Thursday, July 4, 2013

Scaling New Heights

At the summit of Mt. Little Si

Summer in Seattle has been going pretty well so far, the other weekend ago I went hiking with some friends. We scaled the summit of Mt. Little Si, peering over the edge of the massive 1576 foot (480 m) peak to catch a nice view of the Snoqualmie Valley.  All jokes aside, it was a fun and leisurely hike with some nice sights along the way.  Maybe Mt. Si is next on the hiking agenda, although Mt. Si is a bit of a step up being about 3x taller than Little Si...

Scary drops

In other news, I've made quite a few posts on topics related to 3D printing so it's no surprise that I've been following the market and technology.  Anyway, last year a new 3D printing start-up (MIT associated) called FormLabs unveiled their amazing product, the Form 1, through KickStarter (raising about 3 million dollars in the process).  I was swept off my feet when I saw it--an ultra-high resolution consumer-level desktop 3D printer using stereo-lithographic (SLA) technology.  What makes this printer so amazing is the SLA process.  Instead of melting and fusing plastic coils, the Form 1 uses an ultraviolet laser to "draw" patterns in a tub of liquid resin, the energy from the UV laser causes the resin to photo-polymerize and harden at every position that the laser draws onto.  Therefore, each layer is capable of slightly "blending" each adjacent layer in generating a near-seamless printed product with very little necessary clean-up.  

Realizing that this could be a "game-changing" piece of hardware, I backed the project on KickStarter nearly a year ago.  Fast-forward to now, and I finally have the Form 1 sitting on my desktop, and it's a beautiful piece of technology.  However, that's all it is right now as I haven't booted up the printer because I'm still waiting for the resin to arrive which will be in about a week.  Until then, I'm looking forward to making my first print which I'll be sure to discuss in a future update.  

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