Hypetex – Colored Carbon Fiber

colored carbon fiberHypetex is a bew colored carbon fiber available in bright, brilliant colors.  I’m not quite sure how they’ve managed to make black carbon into these colors, but am assuming that the carbon fiber strands are coated in color before being woven into traditional carbon fiber mats for production in any product.

Naturally, you can expect to see Hypetex appear in automotive applications where carbon fiber is already prized for its combination of light weight and stiffness.  Cars are often left unpainted to show off the carbon fiber weave, or the weave contains other materials such as titanium threads to enhance its beauty (such as Pagani or the Koenigsegg Trevita).  Chairs and other home furnishings are another possibility.  The most interesting application I foresee though is personal electronics.  Imagine the rear shell of your iPad being constructed from this material.  Beautiful, rigid, lightweight…I think it’s only a matter of time before Apple moves away from aluminum and towards carbon fiber for their products…and this colored carbon fiber will only hasten that transition.

SketchFab – the ‘YouTube’ for 3D files

Lotus Elise.lwo (click to view in 3D)


Lotus Elise.lwo

Creators of 3D files have had a real challenge in sharing those files with other users easily.  They can post 2D screenshots, or provide 3D files which must be downloaded and opened by somewhat specialized software.  SketchFab is providing a great alternative – you upload your 3D file, then can embed it (just like with YouTube videos) in your Kickstarter campaign or whatever, with the users able to view, rotate, zoom, your model just from their web browser – no special software or downloads needed.  It’s not a way for people to download files – just a way to help them view what you’ve already created.  You can see it in action firsthand in the Lotus Exige model embedded above.  Pretty cool.  Check out more here or read more at Forbes.com.

UPDATE – well, the first time I embedded this in my post, it worked as intended – all spinning etc from the preview window above. Now it’s linking to an external site…I’m not really sure why? Immature technology perhaps…but still very promising. Also note that the model above is incorrectly named by its creator…the engine cover on this car makes it clear it’s an Exige, not an Elise!

Gigabot – large-scale 3D printing

3D printing is taking a big step forward with the Gigabot, a Kickstarter project that aims to produce a 3D printer with a massive 24x24x24″ build envelope!  Ready-to-assemble kits cost $2500 (pay more if you want it assembled for you).  Cool stuff, though I’m not quite sure the market is ready for this (apart from those people wishing to print cool lamp shades…).


3D Microprinter

3d.nano_.printer.1x2993D printing is a cool technology and one I’m really enjoying…but this 3D microprinter is in a class by itself.  It can print features as small as 30 nanometers, which is about .000001″!  It uses a process similar to stereo lithography, whereby a liquid resin is hardened by directed light in selective areas, building the part a layer at a time.  Producing geometry at this scale can be useful for all your favorite nano-technologies…microneedles, microfluidics, etc.  Cool stuff.

(read more here)

3D Printing Options

new_cubeJoy of joys…I finally have my own 3D Printer!  I’ll be writing much more about it soon, but in the meantime, if you’re interested in this stuff, check out this article at MAKE, it’s their self-labeled ‘Ultimate 3D Printer Buyer’s Guide‘.  The options are many, though in the end, I opted for a lower end consumer oriented machine, as I don’t see the others filling my occasional need for professional quality prototypes.  The machine I bought is the Cube printer from 3D Systems.  The price was a bit high compared to the more DIY type options, but I opted for that as it’s more likely (I felt) to be a true plug and play, hands off sort of machine.  I’ll be using it for quick, rough protos, though I expect I’ll still depend on vendors for higher quality prototypes at times.  A perfect combo, really.  Stay tuned for more on the Cube…I’ve been using it for only a couple days now and am learning a lot!

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