3D Printing

11 stories
Your move Ikea: Shape-shifting table assembles itself
Image: MIT Self Assembly Lab
Ikea changed the lives and living rooms of every first-time renter when it went big on flat-packed furniture. Now, with a shape-shifting table that bounces into shape on its own, a group of designers and engineers offer an answer to every Ikea customer's prayer: Why won't that Nornäs coffee table just assemble itself? Read More
Sad Robot
Boston MakerBot store shuttered in parent company's cost-cutting
MakerBot 3D printer
Industrial designers and manufacturers have been using 3-D printers for years to make mockups, models, and prototypes. In the past few years, a gang of startups have tried to cash in on the idea that these physical-object makers were getting cheap enough to get regular consumers interested. That may not be going according to plan. MakerBot, a leading name in the consumer 3-D printing sector, has laid off staff and closed its three retail stores (including one on Newbury Street in Boston) as part of a strategy change by its parent company. Read More
a three dimensional education
NVBOTS raises $2 million to bring a 3-D printing curriculum to schools
Samples of 3-D printed objects that teachers can use in their lesson plans. (Photo via NVBots)
Many educators agree that teaching STEM subjects requires hands-on, experiential education (as opposed to "teaching to the test"). But the tools and materials they need to do so are often too costly or too scarce in the budget-stretched world of education. Boston-based NVBOTS, a MassChallenge alum with roots at MIT, provides one solution for schools struggling to fund hands-on experiences in subjects like physics, biology, and math. The company has created a 3-D printing system for schools that includes printer hardware, software that's easy to use, and printing materials like plastic. Their goal is to make it simple for teachers to integrate 3-D printing into their regular classroom activities. Read More
Smarter stuff
PTC chief executive discusses drivers behind ‘Internet of Things’ phenomenon
PTC headquarters in Needham. (Photo: Scott Kirsner/BetaBoston)
In the early stages of writing a piece about whether 2015 will be the year that the Internet of Things finally goes mainstream, I sat down with PTC chief executive Jim Heppelmann. PTC is the Needham-based company that sells software related to designing products and then servicing them once they've been sold. An increasing number of those products, Heppelmann says, will connect to the Internet for monitoring and upgrades, and creating new offerings for those connected devices has been a big focus for PTC of late. The company recently said that it expects to see double-digit growth of its IoT revenues over the next four years, and several of PTC's latest acquisitions have been IoT-related. Read More
Makers on Main Street
New storefronts across Boston let you build your own product
Newbury Makerbot (1)

There was quite an interesting scene taking place recently at Makerbot’s Newbury Street store, as the 3D printing company held a printing workshop for children.

A seven-year old named Victor could be observed manipulating shapes with a 3D modelling software program. He chooses red blocks, adjusts the dimensions, and then pieces them together. A Makerbot employee assigned to oversee the children’s work takes a look at Victor’s creation.

“That’s a good looking robot,” he says.

“It’s actually a Minecraft person,” Victor replies, as he rotates the model into clear view. Read More