How 3D Printing Could Change Our World

How 3D Printing Could Change Our WorldWhen I first read about the future of 3D printing, I was amazed at how far we had come from the days of old. I know that when I purchased my first color printer all those many long years ago, (the early ’90s), it made me feel like a king. At the time, this simple dot-matrix color printer was considered to be state-of-the-art and, at $500, quite expensive. However, one must remember that this was a time when RAM was selling for $50 a MB (not GB, like today), hard disks were selling for $1 per MB, and the least expensive Packard Bell computers were selling for $1,500.

As I continued my hopscotch journey through time, I also recalled the same excitement as I converted from that original dot-matrix printer to first an ink jet and then to a laser printer. In fact, just this last week I bought my latest HP LaserJet printer with Wi-Fi for only $105 and have been delighted with not only its performance but also with HP’s ePrint technology. What I found is that HP’s ePrint technology had produced a system that was a breeze to set up and use, (even my Apple iPad works perfectly using ePrint, which is free for use by HP owners using a supported printer). In fact, when I had finished the setup process and experimented with my new toy, my thoughts took me once again to those older printers from 20 years ago. It made me wonder how we ever considered yesterday’s technology, with its funky printed material, to be acceptable in the work environment.

This makes me wonder, however, how long it will be before my latest purchase is going to go the way of the DOS desktop computer since, even as I write this article, there are companies out there that are in the process of engineering 3D printers for personal use.

What is the Cost?

First, remember that this is not a new concept. 3D printing has been around for quite a while, but was once confined to the engineering world and/or to those who had the $30k to purchase a 3D printer. However, today’s 3D printers are available to the general public for as little as $1,299. I’ll admit that this is still a high price for a printer, but prices should fall as the concept of this new 3D printing takes hold with the public. In fact, I would venture an educated guess that, in the next three years or so, the cost of 3D printers should drop dramatically.

How Does 3D Printing Work?

The concept of how this 3D technology works is actually quite simple. Of course I am assuming that we are all familiar with a standard ink jet printer that basically squirts ink onto a piece of paper. 3D printing builds on this as it renders the image or object by building up layers of print in order to give the object a 3D effect. This buildup of layers actually creates the object and not just a picture of the object.

How is 3D Printing Going to Change Our Lives?

So why would you need this? How is it going to change the way we envision projects? There are two ways that 3D printing is going to change our lives:

First of all, it will change the way things are done in the manufacturing arena where composites can now be used to replace steel. This means that the engineer, using a CAD design, will be able to take apart a printed design in order to strengthen those support areas that appear weak.

This type of printing can also prove beneficial to the do-it-yourself homeowner who wishes to add depth to a visual model of a home project. This means that one could actually take a picture of an object, then convert the picture to a CAD file and then print the object on a 3D printer. Just think of the possibilities. It is not inconceivable that, using this media, this same homeowner might be able to recruit some help from his family and friends. Of course, the addition of a good steak and glass of wine might help prior to the sharing of a 3D rendering of his/her project.

What About Intellectual Property Rights and Patent Laws?

When this technology really takes off, one must then look at possible problems with patents, codes, or any other infringements that might arise. Ryan Matthew Pierson recently wrote an excellent article, Patent Wars: Enough is Enough, about this very subject. I believe it is well worth the read since I would imagine that everything that surrounds our daily lives could possibly have some type of intellectual property right or patent. That means that we could, in theory, be personally sued if we were to reproduce a product, item, or whatever if someone, somewhere has already laid claim to the concept.

What’s scary is that, in an age where it appears that every company in the technology field is suing every other technology company, we cannot preclude that these same companies won’t bring suit against consumers. Remember, this occurred when the RIAA was running amok and suing music downloaders (including children and their parents). Given that, one would have to accept the possibility of others following a similar path and suing 3D printer uses for a variety of violations — perceived or otherwise.

What do you think? Could a 3D printer be in your future?

Comments welcome.

Source: T. Rowe Price

Canon Pixma MG5220 – Two Month Review

On January 15, 2011 I wrote a mini-review of the Canon Pixma MG5220 all-in-one wireless printer. Since my original review I have had the opportunity to use the printer more extensively and I wanted to share my thoughts about what I have learned.

The Canon MG5220 can handle two-sided printing with ease. There are two paper drawers, with one mounted below the unit and holds 150 sheets of paper. The second drawer is for thicker paper and card stock. The cover on the scanner also can accept thicker materials as well.

Using standard paper and printing black text documents the Canon Pixma MG5220 spits the pages out on average of about 8 pages per minute. Color documents and slightly slower but not by much while color photographs print out on average of about 2 per minutes.

The memory card holder supports SD Card, Memory Stick, CompactFlash as well as XD-Picture Cards.

Wireless works very well. All of my laptop computers have no issues printing from anywhere in my home.

The scanner is a little slow and takes a minute or so to warm up. But once it does get warmed up it works flawlessly.

I also believe that the controls on the Canon Pixma MG5220 are easy to use and function without issues. The best way to describes the controls is that they just flat-out work right.

At all speeds, the MG5220 is quieter than most printers.

When it comes to the price of ink, the Canon is on par with any of the other ink jet printers. I don’t believe the cost of ink is outrageous nor is the amount of ink used excessive. Overall the printer usage and cost of ink is average.

I did try using the printer with Linux Mint buy I couldn’t get it working via wireless.

Overall I am very satisfied with the Canon MG5220. When I purchased the system from Amazon it was on sale for only $89.99 which I believe is a very good price for a all-in-one printer.

If you own one of these printers, please let us know what you think of it.

Comments welcome.

Canon PIXMA MG5220 Wireless All In One Printer – Reviewed

My 8-year-old HP All In One printer has been having issues for the past few months, so I have been in the market for a replacement. I mainly make copies and some minor color printing, with my main printing needs handled by my HP Laserjet. I also wanted a printer that worked wirelessly, but the most important feature had to be the availability of cheap ink. I didn’t want to be gouged for $50 or $60 for replacement cartridges. During my entire computing career, I have been a slave to HP printers. I have helped build the HP empire to what it is today, just in the cost of printer cartridges that I have paid for over the years. LOL.

Since before the holidays, I have looking been roaming the Internet looking for a new All In One printer. I finally decided on the Canon PIXMA MG5200. I bought it at Amazon for $89.99. I also ordered a pack of 5 remanufactured print cartridges for $20.50 which included shipping.

The printer arrived Thursday afternoon, and I had to put away my other toys, while I setup my new toy. After getting the printer out of the box, and installed the print cartridges, my first task was to set up the printer to my wireless network. I would recommend you follow the instructions that come with the unit and make sure you follow the procedure as specified. After finishing the wireless part, I tried to print from my personal laptop, without installing the software provided. It worked.

I am not a huge fan of software that comes with printers. I have not installed the software that came with the printer yet, so I can not comment on it.

I have 4 computers connected to the printer, all using Windows 7, except for one older laptop using Windows XP SP3. All work just fine printing.

Manual copying and scanning also works fine.

But this is where the little box shines. I had a photo on a memory card that I printed on photo paper. The results were stunning. The images were sharp and clear and rivaled in quality to what Walgreens and Wal-Mart offers.

There is only one thing I don’t care for. The printer is a shiny black plastic that looks sharp. But fingerprints and dust cling like a magnet.

Comments welcome.

Canon PIXMA MG5220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-One (4502B017)

6 PKS GENERIC INK CANON PGI-225 CLI-226 Pixma iP4820 MG5220

Kodak Printer Revisted – After A Year, Negative Comments Continue To Flow

Back on March 31, 2009 I wrote an article ‘Who’s Using A Kodak Printer? Opinions Needed,’ in the hope of finding out how well these printers functioned. I was in the market for purchasing a new printer and what originally intrigued me was the thought, according to the Kodak ads, of cheap ink. Having been an HP printer person since Windows was still DOS, I don’t even want to think about how much money I have sent to HP to line the pockets of its corporate executives.! So when I asked for opinions, I was hoping to get positive responses. Unfortunately that was not the case.

Since writing the original article [linked below] there have been about 110 comments with the bulk being anything but flattering. There appear to be issues with the print heads needing replacement often and also issues with Kodak technical support. Again, I do not own a Kodak printer myself so I can only pass on what others are saying. You can read the comments and make an informed decision for yourself.

Kodak is in the process of offering a new model, the 7250 All-In-One printer, that offers some advanced features at a reasonable price of $166.99 for pre-sale on Amazon.com. A Crunchgear article states:

The cost of ink is also excellent for this printer. At $9.99 for black and white and $17.99 for color is pretty great. The print outs weren’t absolutely stellar but they were sufficiently sharp and crisp with a fresh ink cartridge.

Crunchgear ended with this ‘Bottom Line’:

Kodak tried stuff a lot of power into a small package. It’s an impressive printer but they did cut corners on the resolution of the 2.4-inch LCD. As I mentioned before, I’ve seen sharper prints from other, more expensive printers, but if you’re looking for something that’s inexpensive, you’re going to do just fine with this thing.

I took a look for any comments about this model, and there was one from a person who had tested a pre-sale test model and was impressed with the results. She stated that:

My family was lucky enough to get one of these printers to test for a few months. We had to send the test printer back yesterday but I’m putting my own on order today. The print quality and speed are incredible, the printer design is sleek and highly functional and the supplies are cheap compared to the dinky HP deskjet we had been using. I found the Kodak technical support unparalleled, especially compared to HP, and Canon. Kodak even built in a photo help center for photo editing, and printing. I did all 100 Christmas photo cards only with this software, and I used less than one black and one color cartridge. The Wireless function is great; my husband could print from his Windows work laptop and my daughter printed from her MacBook files from her room. We didn’t know you could print from an iPod touch, but she’ll get the free app to print from that. I didn’t get paid to write this, but you ought to know what a cool printer it is (I am not a techie, just a mom).

It should be interesting to see what others will have to say about this new model once it is released for mass consumption.

Amazon Pre-Order Kodak ESP 7250 All-in-One Printer

Crunchgear article – Kodak 7250 printer

March 31, 2009 article – Who’s Using A Kodak Printer? Opinions Needed

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Printing From The Cloud

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel. Printing from any device to any printer, without concerning yourself with the need for localized printer drivers. The project in question is called Google Cloud Print and it is a ways off before being ready for any kind of prime time use.

One thing that should be noted, however, is the idea of cloud-based printers is not totally unrealistic. Despite us not being there just yet, with the advancements in how browsers and other “apps” operate on computers or mobile devices, I believe the concept is merely a couple of years away at most.

To all those who believe that all of this is a waste of time, as paper is becoming less important, I would ask you to consider that this idea was thought of once before. Apparently, even the iPad and Kindle haven’t killed paper just  yet. Something about paper not costing $500…

[awsbullet:Cloud Computing Practical]

Reducing Your Printing Costs

There should be an image here!Many of our readers are students. At this time of the year, papers are due and the bank account is looking somewhat grim. Here is a saving for printing out all those term papers and projects.

123InkJets is offering a 15% discount on compatible ink. Use this link, and this code for the discount: FLOWER23. Depending on the size of the order, U.S. orders may receive free shipping.

This offer is valid until April 3rd, 2010.

Here are a couple of testimonials from Gnomies who have used this service:

“123inkjets is a great resource for anyone who need printer ink fast and at an affordable price. The refurbished ink cartridges have a quality that is indistinguishable from name brand ink. The ink is shipped UPS ground, however I usually receive it before the “estimated” date of delivery. They always have a coupon of some sort, which makes the savings even better!” — Justin in Arizona

“It was a huge savings and no different than what you can buy from the stores here. No more driving all over town to find what I need.” — Jenn in North Carolina

You know that the printer runs out of the ink at the worst times. At these prices and with the discount, you can be prepared. And to all those students who are heading into the final weeks of the term, good luck!

15% Gnomie Discount For 123InkJets

There should be an image here!Many of our readers are students. At this time of the year, papers are due and the bank account is looking somewhat grim. Here is a saving for printing out all those term papers and projects.

123InkJets is offering a 15% discount on compatible ink. Use this link, and this code for the discount: FLOWER23. Depending on the size of the order, U.S. orders may receive free shipping.

This offer is valid until April 3rd, 2010.

Here are a couple of testimonials from Gnomies who have used this service:

“123inkjets is a great resource for anyone who need printer ink fast and at an affordable price. The refurbished ink cartridges have a quality that is indistinguishable from name brand ink. The ink is shipped UPS ground, however I usually receive it before the “estimated” date of delivery. They always have a coupon of some sort, which makes the savings even better!” — Justin in Arizona

“It was a huge savings and no different than what you can buy from the stores here. No more driving all over town to find what I need.” — Jenn in North Carolina

You know that the printer runs out of the ink at the worst times. At these prices and with the discount, you can be prepared. And to all those students who are heading into the final weeks of the term, good luck!

Epson Stylus NX510 Wireless Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer Only $74.99 – Today Only

This is a one day sale on a  Epson Stylus NX510 Wireless Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer that is on sale for only $74.99. Amazon describes this printer as:

Technical Details

  • Wi-Fi and Ethernet built in – share one printer with multiple PCs, wired or wirelessly; print, scan and share memory card files between your PC and printer, wirelessly
  • Fastest print speeds in its class – up to 2x faster than competitively priced models;maximum print speeds of 35 ppm black/color, laser quality print speeds of 15 ppm black and 9.3 ppm color.
  • PC-free, borderless photos in a snap  2.5-inch, tilt LCD screen and built-in memory card slots
  • Scan directly to e-mail  send documents or photos as e-mail attachments with one touch.
  • Superior image enhancement tools  red-eye removal, automatic photo restoration, Automatic Photo Correction and more.

Epson Stylus NX510 Wireless Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer (C11CA482010 for only $74.99

Brother HL-2170W 23ppm Laser Printer with Wireless and Wired Network Interfaces Only $109.99

Do you need a fast printer that can kick out 23 pages per minute? This Brother laser printer can do the work at a very reasonable price. The printer has been given an average of over 4 stars by some 465 users.  The basics of the printer are:

Technical Details

  • Monochrome laser printer prints up to 23 ppm, perfect for home or office use
  • High-quality 2400 x 600 dpi resolution
  • Features network connectivity via wireless/wired interfaces
  • 250-sheet capacity tray, Starter Toner Cartridge
  • One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty

Brother HL-2170W 23ppm Laser Printer with Wireless and Wired Network Interfaces only $109.99

According to the Amazon web site the retail price for this printer is $299 so at $109.99 this is a great deal on a laser printer.

Today Only – January 13, 2010 – Canon PIXMA MX860 Wireless All-In-One Office Printer On Sale $102.99

For the past week I have been looking for a deal on a all-in-one wireless printer for my brother-in-law. So last night when I received an alert from Amazon referencing a Canon Printer listing for $199.99, on sale for only $102.99 I went for a look-see.

According to the Amazon site, this is a one day sale for January 13th, 2010 and there were only 55 in stock at the time I wrote this post. I also checked the customer rating for the printer and with 290 reviews, the printer rates a 4 star out of 5 star rating, which is pretty good for any device.

Amazon states the specifications as:

Product Description

From the Manufacturer

From the Manufacturer Get ready for the power you’ll need to bring your home office to the next level. This Wireless wonder lets you print from any room in your home and boasts incredible 9600 x 2400 maximum color dpi with 1pl and a 5 individual ink tank system. A built-in, fully integrated 35-sheet Auto Document Feeder means fast copying or scanning of your originals so you can tend to other tasks while the printer is at work. Its built-in Auto Duplex Printing prints 2-sided documents without having to manually flip the pages. Additionally, various security features like password protected PDF’s means you can feel safe about the creation and distribution of your most confidential files.

A Super G3 High-speed Fax along with networkable Ethernet means every aspect of your business can run as efficiently as possible. Thanks to Dual Color Gamut Processing Technology your copies will maintain the integrity of the original while you produce remarkable scans with 4800 dpi. With computer-less printing capabilities via compatible memory cards, PictBridge and optional Bluetooth your images are easy to view with a 2.5 inch LCD. Its versatile feature set also makes for a top-of-the-line photo lab so all of your printing needs are met in one machine that can virtually fit anywhere whether you’re on a PC or Mac.

Oops, there are now only 54 left. I ordered one for my brother-in-law since I have free Prime shipping from Amazon. Once it arrives and we get it setup on his laptop which is running Windows 7 Home Premium, I’ll do a review of the printer.

Comments welcome.

Canon PIXMA MX860 Wireless All-In-One office Printer

Windows 7 – Watch Out For HomeGroup, Clean Installs From Upgrade Media and Setup A Network Printer

I am going to be quick and to the point. This is from Neowins HomeGroup site:

Remember that HomeGroup works only with Windows 7 machines and it does not support Vista or XP.

If you try to use HomeGroup it will not work with other machines on the network. Unless of course they are W7 boxes.

How to do a clean install using a  Windows 7 upgrade disk:

Here’s how to clean install Windows 7 using Upgrade media and a new or reformatted PC with no installed OS.

First, perform a normal clean install of the OS by booting the PC with the Upgrade Setup disc and stepping through Setup.

After performing the clean install, ensure that there are no Windows Updates pending that would require a system reboot. (You’ll see an orange shield icon next to Shutdown in the Start Menu if this is the case).

Then, open regedit.exe with Start Menu Search and navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Setup/OOBE/

Clean Install Windows 7 with Upgrade Media

Change MediaBootInstall from “1” to “0”.

Open the Start Menu again and type cmd to display a shortcut to the Command Line utility. Right-click this shortcut and choose “Run as administrator.” Handle the UAC prompt.

In the command line window, type: slmgr /rearm

Then tap ENTER, close the command line window and reboot. When Windows 7 reboots, run the Activate Windows utility, type in your product key and activate windows. It should just work.

Oh yeah. I learned this also this weekend. If you want to contact a printer through a print server via a wireless connection try this. Set the printer up as a local printer first. Next set it up as a network printer. Delete the local printer and viola. It worked for me.

Comments welcome.

Neowin site

Supersite for Windows

PrintFriendly

The majority of my work is done digitally and I hardly ever have to print anything. In fact, I wish I didn’t need a printer, but sure enough, I end up having to print something just often enough that it wouldn’t make any sense for me to get rid of my printer. I only print things a handful of times per month, so I’m not a big printer, but some people I know go through paper like you wouldn’t believe. They print anything and everything, and besides wasting ink, this approach also wastes paper. Maybe you do legitimately have to print a lot of stuff, but there are probably elements of the things you’re printing that don’t need to be there. A service called PrintFriendly helps you to get the most out of your resources.

The idea is that the site can optimize any Web site to become much more appropriate to print. Their representation of a page will likely be different than what you see when you normally visit the site. You can remove images, delete unwanted sections, and print your customized version of the content. This formatting can also be sent to a PDF file, and a bookmarklet exists to make the functionality easily accessible. Content providers can even get a PrintFriendly button for their sites. The service didn’t seem to work correctly in every situation, but I like the goal behind what it’s trying to do.

HP Launches Web Based Printer – No Computer Need Apply

This is different. HP is introducing a printer that connects to the Internet, has a touch screen, and needs no computer to function. According to one article, the device is meant to print out stuff from the likes of Google such as documents, maps and so forth. HP states that the printer will be called the HP Photosmart Premium with Touchsmart Web. The all-in-one printer costs $399.

According to VentureBeat it also states that:

Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of printing and imaging at HP, said using the printer to print out coupons from Coupons.com could save users enough money to offset the cost of the printer itself. About 327 billion coupons are printed each year, but overall coupon use is declining with the fall of newspaper readership (newspapers are the primary source of coupons). With this printer, you can go directly to a variety of sites, find coupons, and then print them out with a push of your finger (see image below). The same process works with movie tickets, printed from the movie discount ticket site Fandango.

Google says 30 percent of people who look at Google Maps will print a page. That’s about 30 million of the 100 million who visit Google Maps every day. Nickelodeon, meanwhile, will make children’s activity books available for the printer. You can also print out stories from USA Today.

Joshi said  new applications can easily be added to the printer, since HP will openly share the applications programming interface (API). It takes a few weeks to customize apps for the printer.

Consumers can add apps to their printers by looking at the HP Apps Studio and selecting the apps they want.

But even though the printer is quite functional, Joshi said users won’t be using the browser to surf the web. The usage scenarios should be simpler than using a computer, not more complex, he said.

He said he doesn’t expect the apps to cost money, since HP already makes revenue from selling the printers and ink.

Interesting concept. But it makes one wonder how popular the printer will be. Plus at $399 it seems pricey.

What do you think? Would you buy one of these?

Comments welcome.

Source.

Who’s Using A Kodak Printer? Opinions Needed

Kodak is filling the airwaves where I live with a host of Kodak printer commercials. The main theme is how others like HP, Canon or whoever, are ripping us off in the price they charge for ink. Kodak claims that their ink is so cheap, it borders on being almost free. OK. I exaggerated slightly.

Last evening I went over to Amazon and took a look at some of the Kodak printers they were selling. I also read quite a few reviews that was a mixed bag of nuts. Some love the printers while others did not. The all in one design feature, some with the ability to send faxes, seemed reasonably priced and on par with the cost from other OEM’s. But I have been an HP fan for years and struggle with the premise of changing brands.

So this is where you come in. If you own a Kodak printer share your opinion with us, good or bad. What do you like and dislike about the printer? Are the cartridges really as cheap as Kodak says they are?

Comments welcome.