The Pirate Bay, best known as a repository of copyright-violating Justified episodes and other audio, video, and software offerings that are not as fun as Justified, is expanding into something a little more legitimate: models for 3-D printers. The Pirate Bay is referring to these models as "Physibles."
I just stopped by MakerBot's far-flung booth somewhere in the back caverns of CES (I believe it may technically be in Arizona) to check out their new Replicator 3-D printer. Check out the video below--pretty sure that's a bust of Stephen Colbert being slowly brought to life with swirling circles of molten plastic.
We always love hearing from passionate, scientific-minded kids, and 13-year-old Riley Lewis, a burgeoning 3-D printer expert (and PopSci reader!) is certainly that. Riley showed interest in fabrication and Maker culture, so Deelip and 3D Systems hooked him up with a RapMan 3.1 3-D printer kit that he's set up at his Silicon Valley school--and Riley in turn has hooked his classmates into discovering the potential of 3-D printing with him.
Markus Kayser’s Solar Sinter project takes the desert’s two most abundant resources, sunlight and sand and puts them to work manufacturing glass objects. Kayser loads the sand into a solar-powered 3-D printer where it serves as the raw material for glass. In a process that’s fascinating to watch, concentrated sunlight replaces the laser typically found in 3D printers, melting sand (instead of resin) in patterns to form an abstract sculpture or, more usefully, a bowl.
Since the first 3-D printer was invented by Charles Hull in 1984, machines have seen vast improvements in speed and accuracy. Today’s best 3-D printers operate much like a standard inkjet, spraying millions of droplets of polymer to build an object layer by layer. But there’s a hitch: Most 3-D printers use only use a single material at once, thus each product they produce can be just one color or consistency.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.