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.
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.