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  • 11.05.10

3-D Printing: Now Available in XL

Shapeways introduces a new selective laser sintering machine that manufactures objects THIS BIG.

3-D Printing: Now Available in XL

3-D printers have revolutionized small-scale independent product design. Now, Shapeways wants to super-size it.

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The Dutch rapid-prototyping juggernaut recently acquired a shiny new selective laser sintering machine capable of popping out stuff that’s more than twice the size of what you could make before. The printer, which works by building 3-D objects layer by layer, manufactures pieces that are up to 28 inches wide by 23 inches tall and 15 inches deep — about as big as a fish tank.

That’s a huge deal for Shapeways’s designers. Used to be, if you wanted to SLS something much larger than a shoebox, you had to print it out in pieces then somehow paste ’em all together. Now, you can create objects, whether a lamp or the world’s biggest 3-D printed Rubik’s Cube, that are totally seamless. It’s also perfect for architects, who can rapid-prototype complete 3-D models quickly and easily (instead of forcing the poor intern to do everything by hand).

One drawback: You lose some of the resolution you get with more compact machines. But it involves a fraction of a millimeter and it won’t matter much, unless you’re printing something like this.

[Via Shapeways]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.

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