Stay Focused

Like us on Facebook

voi.ci - url shortening

Recent Posts

More Places to Go

Archives

Tags

I’ve been a tech junkie for a very long time. It seems that whenever new technology appears, I’m fairly quick to try it out.

Several years ago, I bought a MakerBot 3D printer. Early adopters know that purchasing new technology is usually expensive – this model had a price tag just north of $2000. Using it, I’ve learned the mechanics of how these amazing devices turn long rolls of plastic filament (PLA) into very detailed solid models. The prize is a collection of plastic models that adorn my office and the house. To be honest, I haven’t had a need for additional 3D models, so the MakerBot has been sitting unused for the past few months.

At this past January’s Consumer Electronics Show I ran across a couple of new 3D printers. And while the technology is no longer new, the prices of several of the printers are now within the grasp of many more consumers. My interest in a second 3D printer was motivated by my curiosity about the quality of the finished models compared to the more expensive MakerBot from a couple of years ago.

New Matter is a relatively new manufacturer that makes the MOD-t 3D printer. I purchased one directly from New Matter bundled with additional filament and accessories for $350 – a huge price difference vs. the MakerBot from a few years ago.

 


The MODt is small in size and can easily fit on a desktop. When operating, the continuous movement of the base plate mechanism creates a a noticeable noise. The clear plastic cover keeps the noise level down. 3D models are created by emitting melted plastic filament (PLA) from the heated extruder. The PLA is supplied in long rolls of different colors. A 150-meter length roll of PLA costs about $20.

Here’s the MODt at work as it lays down a few thin layers of melted PLA. A few minutes later, several more layers have been added revealing more of the model.

This is the completed 3D model. You can see that the completed project shows a tremendous amount of detail. The patterns for models are available free from many online 3D libraries. This model was available from the New Matter 3D library.

This model was printed as two separate parts. Afterward, the base and the launcher were combined to turn it into a working catapult. This white model was also printed as two separate parts – the bottom circular plate and the tall intricate vase. Complex models may take a few hours to complete.

 

 
I’m impressed with the quality of the finished 3D models, especially at the rock-bottom $$300 price. For more information, please visit New Matter.

 

 

CES 2015 – 3D Printers

22nd January 2015

The Consumer Electronics Show – 3D Tech

As I mentioned previously, I started this New Year flying from the cold and snowy Midwest to a warm and sunny Las Vegas to attend the CES 2015 industry event as I have been doing for thirty-something years.

I’ve participated at CES on both sides of the aisle. For many years we exhibited our computer software products. For the past several years, I’ve been attending as an industry member. Now I have the opportunity to find out what new gadgets are coming down the tech turnpike.

All things 3D have been progressing at an amazing clip for the past three or four years. An entire section of South Hall was devoted to the 3D technology.

Here’s a few of the neat items that I found at this year’s expo.


Artec Eva 3D Scanner


The 3D scanner is mounted next to a rotating disk on which the subject is standing. The lights fully illuminate the subject.

A couple of minutes later, the completed 3D scan of the subject is displayed on the monitor for everyone to admire. The result is a full body digitized model.

As I was asking the Artec representative questions about how the scanner works, he picks up the scanner and proceeds to give me a “face-on” demonstration. As I stand in place, he walks completely around me, all the time pointing the hand-held device at my head.

About 90 seconds later, my face pops up on the monitor.

This scanner is a high-end model with a high end price – $19,800 to be exact. For more information, please visit The Artec Group.


Innovative Printers from 3D Systems

3D Systems “invented” 3D printing in 1989. Their large booth had several remarkable and innovative products.

 


perhaps “on demand” shoes are in the near future

a full size handbag, 3D produced

Modeling a lengthy 3D garment

One of the 3D chefs

deserts “baked” with 3D printer

making music – guitar and drums made with 3D printer

To find out more about their many different 3D printing devices, please visit 3D Systems.

 


Several New and Lower Priced 3D Printers


MakerBot Replcator Mini – a smaller version of their well-known Replicator printer. This unit sell for $1375.

This model was produced with the Makerbot.

For more info, please contact MakerBot



This is the Robo 3D. Maximum object size is 10″x9″x8″. Sells for $799.

Dave holding a model produced with the Robo. For more info, please visit Robo 3D.


New Matter Mod-t is scheduled for Q3 release with suggested price of $400. For more info, please visit New Matter.

For those who believe that 3D printers are for plastic products, here I spotted a few “wooden” 3D objects.

 
 

Yes, 3D printing technology is advancing rapidly and I look forward to faster, better and less expensive products in the near future.

Stay tuned for a few more reports on other gadgets that I found of interest at this year’s CES. They are coming soon.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

MakerBot and 3D Printing

14th November 2013

3D Printers will soon be Commonplace

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, I spent some time scouting out 3D printers. These are devices that can build or construct a three-dimensional solid object. For a couple of months, I studied the literature and researched several models via the Internet.

A couple of months later while I was in New York City, I stopped by a store in downtown Manhattan. It’s not your usual store – it’s for “techies” like me. MakerBot, a manufacturer of 3D printers had opened a store right in Manhattan. If the staff could prove to me that using their Replicator 2 was simple, I’d buy one.
(more…)

A Look at the Panasonic Real 3D W3 camera

 

I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t particularly interested in 3D photography and video until I took a walk through the aisles of CES this past January.

Among the major television makers LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp and Sony all had huge displays demonstrating some very impressive 3D capabilities.

From the fanfare that they were lavishing on their new equipment, it appears that the major electronics manufacturers are counting on 3D to be a big part of their revenue in the next few years.

Here’s an audience of viewers at the Panasonic booth being wowed with a wall-sized 3D movie.

To use any of the new 3D televisions, you’ll need those cool 3D glasses to watch the new content but not the glasses which sport the cheap bi-color lenses; instead you’ll need to use battery-powered glasses that must be matched to the television manufacturer.


Here’s a set of battery powered glasses for my Panasonic 3D television.

As I understand it, a 3D television image is displayed as an alternating pair of left eye/right eye images. So the left eye image appears each 1/60th of a second and the right eye image the next 1/60th of a second.

Each lens of the glasses contains a shutter. The shutter covering the left-eye opens each 1/60th of a second and the shutter covering the right-eye opens alternating 1/60th of a second. At this rate, the brain sees the alternating images as a single one in 3D.


Several companies are already producing 3D capture devices.

Panasonic is taking steps to support 3D with this stereo lens set that fits on their Micro Four-Thirds cameras.

This has two separate lenses that produces a set of digital image that can be displayed directly on their 3D television.


I stopped at the Fuji booth to watch a demo of their 3D camera.

Well, after a short ten minute introduction, I was hooked. After the show, I ordered one to try out the 3D features for myself.

This is the Fuji Real 3D W3 camera. You can see its two lenses are spaced apart about the same distance as your eyes. When you press the shutter, it captures two simultaneous images from slightly different viewpoints – left side and right side.

In fact, each lens is a 3X optical zoom that can also record a 10-megapixel image independently of one another. But when in 3D mode, the lenses are set to work synchronously.


On the back is a oversized 3.5″ LCD. But unlike a standard LCD, the one lets you view the 3D image without the need for special glasses.

In playback, the camera combine the two separate left and right images and displays them on a high resolution, 1.1 megapixel lenticular lens system to simulate the 3D effect and minimizes flickering and crosstalk (double exposure).


This picture of me is the closest that I can come to showing you how a 3D image looks on the W3’s LCD.

If you were viewing it on the W3, you’d see that my outstretched hand is clearly in front of my face and the gentleman behind me is very distant.

When viewed live, the 3D images are very impressive.


Likewise, you can just as easily capture and playback 3D videos with the W3. Press the video button and it’s ready to record 720p HD movies when you press the shutter.

To view the video on a larger screen, you’ll have to connect the camera to the 3D television with an HDMI cable. My Panasonic 3D television has an SD-slot so I can just insert the SD-card from the camera, precluding the need for the HDMI cable. Playback on a 3D television is very cool. In 3D video mode, the W3 truly gives you the Avatar-like effect.

Although designed especially for 3D photographs and video, it’s also a very capable and unique camera for “normal” 2D photographs.

Three different modes let the W3 capture two images at different zoom factors; two images with different ISO sensitivities; or two different images with different color attributes (black and white; chrome) all with a single press of the shutter.


3D photos and video are cool. But to really take advantage of the impact of 3D, you’ll need a 3D television – something that is bound to slow the adoption of cameras such as this.

As a side note, I’ve used the Sony Alpha A55 extensively and one of the features that it offers is one called 3D Sweep Panorama. Activate this feature, press the shutter and pan the camera (in a sweeping motion) and the camera automatically captures a 3D panorama image. While you cannot see the 3D effect in-camera, you can display it on a 3D television. Sony has several other less expensive compact cameras with the 3D Sweep Panorama feature so 3D is definitely on the minds of camera manufacturers.


In the short amount of time that I’ve spent exploring 3D, I’ve found that the Fuji W3 is a relatively inexpensive yet exciting way for me to add this new dimension.

 

I purchased the Real 3D W3 in February at a cost of just slightly over $300. For more information about the W3 visit Fujifilm.

For more information about the 3D stereo lens set contact Panasonic.

For more information about the 3D Sweep Panorama feature contact Sony.

 

Please note that Stay Focused has no connection to Fujifilm.

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


In this final Part 3, I’ll show you additional examples of some of the innovative and easy-to-use features that make the Sony Alpha A55 my recent favorite camera.

You can read about the “standard” features of the Sony Alpha A55 in Part 1 of my review. And in Part 2, I describe my experience using several of the A55’s unique features.


D-Range Optimization

When shooting a scene that has high contrast, you may notice that the shadow areas are likely to lack detail and/or the highlight areas are overexposed.

To counter this tricky lighting, the A55 offers D-Range Optimization that compresses tones to preserve detail in both shadows and highlights.

This feature is not unique to the A55; Canon offers a similar feature which it calls Auto Lighting Optimizer and Nikon uses the moniker Active D-Lighting.
(more…)