I went my local ASDA (Walmart) a few days ago. They were doing a promo for their new 3D printing product. I was intrigued.
I watched the ASDA marketing video. One of the viewers asked what hardware they were using.
Someone said 'Zprinter by Zcorp.'
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I looked it up and came across the following video. Its about an hour. However, it does look like affordable scanning and printing is upon us. This technology is a great addition to design software.
Companies already scan competitors products and add them to their math date, altering them to fit their requirements.
The technology is not new per se... however, it is now reaching a point where good quality equipment is becoming affordable.
I would love to see this in the classroom.
The sales guy showed a scanner (about $500 USA) which fits and syncs with an ipad. A professional level printer costs between $5000 and $10,000. Not cheap per se, but I'm sure if you have the student numbers I envisage, I feel a good business case could be made.
Students can work remotely, and send the data. A model can be made and posted. For students on campus it would be a case of waiting for the model to be completed and just picking it up.
Designing something virtually and then being able to have it physically in a short time period is great!
In my opinion this the future.