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3-D printing continues climb to mainstream at 2013 CES

The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off in Las Vegas today, and amid all the all hype surrounding the TV battle between OLED and 4K LCD technologies, a few industrious exhibitors caught our eye.

First, a company called Sculpteo unveiled some new iPhone cases. Sure, iPhone cases are a dime a dozen these days, but Sculpteo offers consumers the chance to design and 3-D print iPhone cases right from their own photos. Right now, the program can print things like people’s silhouettes or basic design logos. According to the article in CNET, Sculpteo also says that the printing material can be adjusted so cases have a leathery texture. Cool, right? Go the article to see photos of a few example cases.

Raising the stakes is 3D Systems with the CubeX desktop 3-D printer. A few reasons why 3D Systems’ latest printer is big news:

  • Price point: Starting at $2,499, the CubeX is competitively priced among current high-end, desktop 3-D printers. When you consider how much plasma TVs cost when they first arrived on the market, 3-D printing at home will almost certainly become cheaper and more popular in the future.
  • Size: With a 10.8 x 10.45 x 9.5-inch build area, the CubeX offers one of the largest build dimensions available to home users.
  • Multi-color options: 3D Systems is offering the CubeX in different models, with the highest-priced model able to print in three different colors. Until now, multi-color printing for printers in this category was unheard of.
Of course, for most people, the price of these printers is still unwieldy, but how cool would it be to work with a CubeX at school? Shop class continues to be an important rite of passage for many young people. Maybe future generations will be digitally designing and 3-D printing birdhouses instead of cutting wood panels with a scroll saw.

Looking at some of the newly released products at this year’s CES, the future isn’t that far off.

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photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

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