and binding materials.
Windell Oskay, EMS Labs and CandyFab
I cannot overemphasize how cool I think the blossoming world of Thingiverse ( thingiverse.com) is,
where folks share their 3D designs so others can
download and print them out. Once you have a 3D
printer, what are you going to print?
The thing that has me really excited is the emergence and success of maker-oriented job shops
with low cost of entry. Services such as Shapeways
that let anyone fab designs without significant setup
costs are a huge advance.
Maybe I can’t afford an exotic-car-priced laser
sintering machine that makes incredible 3D objects,
but I can use one for just a few dollars. The precision
and quality of parts that are fabbed this way are
shockingly good. Laser cutting is also available from
similar online services these days — like Pololu
( customlasercutting.com) and Ponoko — making it
so that just anyone can start fabbing.
This situation reminds me of desktop publishing in
the late 1980s: nobody had their own professional-grade laser printer, but the copy shop down the
street had one that you could use for a few bucks.
It’s 20 years later. The copy shop is farther away, but
feels closer, and they’ve got wonderful new lasers.
Stands to reason that we’ll each have one at home
20 years from now.
Read more of our favorite 3D enthusiasts’ recommendations at makezine.com/21/stateoftheart.
Gareth Branwyn is editor-in-chief of Make: Online.