Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Future Of 3D Printing


Where next for this developing technology?

3D printing is undeniably one of the more successful technologies to emerge in the last few years, having only recently become commercially viable. But at present, 3D printing is in its infancy. The vast majority of us have never touched a 3D printer or anything made by one. So is this a fad that will disappear once everyone who wants to try one has had a go, or are there big things in store? What, if anything, is the future of 3D printing?

3D Printing Outside The Home

3d printing medicine

It’s not just a revolution for home-based makers, you know!

Although 3D printing’s current popularity stems from its growing success as a home technology, there are applications outside the home (and office) that make it increasingly clear that we’ve only scratched the surface of what 3D printing might be able to do. While consumer 3D printers tend to create small and relatively simple objects, the principles they’re based on are radically transforming other industries. If you aren’t convinced that 3D printing is the future, maybe you’ll change your mind once you’ve read this.

Are Crowdfunded 3D Printers A Success?

Crowdfunded 3D Printers

They’ve certainly made headlines, but having a high profile doesn’t necessarily translate into real-world success…

The DIY ethic inherent in 3D printing has had a notable effect on the industry sector in many ways, but perhaps the most surprising is in the number of 3D printers that have been brought to life using platforms like Kickstarter.

Part of the reason is that for many people, assembling a 3D printer is a hurdle they can’t quite clear. They want to make 3D objects, but assembling a piece of computer hardware essentially from scratch is slightly out of their capabilities and price range. Even more enthusiastic 3D printing users get excited about the prospect of a unit built by and for enthusiasts, with features most consumer models cut corners on.

Palicomp Overclocked i7 Ranger Bundle

Palicomp Overclocked i7 Ranger Bundle

Moving back up the price scale, we have this intriguing configurable bundle from Palicomp, which can range from the base price of £399.99 through to an eyewatering £928.98.

The bundle consists of an Asus Maximus VII Ranger motherboard, an Intel Haswell Core i7-4790K processor overclocked to 4.4GHz, a ThermalTake Contac21 High Performance Ultra silent cooler and the option to add from 4GB of Cruicial 1333MHz memory through to 32GB of Corsair Vengeance Pro 2133MHz RAM.

CCL Alpha Brilliant Bundle

CCL Alpha Brilliant Bundle

It’s all fine and well having an extreme Intel-based, overclocked bundle to help drive your gaming to higher levels of performance, but what if you simply require an entry-level bundle that costs less than £200?

CCL may have the answer for you in the form of its Alpha Brilliant Motherboard Bundle. This package consists of an Asus A88XM-E motherboard, 8GB of Kingston 1600MHz ValueRAM and an AMD 3.6GHz A8-6600K CPU.

OC Gigabyte Magma Z97 Bundle

OC Gigabyte Magma Z97 Bundle

Our second Overclockers UK bundle represents a higher grade of components and features at, obviously, a higher price than the previous one. But what you get for your money makes this particular bundle stand out from the crowd.

The Overclockers UK Gigabyte Magma bundle consists of a Gigabyte Z97X-SOC Force motherboard, a choice of 8GB or 16GB TeamGroup Vulcan 2133MHz memory, an Intel Core i7-4790K Haswell Refresh CPU overclocked to 4.5GHz and a Prolimatech Genesis CPU cooler.

Scan MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Bundle

Scan MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Bundle

Scan has an interesting gaming bundle on offer consisting of an MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard and an Intel Core i7-4790K CPU. But is this a setup worth spending your hard-earned pounds on?

The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 is an immensely stylish and capable ATX, LGA 1150 motherboard. It has four DDR3 DIMM slots for a maximum of 32GB of overclocked 3300MHz memory, three PCIe x16 slots, four PCIe x1 slots and an M.2 port. The rear IO consists of a gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, VGA, DVI, HDMI and six audio jacks.

OC Recon Anniversary Intel Bundle

OC Recon Anniversary Intel Bundle

Overclockers UK has a range of gaming motherboard bundles available. The Recon Anniversary Intel bundle is the cheapest from the range (at present), but don’t let the price fool you into thinking corners have been cut.

The bundle is certainly good enough for the modest gamer on a budget. It features an Asus H81M-Plus Intel motherboard, an Intel Pentium K Anniversary Edition G3258 processor overclocked to a decent 4.2GHz, 8GB (2 x 4GB) Kingston HyperX 1866MHz memory and a Prolimatech 68 CPU cooler.