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."
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.
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.
Some form of jig is a practical necessity for fabrication in volume, or when dealing with tight tolerances, or both. While it can seem like a lot of extra work, making a jig is within the grasp of the average home builder and can actually save significant time.
3-D printing is finally hitting the mainstream. Hewlett-Packard, maker of many of the ubiquitous inkjet and laser printers adorning office spaces everywhere, plans to broadly market a printer that can turn out three-dimensional models from computer aided design programs. It can be yours at the highly ambiguous price point of somewhere less than $15,000.
You can stop pounding on that anvil now; steel fabrication has moved onto the web. Shapeways, a company that made its name offering custom 3-D printing in plastic and resin, will now print your designs in stainless steel. All you have to do is upload your brilliant CAD design (or pick from a range of stock items). Shapeways will print it out in cold, shiny steel, and mail it to you.