3-D Printed Basketball Shoes: How Soon Will KU Print Its Own Shoes Locally?

  • Spooky RAND think tank in Santa Monica has reputedly been doing a little research into how tough and unpredictable life could get for hegemonds the next 50 years, as technological innovation accelerates from fast, to too fast for hegemonds to keep up with.

    Word is that design, engineering, AND especially production of goods is likely to decentralize so fast and so pervasively that globalization already slowing to regionalization may frag into an era of localization.

    Lots of factors will supposedly drive this, but 3-D printing is pretty stunning on its own.

    3-D printing aka additive production takes the technology of laser printers using electrical charge to arrange powdered graphite into letters on a page and has it make huge numbers of passes to create, say, a nut for a bolt, out of the graphite powder. Neat. Lots of parts are being made this way already. More and more will be.

    The tie in to basketball is: the RAND report reputedly indicates that basketball shoes have already been made with 3-D printing. The story I read summarizing the RAND study gave no more details, so I can’t say if these were experimental prototypes, or if they were shoes already being marketed.

    But here is the thing that tweaked my curiosity. What if the NCAA and the member institutions standardize basketball shoes and distribute the software file for 3-D printing standardized shoes to firms in each college town with 3-D printers?

    Suddenly the member institutions are free of the shoecos influence, right?

    Not so fast.

    That could mean the member institutions would not be endorsing Nikes, adidas, and Under Armours, to name just three.

    That would mean no beau coups endorsement money.

    That could mean the lights go out in the minor sports.

    Oh, the unforeseen consequences!

    On the other hand, the NCAA could get in the shoe business and every player could have as many complimentary shoes to sell for beer money as he wants!

    On the other hand, the shoecos could stop using child and prison labor in SE Asia and contract with 3-D printing firms in each college town and make even more profit by eliminating shipping costs of finsihed shoes across the ocean and across the continent. Graphite could be moved in bulk. Economies of scale skyrocket. New shoes freshly printed for every game. And the endorsement gravy train continues.

    This is going to be quite a remarkable technological roll out; this 3-D printing.

    Break points shifting all over the globe. Convergence and centralization giving way to divergence and decentralization. Reliance on a single reserve currency diverging into proliferating bilateral currency exchanges and barter systems.

    Oooooh, as Yogi said, its not over till its over.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed that read. Never really thought of “one-off” 3D printed shoes… but why not? I have seen some custom one-off shoes already with 4-color printing.

    I loved the part of your story where all that criminal shoe money vanishes! Money is what is ruining college basketball.

    I miss the good ol’ days. More than half of my early years as a basketball fan were spent in front of a radio.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I always wondered what substance was used in 3-D printing. Could the printers accommodate other powdered substances? For instance, some knives are made from powdered metal.

    Shoes made only of powdered graphite? Or would the printers accommodate latex and other substances?

  • @EdwordL

    First, I’ve told you most of what I know, which is not much. 🙂

    That said, let me give you two concepts to get you rolling.

    Subtractive manufacturing (i.e., removing material with a tool path): traditional casting, fabrication, stamping, and machining are viewed as involving pairing away, or otherwise shaping masses of materials to end up with a part. Probably oversimplifying with metaphor, Michaelangelo went to the quarry and found a hunk of granite in which he could imagine a figure, brought it home and chiseled away the necessary material until he was left with the form he sought. Machining metal, or wood, on a lathe is like that. Stamping works similarly. You stamp a car door out of some steel and trim, or grind, away the unstamped portions.

    (Note: casting gets lumped in with subtractive manufacturing, but to me it an injection molding probably deserve their own category of manufacturing somewhere between subtractive and additive manufacturing.)

    Additive manufacturing (i.e., adding material with a tool path): there are many techniques for adding material with a tool path to build it up into a part. Thus 3-D printing is considered one subcategory of additive manufacturing. ny technique that starts with raw material being repetitively added by any means of application to arrive at a finished part can be lumped into additive manufacturing

    One of the earliest 3-D printing technologies started as ink jet printing heads spraying ink in the form of letters on white paper. Conceptually, a letter on a page may thought of as a part built up on a page.

    Techniques for microcasting and adding materials by spraying came to constitute additive manufacturing of parts.

    Basically, R&D are constantly looking for new ways to arrange and add new kinds of materials. Graphite has a wide array of parts applications, but in the broader sense of additive manufacturing the category of polymers are used in various types of injection molding and spray build up techniques.

    I assume basketball shoes are injection molded, or sprayed polymers, rather than graphite arranged with lasers, or other methods.

    In answer to your question about knives, blades have long been a subtractive process involving cutting/grinding/forging steel into desired shapes with desired edges and hardnesses.

    But I suspect that some recent ceramic blades and some recent particle steels used in man jewelry knives selling high hardness and edge retention may be pioneering uses of additive manufacturing techniques.

    All for now.

  • I love it Jaybate!

    Complex metal shapes can certainly be additively manufactured cheaply, but many processes are not under an ASTM standard, and material properties change from batch to batch and user to user. Most metals require post-processing techniques (heat treatment at high temperatures in an inert environment) to remove porosity caused during the sintering of metal powders. Then you still have the problem of variable surface roughness, which can serve as stress concentration sites. The most studied systems are steel, titanium (Ti6Al4V specifically) and Inconel (nickel chromium based superalloy). Boeing recently announced that they hope to make almost all of their parts from 3D printed titanium, which happens to be one of the strongest, lightest (and most expensive) metals. The materials of the aerospace industry are changing rapidly.

    Polymers are much easier to 3D print, and much more developed. However, I’m not convinced that 3D printing of shoes is the best way to go. In injection molding there isn’t much waste, and even if you did 3D print the shoe from bottom to top you’d still have to apply a bond coat between layers. Unlike metals, polymers are much easier to make into very complex parts, so the cost savings aren’t as great. Additionally, the top part of the shoe is often times a plastic fiber blend, which is not traditionally 3D printed (it would have to melt down to a non fiber to be extruded again). Perhaps there could be a time savings? Not sure, but I imagine the assembly line is automated to be quite efficient.

    Hit me with more 3D printing of shoes facts, I’d love to learn!

  • @BucknellJayhawk3

    Thx for weighing in. You already know way more than me!! I am in your debt!

  • @jaybate-1-0 but unfortunately I hijacked the thread away from the real topic, the relevance of 3D print to basketball (and potentially weening off of the major shoecos?).

    I just did a preliminary google search on 3D print shoes (didn’t make it past the first page) and there’s not a lot out there yet. Perhaps the greatest advantage of 3D print shoes is customizability. You can print a shoe to fit an exact foot shape. In any system, whether it be polymer or complex metal parts, a simple CAD design is used as an input to the printer. This would be enough of a competitive advantage to introduce 3D print shoes into the market, assuming their quality doesn’t suffer during the manufacturing process.


  • @BucknellJayhawk3

    The particular story you cited was discussed in another forum I belong that deals with 3-d printing. The write up can lead one to believe that a 3-d printer can be programmed and the finished shoe produced; this not even close to reality. Some of the individual parts of a shoe can be created using a 3-d printer but the shoe needs to be assembled separately since by and large 3-d printers are restricted to one type of filament/material. Also, if you have ever used a 3-d printer you know they are extremely slow and not (at this time) suited for mass production where injection techniques are much faster and cheaper. I print custom parts for equipment I use and it takes hours to print even simple parts. I understand that big manufacturers would have bigger and faster 3-d printers but no way they cannot compete with other manufacturing technology; not at this time.

    I can see some portion of the shoe being fabricated for a custom, one of a kind shoe, where the foot can be scanned and a custom insole fabricated (a gel insole will do the same thing) but producing the entire shoe in one pass is not possible with the current technology. I have seen a company that built the body of a small panel van with parts made with 3-d printers but the cost was huge and the design impractical.

  • @BucknellJayhawk3

    As I understand it, 3-D printing technology bears within it “rapid prototyping”. Rapid prototyping–esssentially a literal 3-D expression of the kind of what-if capability started with CAD being able to explore design simulations in virtual 3-D; i.e., within the phase space of a computer screen.

    Rapid proto-typing appears a many edged sword.

    On the plus side, it appears capable of exponentially increasing not only exploration of virtual solutions in design/engineering/manufacturing/operation, as has CAD, but also feasibility testing of these virtual solutions with actual one off, additive prototyping. One often learns quite a lot of flaws in solutions at the prototyped stage, so this could offer more and more fitting product solutions.

    On the minus side, some unfortunate by-products appear likely, based on our history with CAD. CAD and sophisticated marketing coupled with high costs of inventory storage/distribution/retailing have lead us into a kind of technological baroque goods designed for optimal breakdown for shipment, rather than optimal function for end user. Technological baroque (my term) refers to kind of hyper variation. By this I mean proliferating product variation yielding little to no increase in function, but simply contributing to new versions with almost the same utility being endlessly rolled out to give sophisticated marketing new things to hype as frequently as possible. This is to be distinguished from planned obsolescence, which was probably pioneered in its 20th Century form by the Krupp canon makers in the 19th century, who figured out they could make a better canon with scientific metallurgical knowledge and decided to incrementalize ramping up of canon barrel hardness to maximize profits and perpetuate market influence over kingdoms buying their canons over time as well. The Krups would role out the latest canon barrels hardened to allow a little more charge and so a little more range. Selling to one kingdom forced the other kingdom’s to buy new canons to stay strategically competitive. Once all the kindoms had new canons, Krupp increased the hardness, and repeated the marketing process. It could have hardened the barrels massively in one increment from the start, but, well, that would have meant only one round of canon sales, and then Krupp would have had to invest heavily to discover a whole new metal/alloy to justify a new round of canon sales. This model of incrementalizing technological innovations to optimize cashflow, while intentionally suboptimizing product utility for buyer, became ubiquitous business model in the 20 Century prior to CAD. At first, CAD enabled quite a lot of product innovation simply by what-ifing existing products, then came what-ifing new materials introduced into new products, and then came incrementalization of planned obsolescence on steroids, so to speak. But centralization of production in the far east and concomitant long distance shipping in conjunction with CAD and high interest costs and high energy cost converged to trigger just in time inventory management and this in turn all together triggered a relentless insistence on packing density. Floating cheaply made, rapidly obsolete, hyper variationed, throw-away consumer junk, er, products, on gigantic ships lead firms to endlessly trade off end function of products for high density packing (a lot of product in a little space in the shipping container) in shipment. This trade-off preference intensified, when NWO central bank strategies to migrate from diversified producer markets first to producer oligopolies, and then to massive concentration of ownership of those producer oligopolies by three asset management organization using untraceable bailout monies to fund the concentration of ownership in NWO hands. The goal for the NWO was the blunt ax of more top down control by the NWO. In little time, their financialist reach exceeded their producer grasp by many orders of magnitude, which vice they then rationalized into a virtue by exploiting the very instability, chaos and inefficiency their ignorance (and their calculation)–something I like to call “ignoration”–triggered so as to enable still more acquisition and concentration with fake money they printed and gave untraceably to their big three investment management firms and still the process continues. No matter who we elect, it seems they like fake money and are elected largely by being given more of it than their opponent. But I digress.

    The result was marginalizing firm competition through real innovation in producer oligopolies to near zero and replacing it with “coopetition” i.e., cooperation AND competition. The fake, or junk, economists would have you believe “coopetition” were a good for productivity AND efficiency AND innovation. NOT. Under coopetition, oligopolists essentially compete to cooperate; i.e., they compete to copy what other members innovate based on the fake money they are given by their NWO masters–the central bank owning financialists. And practically ALL innovation under this NWO is incrementalized to enable and ensure the perpetuation of their controlled producer oligopolies. But first CAD and now “rapid prototyping” achieved by linking CAD with 3-D printing, in reality push the whole kit and caboodle of R&D and production into something fundamentally NOT planned obsolescence. They have standardized and normalized “planned suboptiimization,” if you will, which appears something significantly different. Products are designed to be suboptimal from the outset and incrementally improved into something suboptimal and to be replaced long before they are ever made well in terms of their utility to the consumer. There are exceptions, but these seem to prove the rule so far.

    For example, when you buy a toaster today, it was apparently never intended to be any good as a toaster for the consumer. It was designed to be barely good enough to be not bought, if you will, by a consumer operating without real substitution choice among toasters with differing degrees of meaningful functionality, just choice substituting appearances of what are all junk toasters underneath. Contemporary toasters were designed to be packed, shipped, displayed, sold and thrown in the trash within two years of use. Function in use by consumers appears practically irrelevant. A contemporary toaster was designed to be made by robots, prisoners, and child slaves, shipped efficiently across the ocean in containers, along with illegal drugs, illegal weapons, and other contraband goods requiring more of the weight bearing capcities of the ships, and to fit perfectly in stacks on store shelfs, and to catch the human eye at a subliminal sensual and symbolic/sign level. The consumer’s user experience with the toaster matters hardly at all in the calculus in my anecdotal. Experience. Compared to the technological zenith of a practically automatic Sunbeam Radiant Toaster made 1940s to 1980, still operating today and likely operating a hundred years from now, a contemporary toaster is a de-utilitized piece of junk designed solely to serve the interest of a vast supply chain and investment chain–NOT a consumer.


    Well, the full answer would take a book. But I will distill it give one a hint of the drivers.

    Because in a producer oligopolized, centrally financed (and so centrally planned to the interests of the NWO, not its consumers) economy : a.) fake consumer reviews in web sites on media controlled by 5 holding companies each actually under controlled ownership by the same three investment managers (working for the NWO) have largely replaced word of mouth as the buying criteria for most increasingly de-educated consumers; and b.) the price of the toaster is segmented by income class, so, regardless of what income class you belong to, there is no incentive to seek out the toaster with the most functional utility. Whether you are affluent and buying a SMEG for its looks, or counting ATM charges and buying a Procter Silex at CVS, its a throw away item and performs like one. It will toast your toast until it doesn’t in a year or two, and to think about it at all is foolish, because you won’t find ANY toaster on the market that was designed for a consumer to possess high quality and utility and durability and reliability. These attributes beneficial to a consumer, are inconsequential to the supply chain and to the investment chain. Hence, they are inexorably marginalized out of the design/engineering of the product. Using one of these cheap toasters, one can readily imagine that an artificial intelligence routine with a simulated moron IQ is used to engineer the consumer’s desired function, while the best engineering minds of a generation the in the first percentile beneath those being used to design WMD, and mind control technologies, are expended figuring out how to make it easy for robots, prisoners and child slaves to make, store in containers with max units per container volume and min breakage, and also to catch the eye of mind controlled consumers predictively programmed by advertising, entertainment and public school conditioning to impulsively buy.

    The key here is that almost all products have crossed the threshold into hyper variation and consumer suboptimization. It is not like the 1950s, when a Chevrolet (itself an early compromise of planned obsolescence) was engineered underneath very solidly and durably and was very repairable, and only planned obsolete on the surface. Most products now are designed and engineered sub optimally core to skin from a consumers POV. They suck. And the stuff designed for the rich, now that the rich are a mass market segment, because of globalization, sucks, too. Any product not hand crafted and hand made at the point of sale seems as apt to be as sub optimally designed, engineered and manufactured for long distance shipping as a toaster at CVS. And given that most craftsman cannot make a living any more doing bespoke work, bespoke craftsmanship is a watered down version of what it once was, also, and in some cases cannot even muster the resources needed to make something good. But I digress. In fact quite a lot of products designed with high tech by producer oligopolies for the “mass rich” are fully legal rip offs IMHO. Your Lexus is a flipping Toyota with more sound deadener sprayed in it, more padding under the hide seats, and a black box dial-up adding 15 more horsepower. The rest of the superiority exists in the perceptual “beauty” of the exterior. It can’t do anything between 0 and 85 that a Toyota cannot do, as well. Mercedes Benz? Years ago, but still in the 21st Century, I recall German automotive engineers were surveyed and picked the Toyota Camry as the best designed, best engineered, best assembled, most reliable, best car made. And yes, they probably even ship better. What is wrong with this technological baroque picture? But again I digress.

    The point is: rapid prototyping could, if NWO financialism succeeds in vassalizing all of EURASIA without extinction of us all by World WAR WMD, quickly lead to “Technological Baroque Runaway.”

    What do I mean by Technological Baroque Runaway? I mean very shortly the end consumer could completely disappear from the design/engineering calculus, except as a buying receptor to be stimulated with infinite product variation within limits; i.e., a controlled economic chaos morphing endlessly around strange tendencies (to the clouded consumer) of design/engineering paradigms endlessly, incrementally varied not toward progress, but toward triggering the dumbed down, sensual perceptions of change in consumers.

    Pocket knives have already taken on this characteristic as I speak. They are not getting better, rather they are getting more individualized. I like knife A better than Knife B. You like Knife B better than Knife A. We both have our subjective preferences triggered by variations in the knives that alter only subjective perceptions of function deemed desired, not actual real world practical utility, because we don’t hardly use the things in the real world in the first place. It is the “jewelry-ization” of functional tools. Jewelry-ization refers to the reduction of a tool to its signage content vis a vis other distinguishable only in terms of their signage content, not their practical utility. In a signage realm, aka a signage economy, humans think more about what they might do with tools than what they will do with tools. They think more about the appearance of the tool to others, and to themselves, than what they will actually do with the tool. We might use the knife for self defense. We might use it to cut a box, or cordage. We might use it to pry a staple, or cut a label, from another technologically baroque product we have just purchased. We might pass it on to our sons, or daughters. We might sit around over beers and compare ours with our friends. We might go camping and use it to feather a stick. We might do many things with it. But the only thing for certain to be done with it on a frequent basis is that we will sit around and admire and fidget with it. For such consumers, for persons that increasingly live in the virtual world of “might,” infinite variation unrelated to real function is techno-cat nip. Survivalists especially fall prey to this, while thinking themselves the utter opposites of this type of buyer. They plan to put these knives to “hard use” if/when SHTF. I like survivalists, actually. I think they have brought a kind of rationality to things in our world full of NWO imbeciles that have normalized their reach exceeding their grasp and so endangering all of us with World War WMD. But the reality is the sheer complexity and unforeseen consequences that make World War WMD possible also simultaneously make it improbable. These NWO idiots not only cannot successfully achieve their own grand goals because of complexity and unforeseen consequence, they also cannot ensure their failure to achieve them. Thus, survivalists expecting SHTF breaking out as the new normal, simply do not grasp the confounding tendencies of bureaucratic inertia, path dependence in systems of huge sunk cost, and the desire of elites to survive at all costs. YES, they would kill, or control, us all, if it ensured they would probably survive at all costs, but its not clear to them that they would. They grasp the devils of complexity as much, if not more than the rest of us. They share in the problem of technological baroque runaway as much, if not more than we do. They know and fear that technological baroque runaway will spread like stuxnet viruses in such a world, same as we ordinary folk do and same as survivalists do.

    In such a world, everyone will increasingly select a knife and a pair of tennis shoes, levels of surveillance intrusion enabled, with the illusion of bespoke uniqueness without the reality of it. At some point we will not only talk about the Turing Test for computer sentience, wherein a computer is sentient if it can fool a human into appearing sentient, whether it really is or not, but also of the Turingbate 1.0 Test of a technologically baroque product being unique, wherein it will be deemed bespoke and improved, if it can fool a person into believing it is bespoke and improved, whether it is or not.


    But I am, I suppose, engaging in handwringing on an epic scale here. Life will go on regardless and human beings will find ways to enjoy and savor and share it, even during a technological baroque runaway, so long as we don’t extinct ourselves in World War WMD.

    And surely, human beings will find ways to both personalize basketball shoes with 3-D printing of them, and to somehow keep the sport in a sufficiently precarious balance between virtue and corruption apparently intrinsic to it since its inception, to keep it the greatest game ever invented and to keep it yielding joys to little boys (and girls) that play it, and yielding satisfaction and/or consideration to the parents, students, fans, alums, member institutions, athletic directors’ cartel (i.e., the NCAA), media-gaming complex, petroshoeco-agency complex, and the crime and intelligence organizations that likely launder vast sums of money through it. 🙂

    Whattta world!

    Rock Chalk!!!

  • JayHawkFanToo said:


    The particular story you cited was discussed in another forum I belong that deals with 3-d printing. The write up can lead one to believe that a 3-d printer can be programmed and the finished shoe produced; this not even close to reality.


    As with most other things related to high technology, implementation and full transformation will not come as fast as early believers predict, but much faster than early skeptics predict.

    Its jaybate 1.0’s rule of high technology implementation and transformation. 🙂

  • What everyone needs to keep foremost in mind about 3-D printing from an early and problematic economic impact POV is that 3-D scanning/imaging of an additive manufactured product, makes it potentially unprecedentedly feasible to copy exactly that product, or to simulate it with other inferior and cheaper materials.

    To get the concept, take a simple additive manufactured hex nut.

    3-D scan it.

    Find the same additive material used and the same 3-D printer used to print the hex nut.

    Use the 3-D scan to operate your 3-D printer.

    Add material.


    The same nut.

    Effectively indistinguishable from the original.

    Yes, there will be tricks to make things more difficult to copy accurately and completely. But that’s how things are now already.

    If you thought figuring out whether a Rollex was real, or a knock off, or part real with a fake movement, etc., when purchasing second hand examples, you probably ain’t seen nothing yet.

    For quite awhile, the problem will be limited to simple items produced additively. High ticket, subtractively manufactured items will be very difficult, or impossible, to counterfeit additively, except for certain of the sub assemblies and constituent parts.

    But, over time, more and more producers of original products will opt for additive manufacture of increasing numbers of the parts that comprise their authentic products. Advances in materials science, part design efficiency, and part performance, and cost control will drive this migration at least in some parts. Early on, though, legacy manufacturers will be quite calculated in retaining certain subtractively machined parts, and imbedding certain smart chips encoded to discourage counterfeiting, in hopes of being able to discourage copies, and win settlements in courts. But…

    It doesn’t take a Nostradamus, or a batetradamus 1.0, to see where this is heading. Industrialization and digitalization made it easier to make copies, but counterfeiting was still discouraged to considerable degree.

    3-D scanning coupled with 3-D printing will take this problem to a degree of copying, but not completely overwhelm the system. Yes, there will be ways to discourage it, but net it is likely that copying will increase as a problem. The more things are additively manufactured, the less parts a forger has to counterfeit traceably, and the more he can literally duplicate untraceably.

    Counterfeiting is NEVER perfect.

    If it were there would never be originals.

    But counterfeiting is never completely imperfect.

    Otherwise there would be no counterfeiting.

    But this combo of 3-D scanning and 3-D Printing and their very existence as data files capable to be captured by NSA at the top of the surveillance pyramid, and on down through the ranks of hackers and crooks preying on data storage and data in motion, mean lots of products can easily be pinched and duplicated hither thither and yon.

    But when you combine this copying increase with decentralization of copy production that additive manufacturing appears to enable, then you have real headaches for: a.) the consumer trying to get an authentic product; b.) the producer trying to know who and where the problem of copying is located; and c.) law enforcement and judiciary trying to enforce intellectual property rights.

  • The best thing I’ve seen a 3D printer make a kidney. That’s pretty cool and hopefully they’ll be able to make a viable organ soon. (It doesn’t function currently) That’s the future of the tech as it stands now. That and making one off parts that are expensive or impractical to obtain.

  • jaybate 1.0 said:

    Counterfeiting is NEVER perfect.

    If it were there would never be originals.

    But counterfeiting is never completely imperfect.

    Otherwise there would be no counterfeiting.

    You always have to have an original. If people could counterfeit perfectly, one of two things would happen. The original loses its value because it’s no longer unique and rare. Or you only have originals and no counterfeits because everyone is creating their own thing.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    SMH. Have you actually seen anything printed by a 3-d printer? It might have same shape of the original but they are nothing alike; a composite nut printed by a 3-d printer and a steel nut might have the same shape but will never look alike or have the same mechanical properties and you will never confuse one for the other. If you want an identical nut you have to use a CNC machine and you would be paying at least 50-100 times more to the machine shop than you would pay for the same thing at the hardware store. The same steel nut that you pay 50 cents at the hardware store would cost you 20 times more using a 3-d printer and would not have the strength of the steel nut…not even close.

  • SMH2.

    SHM. Here we go…

    SHM. Interesting. You are preaching to the choir regarding costs comparing machined parts versus 3D copies requiring machining, as I thought I made clear in my post.

    SHM. So: I am not sure why you are focusing on costs of copying machined parts, or 3D printed parts requiring further machining, when the issue is apparently copying 3D printed parts not requiring further machining. Capice?

    SHM. I have never heard anyone else argue it would cost 100 times more to make a copy of a 3-D printed part requiring no machining from a filched CAD-CAM FILE, or from a file generated from a 3D scan of such a part, with an identical 3D printer, as used to make the original 3-D printed part requiring no machining. It seems like you should let the government know about your POV on this, so they understand.

    SHM. I am not qualified to agree, or disagree with you. But it seems like copying a 3D printed part requiring no machining with a filched file, or a file generated by 3D scanning of a 3D printed part requiring no machining, would yield an effectively indistinguishable 3-D printed part requiring no machining.

    SHM. 3D scans and 3D prints of entirely, or partially, machined parts would logically probably not yet yield near perfect copies, as I thought I indicated in my post.

    SHM. In the future?

    SHM. Common sense suggests increasing reliance on 3D printed parts with less and less post print machining required, as design/engineering evolve and the technologies of additive manufacture progress.

    SHM. But again I am not qualified to agree, or disagree with your remarks, or reliably predict the future of this technology.

    SHM. I have had no occasion or reason to search for and and examine a 3D printed part. Another engineer once told me 3D printed parts are already pretty widely used, and that I have likely already seen a 3-D printed part unwittingly. That suggests to me they are already pretty well done from a layman’s eye. And I recall a story with pictures supposedly comparing original 3D printed hex nuts and 3-D printed duplicates. They appeared indistinguishable, but I cannot vouch for the veracity of pictures, or the stories, nor recall citations.

    SHM. Rock Chalk!

    SHM. Howling!


  • I’m telling you the next big thing for 3D printers are organs. There has been a printed, working human bladder. Ear and nose transplants are around the corner. Kidneys are next. After that ???


  • @dylans

    Thx for the link.


  • @jaybate-1-0 well, I’ve never heard the philosophy of 3D printing sung to that tune before; good stuff!!

    In my lab I’m mostly working with high end metals that have aerospace applications. With our CAD files we can run all sorts of finite element model testing to predict how our material will work. The modeling (it doesn’t have to be just FEM) is usually right on the money; mechanics has been around for a long time and material behavior in compression and tension are well described by the literature, even for porous/lattice structures. We have mass optimization parameters that we can use to keep the relative density of our parts low but the strength/fracture toughness high. It gets even more interesting if you can involve machine learning, but I’m only just learning how machine learning can be helpful. Your term technological baroque (“By this I mean proliferating product variation yielding little to no increase in function, but simply contributing to new versions with almost the same utility being endlessly rolled out to give sophisticated marketing new things to hype as frequently as possible”) seems to capture the textile and even plastics industry accurately. What are we creating that’s new? Anyone with a website can now sell customized gear from an inventory they bought for pennies from Chinese manufacturers off Alibaba.com (even I did this as a quick way to make some cash when I was feeling more entrepreneurial!). It’s clear neither of us think all of AM is technological baroque, but plastics (clothing are plastics too) can be made quick and inexpensively, so it’s not surprising that the market has gone in this direction.

    The cost of an at home desktop 3D printer that will print metal is going down. However, not sure I would want to print out a replacement part for my bike and trust that it holds up while I’m riding down the mountain at 30+ MPH. I still prefer to have my metals produced by industry unless I have done a full micro structural characterization of my home made metal (which would require some serious equipment).

    Where does AM have a competitive advantage on the bball court? Still working on that one!


  • @JayHawkFanToo what type of parts are you printing, and I’m assuming they are cheaper than machined parts otherwise the customer wouldn’t be interested?

    Has the technology for 3D printing changed much since you’ve been in business?

  • @BucknellJayhawk3

    I print adjustable camera holders, iPad holders and bezels for use in photo booth setups. The cost of having a machine shop would be very high for even large runs and prohibitive for small runs or one of a kind prototypes. There are on line places where you can put the part specs and you will get quotes from people with 3-d printers in your area. Last time I tried that I needed 6 inch diameter , 1/2 inch thick speaker spacer rings for a custom car installation and the quotes were around $30-$40 each and I ended up buying off the shelf plastic spacers for less than $25 for all 4 and with very minor modification worked just fine. The cost of the filament is not that bad but it takes a long time (hours) to print even small objects.

    Now, if I needed high strength metallic components, a 3-d printer will not do and a machine shop is needed. 3-d printers are best used for one of a kind prototypes and not production runs. The price has come down quite a bit and capabilities increased but 3-d printers are nowhere near where some people think they are.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    One of the defining characteristics of digitalization and ensuing hypermodernity (the era we have moved into) is that many analog things under the curve can be digitally copied so close to the curve that it simply takes far too much money, analysis, and enforcement time for other humans to root out the fakes and confirm the originals.

    Further, originality is undergoing a radical transformation in conception, as is authorship.

    Originiality and authorship simply don’t mean the same that they did prior to the 1980s IMHO, and in the opinion of many others, like the late Michael Crichton (see Rising Sun and State of Fear), and Jean Beaudrillard (see virtually any of his remarkable explorations of fields like Marxism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, hard sciences, politics, economics etc. Both these thinkers largely demolished the meaning of meaning and of authorship and originality. To say nothing of calling into question truth.

    And I won’t even enter what quantum theory transformed, when it broke down the independence of subject and object and refuted the locality assumption.

    Not trying to argue, but civilizations (to the extent we are still permitted to use the term independent of those that decry it as a racist concept) and their constituent cultures and sub cultures are reeling from the break down of legacy notions of originals and authorship and the nature of truth and authenticity vs. lies and fakery that simply don’t hold up anymore under many conditions.

    Simply agreeing to keep a stiff upper lip and go on working and doing our best are admirable, and courageous, and preferable to giving into nihilism, but they are not the same as bringing coherence to what science and technology have wrought the last 125 years or so. We are in a crisis of meaning and digitalization and its capacity for creating effectively indistinguishable copies is at the very crux of our problems.

  • I just want a 3D printer so I can stop looking for my kids lost legos. 😃

  • @dylans Wait until they lose the printer.

  • @JayHawkFanToo thanks for the insight! Interesting to hear that you can find 3D printers regionally with that ease. Seems like a great time to have your own business.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    If you ever want to do larger quantities and need injection molding, PM me.

  • @drgnslayr

    Most of the stuff I do is very small quantities for custom builds. 3-d works well for what I need since no high strength parts or mission critical components are involved; at time I have even used balsa foam with epoxy or acrylic finish for filler parts…very easy to work. At this time and with the non-commercial printers readily available, even a simple bezel for an iPad takes hours to print and it cannot yet compete with other technologies, such as injection molding, for production type runs. I do have a local source for injection molding.