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Staples selling Cube 3D printer that prints ABS plastic

LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
http://www.staples.com/Cube-3D-Printers/product_SS2044291

For $1,299.99 you can now buy a 3D printer that will print anything up to 5.5" x 5.5" x5.5" in size.

It prints using either ABS or PLA, so it can use the same type of plastic as LEGO bricks.

Now the ABS cartridges that they sell are a tad expensive (anyone surprised there?), there is already a modification to use bulk material:

http://www.howmuchsnow.com/cube/

You can see at the bottom of that page two items that were printed with this printer.

Just like color printers 20 years ago, I'd expect that within 10 years these will be a few hundred dollars and even better quality.

While it probably won't compete with the production cost of injection molded LEGO, what a nice way to replace rare and expensive parts. This should be able to easily make those light bley levers for UCS Falcon, if you wanted them, or the light bley boat rigging (if you were willing to modify the design to use several parts rather than 1)
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Comments

  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    ^Regardless, it isn't Lego and it isn't the same quality of Lego. It is Luke buying those ShelbyCobra kit cars with the new Ford engines in them. It isn't a Shelby Cobra no matter how close to the real thing it is.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Also, I highly doubt that it is worth it to buy this machine to make expensive, out of production parts or rare parts. Even if the machine only costs a fraction of what they cost now, the material will cost more right?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Yes, that is true, but if you just need a replacement part or are just missing a part or two, it could be really handy.

    As far as the same quality, it might not be today, but that will change.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Since we are all about copywright infringements around here wouldn't duplicating a Lego part be against the law?
    Dougout
  • lilmonster777lilmonster777 Member Posts: 53
    oh boy i want this..
    yys4u
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Pitfall69 said:

    Also, I highly doubt that it is worth it to buy this machine to make expensive, out of production parts or rare parts. Even if the machine only costs a fraction of what they cost now, the material will cost more right?

    If you use the bulk spools of material, then the material cost is very low. To replace parts that cost several dollars, your cost of plastic would be a few cents.

    You have to see the future here a bit, this machine here, right now, is not the issue, but the fact that Staples is now selling them should be the starting dot on the wall, draw the line from here to a dot 10 years from now when they are $199 and the material is even cheaper and the precision is darn close to what mass-produced injection molding produces.
    Dougout
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    I totally understand. How is the quality of the part that comes out? Is it an exact replica?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Pitfall69 said:

    Since we are all about copywright infringements around here wouldn't duplicating a Lego part be against the law?

    No, copyright doesn't apply, that covers things like written works and art, this is in the area of patents, but even that doesn't apply for personal use items, you just can't sell something that is patented.

    But LEGO patents all ran out a very long time ago, so all you really can't do is put the LEGO logo on each part, since that is covered by trademark law.

    LEGO might have some current design patents that cover new part designs, if you really wanted to start selling parts, you'd be wise to check on that first.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    I think I would use it more to replace plastic pieces that break like knobs and the backs of remote controls.
    jasor
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    This might be helpful related to copyright, patents, trademarks, fair use, and public domain:

    http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/patentFARQ.html

    "What Are Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights? What is fair use? What is the public domain?

    According to Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed.),

    A patent is "The right to exclude others from making, selling, offering for sale, or importing an invention for a specified period (20 years from the date of filing), granted by the federal government to the inventor if the device or process is novel, useful, and nonobvious."

    A trademark is "A word, phrase, logo, or other graphic symbol used by a manufacturer or seller to distinguish its product or products from those of others. The main purpose of a trademark is to designate the source of goods or services. In effect, the trademark is the commercial substitute for one's signature. To receive federal protection, a trademark must be (1) distinctive rather than merely descriptive or generic; (2) affixed to a product that is actually sold in the marketplace; and (3)registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In its broadest sense, the term trademark includes a servicemark. Unregistered trademarks are protected under common-law only, and distinguished with the mark 'TM.'"

    A copyright is "The right to copy, specif[ically], a property right in an original work of authorship (including literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and architectular works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; and sound recordings) fixed in any tangible medium of expression, giving the holder the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display the work."

    Fair use (in copyright) is "A reasonable and limited use of a copyrighted work without the author's permission, such as quoting from a book in a book review or using parts of it in a parody. • Fair use is a defense to an [copyright] infringement claim, depending on the following statutory factors: (1) the purpose and character of the use, (2) the nature of the copyrighted work, (3) the amount of the work used, and (4) the economic impact of the use. 17 USCA � 107. [Note: the link is to the United States Code; the reference in the definition is to the United States Code Annotated, which is not available for free on the Web.] — Also termed private-use exception; (in Canadian law) fair dealing."

    Public domain (in intellectual property law) is "The universe of inventions and creative works that are not protected by intellectual-property rights and are therefore available for anyone to use without charge. • When copyright, trademark, patent, or trade-secret rights are lost or expire, the intellectual property they had protected becomes part of the public domain and and can be appropriated by anyone without liability for infringement."
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    edited May 2013
    No, I mean the studs will say Lego or somewhere on the part.

    So, how to you make a Lego part without the Lego trademark?

    If you have to scan the Lego part you will get whatever is scanned.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Pitfall69 said:

    No, I mean the studs will say Lego or somewhere on the part.

    So, how to you make a Lego part without the Lego trademark?

    Just make it without the LEGO logo on the top.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Way to fire me up tonight. I was falling asleep and didn't know I could make it to 12:01 AM
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I would stay up, but what is the point if I can't order? ;)
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,672
    Lately I built alternatively old and new sets, if one day the 3D printers can create bricks as good as LEGO it would also because LEGO's (plastic) quality keeps decreasing... Fell and touch for the 90ies bricks is different than today's bricks.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Pitfall69 said:

    No, I mean the studs will say Lego or somewhere on the part.

    So, how to you make a Lego part without the Lego trademark?

    You call it Mega Blok
    Pitfall69jasor
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    edited May 2013
    Pitfall69 said:

    If you have to scan the Lego part you will get whatever is scanned.

    I don't believe this has an integrated 3D scanner. Printing an object requires a digital file of the object, which you or someone else has designed.

    EDIT: I should add that I doubt this scanner is capable of the resolution necessary to duplicate the very small text (e.g. part numbers) commonly found on LEGO elements.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    I can't imagine that the abs will have the same color palette that Lego uses.
  • SirKevbagsSirKevbags Fairy Land Member Posts: 4,030
    Just the price of this is an eye opener. A friend of mine who works for the Ministry Of Defence bought one for home use after using one at work. This was around 3 years back and he paid £4000. I doubt it has the quality this can offer. I just wish I knew what he did with it! We're not actually allowed to know what he does.
    andhe
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    "Who's your daddy; and what does he do?"
    yys4u
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    As was discussed awhile back, these little 3D printers will be handy for reproducing specific parts that Lego no longer makes and will probably never make again. Specifically, monorail track.

    One thing will be for sure. Just like ink jet printers today, eventually 3d printers will be disposable too. You'll just pay a lot for the plastic printing material.

    Looking forward to seeing someone make their first prefab house using a 3d printer. Perhaps something like the Futuro: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futuro
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,921
    Pitfall69 said:

    I can't imagine that the abs will have the same color palette that Lego uses.

    Yeah, you're correct about that. Even TLG uses uncolored or white plastic in their rapid-prototyping machines and paints the parts if they need to see what they look like in certain colors. I'm fairly certain you could at least approximate LEGO colors if you're very picky about which paint you use, but chances are you won't be able to make your parts indistinguishable from official LEGO ones.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    edited May 2013
    My buddy is an engineer at Ford and he says these printers will only do the outer shell of a piece or part. You will have the stud side by not the inner locking mechanism inside.
  • LootefiskLootefisk Member Posts: 67
    Pitfall69 said:

    My buddy is an engineer at Ford and he says these printers will only do the outer shell of a piece or part. You will have the stud side by not the inner locking mechanism inside.

    Pretty sure he is incorrect. Looking at this it seems its already been done.

    http://fabbaloo.com/blog/2012/6/28/3d-printing-2012-top-prints-so-far.html


  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    There is a lot of mis-information out there about what 3D printers can and cannot do.

    Keep in mind that these are not just for prototypes, actual products that you are buying right now are being made with 3D printers.

    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has parts that were 3D printed, the rear seat audiovox DVD player in BMWs, the control buttons are 3D printed.

    This is a big, big change in how things are made, and it will change the world just like CAD/CAM did 30 years ago for manufacturing.

    ABS plastic printers are just basic machines, there are 3D printers today that can print metal, fibers, complex machines.

    http://www.shapeways.com/materials/steel

    These are some simple 3D metal printings, just to show what can be done.
    Dougout
  • dr_tengdr_teng Member Posts: 101
    Keep in mind, with a 3d printer like the one in the original post, there's a lot of finishing work required to get it to look like a proper LEGO brick would. Me and a pal built a 3d printer a while back and we're currently building a newer one (faster build quality/higher detail) with publically available plans and despite having a higher quality than the one in the OP, will still require a decent bit of work to make our printed parts look smooth.

    Still, it's an incredibly exciting technology that's leaping forward at an amazing rate. New materials, the ability to have the printer paint the products, publically available designs, all sorts of incredible stuff keeps happening in this field.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    edited May 2013
    Lootefisk said:

    Pitfall69 said:

    My buddy is an engineer at Ford and he says these printers will only do the outer shell of a piece or part. You will have the stud side by not the inner locking mechanism inside.

    Pretty sure he is incorrect. Looking at this it seems its already been done.

    http://fabbaloo.com/blog/2012/6/28/3d-printing-2012-top-prints-so-far.html


    He meant the one on sale at Staples.

  • LootefiskLootefisk Member Posts: 67
    Here's a review of the one from staples. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2418103,00.asp Give this a few years and I'm sure there will be something semi affordable that you could pump out replacement pieces with.
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    I will never take a MOC that has fabricated non LEGO parts seriously....
    Pitfall69
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    Here is a very interesting video of how cool & scary the future of 3D printers will be...

  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    If clone brands are bad, what can be expected of jimcrack home clones?
    (It's a rhetorical question.)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    Here is a very interesting video of how cool & scary the future of 3D printers will be...

    The rebel alliance won't need to buy blaster rifles on the black market, they'll be able to print them! :)

    Why it would be "scary", I'm not sure, but lets not go there on this forum. I find it much more scary that our government can just print $40 Billion in new paper money every month out of thin air. That is ultimately a much more dangerous and threatening action to society.
    Dougout
  • PicopiratePicopirate Member Posts: 318
    @Pitfall69. Here is an article about a different 3d printer that uses ink cartridges to fabricate parts of any color. http://gizmodo.com/the-worlds-first-color-3d-printer-is-even-lovelier-tha-486199404. I imagine that within 10 years reasonably priced printers will be available that can even print graphics on the surface.

    The main issue with these printers is the texture. Every part I have held has had a rough finish. Even the best ones were more of a satin finish. Conversely most Lego bricks have a high gloss finish.

    I do not see 3d printers being able to print replacement parts anytime soon ( given the finish issues and also these have higher tolerances than most Lego parts). However, I think they will be used to create custom parts and structural supports for large MOCs. I personally would use it to create low profile wire clips that had studs on the top. Right now, the best option is to just feed wires (for lighting) through technic bricks.
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 867
    edited May 2013
    ^ this is nothing a bit of secondary machining can't take care of. My company just purchased a 3d machine. We've been sending our prototypes out or doing them with our in-house stereo lithography equipment. Or rough prototypes still get secondary machining to smooth things out or to drill holes for inserts, etc. The time will come in the next ten years for personal use.
  • tmgm528tmgm528 Member Posts: 457
    I find a 3D printer like this at retail stores to be great for the good custom figure market. Even if its not the real thing its still higher quality than decals.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    Medium blue hands!!
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    ^Just stick your hands in ice water ;)
    Aanchir
  • tmgm528tmgm528 Member Posts: 457
    edited May 2013
    /\ Tried it....... definitely not worth it..........definitely
  • samiam391samiam391 A log cabin in PA, United StatesMember Posts: 4,374
    edited May 2013
    tmgm528 said:

    I find a 3D printer like this at retail stores to be great for the good custom figure market. Even if its not the real thing its still higher quality than decals.

    Yes, and bad for other collectors such as myself. I realize I do not have to buy the figures, and that there are a few nice customs out there, but I hate the way it partially destroys real minifigure collecting.

    The value in my items, is a large driving factor in what I buy. I buy what I enjoy, but I also have to be smart with what I buy. I pick and choose pieces that I believe will increase in value, and that I actually enjoy.

    When I look at custom minifigures, it destroys said market.

    Yes, it provides an outstanding market for those that cannot afford to purchase the real deal. I love that, and it's great. Everyone should be able to purchase the minifigure that they really want (even if it isn't the exact same). It makes people happy, and I'm not frowning down at that at all.

    However when the customs almost cost as much as the real minifigure, is when it strikes a nerve. Also when I see things such as this:
    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=lego+mr+gold&_sop=10

    I've been collecting for roughly 15 years, and having a sudden increase in customs just recently hasn't agreed with me. Makes me sad almost.

    I really don't want the market to expand, but it is, and I can't do anything about it but do a small rant on a LEGO forum. Thanks for bearing with me :o)
  • tmgm528tmgm528 Member Posts: 457
    #samiam391
    Did you say for those of you who cannot afford to purchase the real deal? A good custom (like one made from this machine) cost an arm and a leg going for at the low end 60 US Dollars! http://www.firestartoys.com/Shop/Custom-Design-Minifigures/Christo-Custom-Design.html?asrc=wg And if someone makes me a Wat Tambor in the future with this thing.....I'l be damned if I don't get it.
  • DarmokSaysDarmokSays Member Posts: 1
    I for one am really excited about 3d printing. Aside from Lego building - mostly MOCs - I am a big fan of design & construction using dental plaster and moulds, like Hirst Arts, and I can see an explosion in custom mould availability in the near future as a result of this technology. It may reduce the satisfaction one gets from creating unique designs, but the pride of a good painting job will still exist and the trade-off is easy to take given the potential for creation with nearly no limits. Table top gaming dioramas, fish tank scenery, it's all going to be all kinds of awesome in a few years.
    Pitfall69
  • yys4uyys4u USA SoCalMember Posts: 1,092
    tmgm528 said:

    #samiam391
    Did you say for those of you who cannot afford to purchase the real deal? A good custom (like one made from this machine) cost an arm and a leg going for at the low end 60 US Dollars! http://www.firestartoys.com/Shop/Custom-Design-Minifigures/Christo-Custom-Design.html?asrc=wg And if someone makes me a Wat Tambor in the future with this thing.....I'l be damned if I don't get it.

    Right, I was going to link the custom Flash shown on that page, because I've seen it sell on ebay for $100+!! Customs can be very expensive, in fact I think most customs are more expensive than regular figures, simply because the effort it takes to make one. But I guess what @samiam391 is referring to are customs such as those cloud city boba fett customs that are made with decals, or that pearl gold Mr Gold. Those are generally cheaper than the real thing.
    tmgm528
  • samiam391samiam391 A log cabin in PA, United StatesMember Posts: 4,374
    yys4u said:

    tmgm528 said:

    #samiam391
    Did you say for those of you who cannot afford to purchase the real deal? A good custom (like one made from this machine) cost an arm and a leg going for at the low end 60 US Dollars! http://www.firestartoys.com/Shop/Custom-Design-Minifigures/Christo-Custom-Design.html?asrc=wg And if someone makes me a Wat Tambor in the future with this thing.....I'l be damned if I don't get it.

    Right, I was going to link the custom Flash shown on that page, because I've seen it sell on ebay for $100+!! Customs can be very expensive, in fact I think most customs are more expensive than regular figures, simply because the effort it takes to make one. But I guess what @samiam391 is referring to are customs such as those cloud city boba fett customs that are made with decals, or that pearl gold Mr Gold. Those are generally cheaper than the real thing.
    Yes :o)
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    That Flash makes me want TLG to release one.....It looks great, but I have a hard time buying 60$ custom fig. I KNOW it's great quality, but just knowing that it's frankenLego...
  • tmgm528tmgm528 Member Posts: 457
    #jasor
    I don't think the flash has a high enough appeal with children for a figure to be released. My problem isn't with the $60 price point its the "where its coming from." I mean I trust the guy but with someone like customchristo hes in Africa.....I trust him he has good reviews but with shipping....meh.
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    ^^tis a shame. That's a right lovely fig
  • carlqcarlq Ruislip Manor, MiddlesexMember Posts: 792
    I see your point with Flash, but really - does Aquaman really have more mass appeal for modern children than Flash? I would assume you'd have to include him as a "plus one" in a Batman set (or Superman set - hey, they could do the perennial favourite "who's faster, race round the world, flash vs. Superman story" set!) as they did with Aquaman. I don't care how they justify it - I'd just like a Justice League with more than 4 members (I don't count 75 versions of Batman as separate members...;-).
  • tmgm528tmgm528 Member Posts: 457
    /\ I would like more than four (as i'm a die hard DC fan.) We need a Flash, A (widely available) Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter at LEAST. Is it so much to ask Lego? Is it so much to ask..........
  • epyon396epyon396 Member Posts: 268
    I know myself.
    I would buy this with the best of intentions, but it would be used to make tiny phallic objects to hide in everyone's houses.
    tmgm528
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