If the Future isn't now, it's _very_ soon

We had a thread I’ll not zombify, but Jay Leno is demonstrating a rapid prototype rig that’s pretty incredible:

What’s more is: The scanner to capture the part in question is $3000, the Printer to make a duplicate in ABS is $18000…that’s a factor of 10 reduction in price in the last 5 years or so.

Wow, that’s pretty awesome. What really amazed me was how the thing could print out machines with moving parts in one go with no subsequent assembly required! I got to see some pretty nifty rapid prototyping stuff on a couple of projects when I was in university, but I had no idea they could do things like that. :eek:

Great. Now I want one of those. :smiley:

Hah - you think that’s cool? Check THESEbabies out!

That’s spectacularly cool, but I’m puzzled about something – how is the “printer” able to create working, moving parts when it’s not possible for the scanner to see everything? For example, the wrench – there are parts of the screw mechanism which are going to be hidden from the laser at all times, so the computer shouldn’t know what’s going on in those parts.

Is it a matter of the rendering program making assumptions about pieces like that? If it sees 95% of the screw mechanism, it could make a reasonable guess as to the other 5%. Is that the case here, or is does the operator have to make adjustments after the scan to show the program what it missed?

I suspect there’s two things at work here, I don’t think the scanner would give you the crescent wrench, I think that was a cad/cam model.

Yeah, the 3D model used to create the wrench (and the steam engine) was probably much more complex than what you would get just from a 3D surface scanner, and would need to be at least partially created using 3D design software.

Which you could then download for a fee (or blatantly pirate)

That’s gonna be wierd when the whole intellectual property/DRM crap we have with music and movies extends itself to the real world.

I doubt you’ll be able to pirate a BMW 325…but what if you could?