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3D printing coming to Brisbane

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The first 3D printer at the State Library of Queensland.

The first 3D printer at the State Library of Queensland.

Three-dimensional printing technology, such as that which saw two students in the US print and fly their own plane last month, could be publicly available in Brisbane by Christmas.

The state's first 3D printing lab is to be established at The Edge, at the State Library of Queensland, and in another first the revolutionary technology will be paid-for with cash secured through crowd-funding.

So far, the library has raised more than $6000 of the $9300 goal via the crowd-funding site Pozible, which is similar to the American platform Kickstarter but more accessible to Australian projects.

The platforms enable members of the community to pledge funds to projects such as films or new product designs. Typically, a project must reach its nominated funding goal to be deemed successful and secure the funds, with backers rewarded with tangible benefits rather than “investor” profit-share.

Successful projects are charged a percentage fee by the crowd-funding platform.

Figures from Kickstarter show more than $380 million has been pledged to projects since the site launched in 2009, while Pozible, launched as Fundbreak in 2010, reached more than $3 million in pledges at June this year. According to Pozible, the site has a 42 per cent success rate.

There are just over 20 days left in the State Library of Queensland's 3D printing campaign.

SLQ chief executive and state librarian Janette Wright said supporters could contribute anything from $1 to $930, with a range of rewards matching each level of contribution such as priority access to other learning experiences at The Edge and invitations to supporter-only events.

Additionally, every printer pledged to The Edge will be built through a socially inclusive training program, Ms Wight said, providing marginalised young people with an entry point into 3D printing technology.

The facilities are a logical follow for the library which already provides free public access to internet services and a broad range of creative software and hardware, according to the librarian.

“If this campaign is successfully funded it will create the first public resource of its kind in Queensland,” Ms Wight said.

“You will be able to walk into The Edge, book a printer and put it to work on personal projects, experimental works, prototyping and anything in between.

“This resource will open a wealth of possibilities for artists, entrepreneurs and creators of all ages and will also provide a new range of learning opportunities at The Edge.”

Technology entrepreneur Rob Ward, author of industry blog 3D Printers Australia, said the demand for 3D printing had skyrocketed across the nation in recent years.

Though 3D printing has been used for prototyping since the '80s, Mr Ward said advances in technology had created a new market for entry-level printers which, at about $5000, were a tenth of the price of the industrial machines.

He said schools and community groups were fuelling much of the demand, given the creative potential of the 3D printers.

“The operating costs for these entry level machines are also low,” Mr Ward said.

“The big machines are still vastly more expensive given they're printing with resins and so on, but the smaller printers being used at schools are printing a two-to-three millimetre cord of PLA material which ranges at about $100 a kilo so your small parts cost only a matter of cents.

“The 3D printers represent a massive shift – it's very exciting to think where the technology will take us.”

Further information about the State Library of Queensland's bid to have the first public 3D printing lab, including how to pledge, is available via the campaign website

0 comment

  • $9300??? You can buy 3D printers for under $2000. No wonder the state is bankrupt!

    Commenter
    Jim
    Date and time
    November 07, 2012, 2:38PM
    • Read the article. The $9300 is for a 3D Printing Lab – i.e. a room set up with multiple 3D printers, as well as the computers and software required to operate them.

      Commenter
      The Realistic
      Date and time
      November 07, 2012, 2:52PM
    • Did you read the article Jim? They are not buying just one printer but equipping a 3D printer lab.If you follow the link you will see they are building them for less than $1000 each.

      Commenter
      lapin
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      November 07, 2012, 2:54PM
    • It also says they're raising funds with a Pozible campaign... wasn't aware that the QLD State Govt. owns Pozible?

      Commenter
      Sandra
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      November 07, 2012, 3:09PM
  • Printers for individuals are $930, the total campaign is aiming to raise $9300, i.e. Ten printers.

    (I'm one of the backers and help with stuff at The Edge)

    Commenter
    Clinton Roy
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    November 07, 2012, 2:53PM
    Comments are now closed
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