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Recap: 3D Printing Demo by Cubify

Posted on the 26 June 2013 by Dwell @dwell
At Dwell on Design, 3D printing expert Scott Turner demonstrated how rapid prototyping technology is moving from heavy industry into the home. Photo

Scott Turner, a veteran of the rapid prototyping industry who's been working in the field since the mid-1980s, explains the history of 3D printing and its transition into the consumer marketplace.

One of the first times 3D Systems was welcomed into homes was through a January 1989 episode of Good Morning America that detailed stereolithography, or rapid prototyping.

Twenty-six years later the company is making waves in the 3D printing realm not for its innovations in industrial manufacturing, but in developing that technology for the consumer market. "The goal is to make 3D printing fun," Turner says of the Cube, the company's at-home 3D printer, which he developed from the ground up. So how does it work? Similar to how a standard printer lays ink onto a page, the Cube layers melted plastic to build an object in three dimensions. This is what it looks like when it's on (you'll notice that the stylus moves back and forth just like an inkjet printer):

In addition to making the printer that creates objects, 3D Systems also developed easy-to-use software that allows users to easily "sculpt" objects or create 3D objects from photographs or video. Here's how:

What the company has done is help democratize design, bringing simple manufacturing tools into the DIY and Maker communities and consumer market. Just as computing moved from business into homes in the 1980s and revolutionized the industry, "personal printing" is undergoing a similar transition. 3D Systems bills the device as a means for personal expression and a way to educate children about design, manufacturing, and technology. Time will tell if the technology takes off.


Dwell on Design visitors inspect objects printed on the Cube, a 3D printer.

Dwell on Design 2013 Cubify Panel

A standing room only crowd gathered at Dwell on Design to hear about 3D Systems' Cube, an at-home 3D pritner.

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