HP Releases Its First 3-D Printer


The 3-D printing phenomenon is inching closer to the mass market.

It was a year ago when Boise Weekly sat down with teams of staff members from rural Idaho libraries who had convened in Boise to learn how to master 3-D printing and share that knowledge with residents in every corner of the Gem State. The librarians were even granted their own 3-D printers that had been built or repurposed with, get this, parts printed by previous incarnations of 3-D printers.

And it turns out that the Treasure Valley has had a robust 3-D printing community

“Absolutely; there are a lot of us building 3-D printers in Boise,” said Davis Ultis, general manager of Boise Reuseum, who hosts something called Open Lab Idaho at the Boise facility billed as a “community hackerspace and makerspace … for hackers, computer geeks, engineers, circuit benders, crafters, tinkerers, programmers and artists.”

Enter Hewlett-Packard, which obviously smells a major business opportunity. HP has unveiled it first commercial 3-D printer, dubbed “Multi Jet Fusion,” for about $10,000. HP revealed its device at a New York trade show. But don’t expect one under the Christmas tree. HP says its Multi Jet Fusion printer will hit store shelves in 2016. By the way, it’s as big as an office copy machine.

Soon the Printer Will Come to You


Tomonori Shindou, Nikkei Computer

Fuji Xerox Co Ltd tested a printer that not only prints documents on paper but autonomously moves around a room like the Roomba robot cleaner for delivering it.

Fuji Xerox used a prototype of the robot in a building located in Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, in July and August 2014 in cooperation with Tokyu Land Corp for operation tests. Visitors to the lounge of the building used it for free.

The printing of documents is carried out via an Internet browser. Each desk in the lounge has a smart card on which a URL for printing is written. When the URL is accessed with a browser and a file is dragged and dropped in the browser window, an instruction to print out the file (print job) is sent to the robot.

When the robot receives a print job, it automatically begins to move toward the desk being used by the person who sent the order. Because it knows where in the lounge it is running, it stops near the desk.

The print job starts only after the user holds the card up to the robot. Therefore, the printed paper does not come out when the robot is moving in the lounge. As a result, business papers, etc will not be seen by others even in a public space like a lounge.

The robot houses a color laser printer of Fuji Xerox. It can handle sheets of up to A4 size. And it is the company’s smallest printer. On the top of the robot, a tablet computer is mounted. When the user presses the “start moving” button displayed on it after the printing job is done, it automatically goes back to the “home position” in a corner of the lounge.

Because the battery of the robot lasts for a day, it does not need to be charged in the home position.

For the autonomous movement function, the robot uses the “Lidar” sensors, which use laser to measure the three dimensional shapes of surrounding objects. While conventional radar devices use radio waves, the Lidar uses light (laser) instead so that more detailed information can be obtained in the range of several tens of meters.

The robot can automatically make a three-dimensional map of the lounge. If it is manually moved around a room at the time of introduction, a map for autonomous operation is made in the robot. It is not necessary to set up “markers” to be detected by sensors. When the robot detects an object that does not exist in the map, it sees the object as a human and selects a route so that it can avoid the person.

25% of Men Scream Abusively at Their Printers

 (PC World)

In one of the more entertaining printer surveys we’ve seen recently, HP polled 1051 office workers in 2013 to find out ‘how Australians use their printers’. The research, conducted online by Lonergan Research, came out with all sorts of interesting numbers about waiting times and extra wages, but it also found that up to 25 per cent of males are most likely to shout verbal abuse at office printers, while 23 per cent of females are mostly likely to ‘stroke the printer with words of encouragement to make it print faster’.

HP supplied the information on the same day that it released its new range of enterprise inkjet printers, which it claims are a real alternative to laser printers, capable of offering up to twice the print speed of comparable-class lasers.

HP’s findings claim that an employee spends five minutes waiting for a document to print every day, and waits at the printer for up to 23 hours per year. Queenslanders spent the most time at the printer than workers in any other state.

Respondents said that printers are often the most overlooked equipment when it comes to office upgrades, with 73 per cent of workers claiming their computer was upgraded more frequently, and 47 per cent claiming their printer was over three years old. Of all the states, printers are upgraded the least in NSW and ACT.

Workers in NSW were mostly likely to be affected by office rage caused by printers, with up to 60 per cent of employees admitting to using violence against a printer (probably in a bid to get it upgraded). Queenslanders were the most patient.

HP Designjet 3D Printer Now On Sale

By Clay Dillow

Remember back in January when HP announced it would bring a tabletop 3-D printer to market, at a place and time to be named later? That place and time just became a quite a bit less ambiguous. Today Stratasys, the company that is manufacturing the device for HP, announced that it has shipped the first units of the HP-branded Designjet 3D fabrication machines, which will be available in May — but only in Europe.

The Designjet 3D is based on Stratasys’s Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology, which turns three-dimensional CAD drawings into tangible prototypes by extruding partially molten ABS plastic in extremely fine layers one atop the other, forming the entire 3-D model in a single piece from the ground up. Designjet 3D will print in ivory-colored plastic only while Designjet Color 3D will print single-color parts in up to eight different colors (we’re not sure why you can’t just put a different hue of ABS plastic in the Designjet 3D).

Aimed at businesses large and small as well as educational institutions and individual inventors, the idea is to offer a point of entry into 3-D printing for those who want to prototype in-house directly from their computers. That kind of convenience can save a lot of time and money on product development, but it also comes with a sizeable up-front cost.

In our earlier coverage to speculated that the price of HP’s printer would come in under $15,000 — the price of a similar printer recently released by Stratasys. But HP today announced that the Designjet 3D would retail starting at less than €13,000, or just under $17,500. Which means the price of entry into the 3-D club may still sit somewhere between unfeasible and pie-in-the-sky for many garage-shop hobbyists.

But the HP printer, by all appearances, seems to have one thing going for it that many commercially scaled systems do not — ease of use. A Designjet in the corner of the office would allow architects, engineers, product developers and the like to carry an idea through from concept to prototype without leaving their desks, culminating in a plastic 3-D model that they can put in the hands of higher-ups or prospective clients. It beats the alternative method of producing up various detailed drawings that are carefully crafted into a prototype by a skilled (and expensive) machinist, a process that can be a suck on time and budgets, especially if designers don’t get it exactly right the first time.

And, lest ye forget, while $17,000 is a big chunk of cash, Designjet 3D is still among the most affordable rapid prototyping systems out there for its size and capability. There are other options – the open-source, DIY MakerBot kit costs less than $1,000 and prints in the same material – but you have to build it. As far as something off-the-shelf is concerned, you’re not likely to do a whole lot better.

What’s really going to define whether the Designjet is a big step forward for 3-D printing is the quality of the prototypes, which we’ll surely hear much more about in coming weeks as the product hits desktops in the UK, Spain, France, Italy and Germany. For those of you not lucky enough to be in those inaugural markets, worry not; rest assured Designjet will be prototyping globally soon enough.

original article