Find out more about 3-D printing online. Here are some resources, as well as more information about the 3-D printer being sold in Oklahoma City, the MendelMax 2:
Maker's Tool Works
For information about Maker's Tool Works, the Oklahoma City-based company now selling the MendelMax 2 3-D printer, go to makerstoolworks.com.
The company's standard printer is $1,595 for a kit that buyers build themselves. Like many 3-D printers, the MendelMax can use several different types of plastic filament to print — including the botanically derived Polylactic Acid, or PLA, or the strong, petroleum-based acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Lego bricks use ABS, for example.
The filament to supply the printer costs $36 per kilogram, and a 1-inch by 1-inch by 1-inch solid cube would cost about 15 cents to print, Makers Tool Works CEO Jeff Davis said. The printer can print objects about 12 inches high and 8 to 9 inches wide. How many objects a spool of filament will print depends on the density of the print that people choose, similar to the “fast draft” or “best quality” settings choices available for paper printers.
Cube 3D printers are available beginning at $1,299 at Staples.com, but they are not yet in stores in Oklahoma City. It works out of the box and can print different colors of figures that are less than 5.5 inches cubed. PLA filament cartridges available in 16 different colors cost $49.99 and each can print about 13- to 14-midsized creations, the website says.
One of the early pioneers in desktop 3-D printing, Makerbot, has a robust website about 3-D printing at makerbot.com. Its Replica 2 printer costs about $2,200 and has a 16 cubic-inch build volume.
Makerbot also launched the Thingiverse website where people can download designs for their own 3-D printers. Check out the possibilities at www.thingiverse.com.
Thingiverse is the best way currently to find ready-made designs to print, although people with knowledge of computers can use software like AutoCAD, Blender or Google SketchUp, among others, to design their own objects.