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After midnight, the Klock Werks Kustom Cycles store was dark and almost silent (kustomcycles. com)in Mitchell, S. D.
The only sound was the muffled hum from the box, which looked like a crossover between the dormitory fridge and the Xerox machine.
Behind the compartment of transparent glass, this device
Stratasys prodigy 3-D printer -
Build a complex shape with plastic, all curves and spaces.
When he arrived at his store in the morning, Brian Klock went to the printer and opened the glass compartment.
He carefully removed the bracket and took out a completely rotating part of the machine --
plastic housing that slides neatly between custom metal handles
He has been studying motorcycles including fuel meters, speedometers and other dials.
All that's left to do is paint it.
Klock has already Virtual 3-
He made a precise physical model in his computer.
He used a process similar to nature's construction of sandstone, putting down a thin layer of sandstone at a time.
There are two basic methods.
One involves 'printing '(
Through an inkjet process)
Fine liquid adhesive
Powder layer of plaster.
Another uses a nozzle to deposit a molten polymer layer on a supporting structure.
In stores like Klock, this part can be used as is or as a prototype made of metal parts.
High ten years ago-
Terminal printers like Klock cost $120,000 or more.
They are primarily employed by companies such as Logitech and Boeing to quickly test prototypes for a variety of products from computer mice to military aircraft.
But the cost of the technology has been falling rapidly.
The cheapest business today 3-
The D printer costs about $20,000, making it affordable for a variety of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Klock was an early adopter.
He bought his prodigy machine last year for $60,000 and said it had paid for itself many times.
He can design lightweight motorcycle parts, test them and make changes faster
And the effort is much less.
His competitors can use manual tools or standard automatic cutting machines.
year later, Klock said, his business grew by more than 150%, and he received inquiries from around the world about his products.
Klock used his 3-
But John Braun of Phoenix --
The project manager of a telecom company was very excited about the technology and he built a brand
Around its new company.
He learned Rapid Prototyping at a family party.
On 2003, someone showed him a paragraph-
D printer running.
'He bugged,' his wife Dena recalled . '.
He is fascinated.
'Brauns immediately started talking about what business they would do with it.
They have a few ideas.
Jewelry making, medical printing
Before building modeling.
But when they try to buy their own machine from company Z(zcorp. com)
Stratasys competitorsstratasys. com)
They hit a roadblock.
Z is not usually sold to small businesses and must believe what Brauns calls the alchemy model (alchemymodels. com)
It was true before they got a check for $50,000.
After the deal was completed, the couple began selling their ideas to local construction companies, most of which had never even heard of the technology.
'We have been at the forefront,' Braun said . ' He quit his day job a month ago and worked full time. Time of alchemy
The Spectrum Z510 printer, one of the fastest printers on the market, allows alchemy to make several models every day.
Traditional model manufacturers usually take a few weeks to craft prototypes with cardboard or balsa wood.
Although modelers may increase their own artistic prosperity, computers --
The generated copy of the format shows more details and can be modified without having to start from scratch.
Of course, 3-
D printers can't do anything without a virtual blueprint.
Braun took a college course in computers.
Help design start, but he says most of his knowledge is self-taught.
'It took me months to learn to create something really good,' he said . '.
You don't need a CAD degree to start 3-
D. printing business, however.
Even in little Mitchell, Klock was able to find a CAD-savvy employee to turn things around
The perfect napkin fantasy motorcycle turns into a computer model.
Now he's doing it himself-
'This is the same as learning to paint on a computer,' he said . '
'This is a learning curve.
'With the development of the 3-3 Market, this curve should become less steep
D the growth of printers and the simplification of software by manufacturers. 'Three-
D print will follow 2-
D. high print
Terminal technology available to the public, 'said Tom Clay, CEO of Z.
'It will become easier, faster and more affordable.
'In the end, construction companies can start printing their own 3-D models.
But Braun says he's not worried.
He believes there is a need for someone to teach architects how to use their new equipment.
At the same time, his business is booming.
He wants his two.
Next year, the company will sell models worth $350,000. And if the 3-
D. print market balloons as 2-
In the print market 80 years ago, he bet someone would be the next Kinko --
It could be him.
He wanted to serve a variety of small businesses, from electric tool parts to statues of Second Life figures, and he did it.
Klock's ambition is more modest.
'I'm lucky to have enough cognitive skills here to master the technology,' he said . '. 'Three-
D is not needed for stealth bombers.
It can be something as simple as a motorcycle. ' HOW 3-
Printer for computer workaided-
Design program conversion 2-D or 3-
Convert the image to a format compatible with the printer.
Sending images to the printer takes a few minutes to hours
Create it layer by layer with plastic.
Remove the finished object from the printer, immerse it in the 'penetration agent' for hardening, and then paint it.