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15-Year-Old Developing a 3D Printer 10x Faster Than Anything On the Market 203

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
New submitter jigmypig writes: One of the main issues with 3D printers today is that they lack in one area; speed. A 15-year-old boy named Thomas Suarez is developing a 3D printer that he says is the most reliable, most advanced, and faster than any 3D printer on the market today. In fact he claims it is 10 times faster than any 3D printer ever created. "There's something that makes me want to keep going and keep innovating," he says, laughing at being asked if he'd be better off outside climbing trees or riding a bike. "I feel that my interests will always lie in technology. Maybe I should go outside more but I just really like this stuff."
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15-Year-Old Developing a 3D Printer 10x Faster Than Anything On the Market

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  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @02:10PM (#47394187)
    Great claims. Nothing to back them up.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @03:33PM (#47394615) Homepage

      Another future CEO. Just great.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Kind of a rule: when headlines mention youngster innovator's age, shit ain't gonna happen.

      It's just all about "aww cute".

    • No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @04:11PM (#47394781)

      Slashdot needs to knock it off with these "Child genius is going to totally upstage all those stupid companies and make something amazing!" stories they run some time. The thing is, they are essentially never true and we as geeks should know better.

      Smart kids often have the problem of thinking they know everything. They have the brains to be well above their peers at pretty much everything, and so have a confidence in their knowledge and intelligence, but lack the experience to understand the limitations of both in the larger world. Hence they'll think that they have found an "obvious" solution to a problem in the world that nobody else has managed to think of. I'm sure most of us felt like that at one time or another as children.

      However, it turns out that smart kids become smart adults, and those smart adults get job making the thing we use, solving the problems we have, and so on. So, usually if there's something that hasn't been solved, the reason is that there is NOT a simple solution. There isn't something that a kid will just say "Oh look, here's a better way to do it." Rather it is a complex problem and thus the solutions are complex.

      So Slashdot needs to quit with stories on shit like this unless there' something to back it up. A printer actually gets released based on this kids design? Ok that's a story. Some kid says he can do way better than anyone else? That's not a story. That is, to quote the Reapers, "A confidence borne of ignorance." It's not news.

      • It's worse than that. The problem with these kids is that they are just smart enough to do something but too stupid to realize that their idea doesn't work. They either grow up to be fly by night scammy venture capitalists or else that pot head kid in highschool "Dude, I just came up with this great idea, why don't we just power cars with rare earth magnets! They would go forever without gasoline!"

        Generally these kids come up with bad ideas that even a smart 16 year old could see the flaws in. The truly

      • Where their are the rare cases where a kid who doesn't have the mental block on this is how we need to do things can come up with a much more innovative solution. However most of the time, the best they achieve is creating something that other engineers have though of before but had rejected the idea, because of the trade-offs it can bring, being too expensive, doesn't meet quality standards, parts are hard to replace, cannot purchase the right to use a patent, excessively dangerous, etc....

        I had invented

    • Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      Current machines take an entire day or more to print something. It's not at all hard to believe that someone got it down to an hour for a 3" * 3" print. In fact, I'd be surprised if someone DIDN'T do that very soon.

      Because he's claiming to have done something that I fully expected someone to do rather soon, I don't see any reason to think he's lying.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    One of the main reasons 3D printers are slow is that bad things happen when you try to go too fast, such as warping. Unless he's created a new material, he's not going to fix that.

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @02:56PM (#47394417) Journal

      Yep. Also, adhesion starts to be a problem at high speed.

      The printers can move their parts much, much faster than they print at, and they typically do so when positioning a head without extruding. They can also churn out plastic pretty fast too, though you have to crank the heat way up to get the temperature hot enough for the fastest extrusion.

      If that's the problem then a series of pre-heaters could work, but I don't think the raw speed is the problem with these machines.

      It's why one does the outer layers slowly. You get better precision that way.

      • You could go old school and do it like a dot matrix printer with 10 heads in parallel.

        • I was going to criticize this, but actually this seems like it would work. You could feed a single spool into a common melt chamber, and then use needle valves on the heads to control whether specific points extruded. All the benefits of a small nozzle diameter without the draw back when filling in large items.

        • You could go old school and do it like a dot matrix printer with 10 heads in parallel.

          I was thinking if that was possible. It certainly is to some extent. The mid range printers often have dual extruders (or more). That's usually used for multicolour or multi material (especially support material) prints, but there exist hacks to print out a pair of suplicates simultaneously.

          I expect you could print the infill in parallel, but printing the outer shells would be harder since they're generally moulded to the

          • The heads don't need to be close together as long as you are printing out a matrix rather than line following.

            Print out rows n and n+10 and n+20 and n+30...
            Move over
            Print out rows n+1 and n+11 and n+21 and n+31...
            Repeat until done.

            • The heads don't need to be close together as long as you are printing out a matrix rather than line following.

              3D printers do line following because head positioning is easier and more accurate than starting/stopping extrusion. Your proposed method would work, except it would produce very messy edges.

      • Use a moderate power diode laser to preheat the bit you're just about to deposit onto to optimal adhesion temperature.

        • Yes, I think lasers are a necessary component.

        • Just put the whole damn thing into a cheap Chinese plastic annealing oven. Check Alibaba; shouldn't be more then a few hundred bucks.

          Temperature might be a little tricky, if you used too many plastic parts making your 3d printer, they might melt lose strength if you set the temperature too high.

      • by Bartles (1198017)
        You just feed into a heated hopper that keeps a larger volume of molten plastic, instead of doing the melting at the print head which requires high localized heat.
  • Sure, speed would be nice, but this is not really true:

    One of the main issues with 3D printers today is that they lack in one area; speed.

    3D printers lack in a whole lot of areas, and speed is not at the top of the list. There are a ton of things that you can't do with a 3d printer because the parts are too large, too intricate, need different materials than 3d printers can handle, or are too expensive to 3d print. As more of those problems are solved, the range of things you can plausibly 3d print expands significantly. Now once you can print something in 12 hours, it's great if you could print it in 2 hours or 20 minutes instead, but just being able to do it at all is the biggest step.

    • I'd add 'reliability' to that list. 3D printers currently have no feedback: If something goes wrong they keep shooting noodles. That means they need to be supervised, and for many prints there is an element of luck so it might take some hours to get a good result. I'm on attempt three to print a small box right now - the first two failed due to bad adhesion. I've just put down new kapton, but this one is already looking iffy.

      I think the edges of the print bed are cooler than the center, causing warping.

      • I'm guessing from the description that you're printing with ABS. Is that right? And if so, are you priming the kapton (or bluetape) with ABS juice before the print?

        I've found that that helped a great deal except that sometimes the print was rather hard to remove from the base.

        • Blue Bostic glue stick on glass works fantastically for me so far.

        • Tried ABS juice once, didn't seem to do much for me.

          I'm trying something new: Big brim, right up to the edge of the platform. Add clothespegs to hold it down!

          • If this fails I'm just going to switch back to PLA. I'm only using ABS for this because I've not got much PLA left to hand right now and want to practice getting large ABS prints to work. In my experience PLA is much less prone to warping.

          • Idea: Replace aluminium build platform with steel. Use magnets to anchor things down!

          • Tried ABS juice once, didn't seem to do much for me.

            I've been printing with ABS rather than PLA, since I want to use the acetone fume smoothing trick. It is a little trickier, but it can work very well.

            How much did you use?

            I had the opposite problem. I had to take the (hardened glass in that case) build plate off, clamp the part in a vice and twist it (wearing very thick gloves). No amount of prying could remove it.

            I believe that was with kapton (not bluetape as I previously thought), but I may be mistaken.

            • If you experiment with glue, make sure you've solvent handy to get it off again.

              • If you experiment with glue, make sure you've solvent handy to get it off again.

                Good point. The advantage with going for PVA is it's water soluable. I've not yet had any luck printing PVA though since it's so floppy that it tends to not go through the extruder properly instead preferring to wrap itself round the hobbed bolt. This isn't helped by its very low softening point so much so that just the heat from the motors softens it noticably.

                If you have acetone though that dissolves many glues.

      • by mark_reh (2015546)

        The lifting at corners of a box is caused by the shrinking of the plastic as it cools. There are straight lines of plastic connecting the corners which concentrates all the force from the shrinking there. If you make the surfaces of the box wavy instead of smooth and flat you'll have fewer corner lifting and delamination problems. The other thing you can do is enclose the printer in a box that keeps the whole print warm as it prints. I have found that a temperature as low as 40C inside the box is suffic

        • by mark_reh (2015546)

          Rounding the corners of your box, if the design constraints allow it, will help prevent corner lifting, as will using a brim about 5-6mm wide when printing the first layer.

        • by mark_reh (2015546)

          Avoid touching the printbed with your bare hands- oil from your hands will prevent prints from sticking. Before you print, make sure the bed is clean by wiping it with acetone while it is at room temperature.

    • by fermion (181285)
      but to a kid speed is all that matters. It is fast, are the explosions cool. The thing with a 3D printer is that the layers have to be laid accurately. I suspect any 3d printer can go fast if you leave accuracy. The same is true with inkjet, where my old $500 epson is not as fast as a $50 cannon, but it renders images better.
  • Lacking details (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrLogic17 (233498) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @02:11PM (#47394197) Journal

    It would be nice if there was a video, picture, or something to substantiate all of these claims.

    I welcome advances in this field, but the wunderkind trope has been played too many times lately
    .
     

    • Lacking details (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MatthiasF (1853064) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @04:02PM (#47394751)
      What...the high intensity youtube video with techno-music and flying text wasn't enough proof?

      Man, what are they gonna have to do to get through to you... make it work or something?
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      I actually think the whole thing was a ruse to sell his Bustin' Jieber app.

      1. Make 3D printing claim. (Bonus for wearing Google Glasses while doing so.)
      2. People check you out.
      3. ???
      4. Profit!

      Having a ready to buy shitty app fits neatly into #3. The fact is that the school seems to incentivize kids towards bullshit business lingo, innovating this and that. I doubt their math and science is that strong as the Bullshit Dept. I applaud them requiring kids to have a business though.

      Smoke and mirrors, raz

  • "I am Superman and I can kick your house in!"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Call me when he actually made one.

  • by Skarjak (3492305)
    Generally, if they have to hype the age of the person developping it, it's because there's not a whole lot of substance there. Call me when he ships something interesting.
  • by Thantik (1207112) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @02:24PM (#47394273)
    Eddie Krassenstein and cohorts, have been at this constantly for the past months. They have made up so many stories, which lack any kind of verification. Do not trust anything that comes from 3Dprint.com. It's just a bunch of marketing assholes trying to make their web-property more valuable by pumping out bullshit that people scoop up and retransmit. Slashdot, please don't stoop this low.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've seen far too many "whizkid makes incredible invention" turn out to be "parent's pet project attributed to kid for fame and glory". School science projects are not meant to be an exercise in outsourcing to parents either.

  • Is it similar to the KAST 3D Printer [3dprint.com]?

    Frankly, I'm putting better hopes into this kind of technology, for single-material printing. It's like a RepRap is an old plotter and the KAST is a laser printer that can print the whole page at the same time.

  • by sstamps (39313) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @03:36PM (#47394641) Homepage

    Though that marketing video, while "snazzy", is pretty pedestrian, as marketing videos go.

    There are some bona fide "kid geniuses" out there who have done amazing things (though many with lots of help from family/friends/other adult geniuses). That said, there are 100 times more who talk a good line, but have nothing to show for it.

    I'll wait until I see the goods before I pronounce anyone "kid genius".

  • I hope he doesn't use his teeth to create 3D objects.

  • B.S. Crapload's law of buzzwords: Anyone who says they are "innovating" is almost certainly NOT.

  • by mark_reh (2015546) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @04:29PM (#47394877) Journal

    I am skeptical. If you're using FDM, I think that in order to print 10X faster, you can't use either ABS or PLA. The print head of the machine will have to be very low mass, which also rules out plastics with high melt temperatures like ABS and PLA. I don't think FDM printing can achieve a 10X speed increase.

    If you go to stereolithography where you're using a projector to harden a photopolymer, you might achieve a 10X speed increase with the right chemistry and the right light source.

    Without any evidence of what the kid is doing or even knowing if he has built an operational prototype, meh. All sorts of people claim all sorts of stuff on the internet without backing any of it up.

    • by Megol (3135005)

      Well one could use several print heads in parallel. The theory is straight forward but getting it working in practice would be quite tricky.
      Another way to do it (speeding up 3D printing) could be using selective laser melting of plastic powder.

      The article, if one can call it that, is useless anyway.

      • by mark_reh (2015546)

        That's where experience in having built a printer comes in handy. In an FDM printer the head is massive. Using multiple heads in parallel doesn't relieve you of the burden of accelerating them or the limitations of the materials you are melting. You won't get a 10X improvement in FDM by using multiple heads.

        A laser that fuses powers or a print head that squirts tiny droplets of glue might allow speed increases, but might also compromise the strength of the parts and limit their use to decorative stuff.

        • by daid303 (843777)

          Print heads can be tiny:
          http://daid.eu/~daid/IMG_20140... [daid.eu]

          The problem is not slinging the head around. You could even do that with much more speed then is done right now.

          However, the real problem is cooling and bonding. If you print quicker you need to cool the material quicker. If you cool it quicker, it doesn't bond to the rest of the material really well.

          We generally speak in mm^3 / second when we talk about printing speed these days. As that's what counts in the end. Volume per time. With the accuracy we

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @04:33PM (#47394895)

    Every few years we come across one of these articles where some teen claims an amazing breakthrough

    16yr old and Encryption [slashdot.org]

    17yr old nuclear bomb detector [slashdot.org] Note that he claims he built a nuclear reactor when he was 14..

    Can I get an article if I write a blog when I discuss some unsubstantiated claims that my golden retriever has found a way to increase the aerial density of a HD by 100x based upon chew marks in a shank bone?

    • by JoelKatz (46478)

      "Note that he claims he built a nuclear reactor when he was 14.."

      Which he did. Nobody seriously disputes this claim. He held the record for the youngest person to build a fusion device until Jamie Edwards did so at 13.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci... [dailymail.co.uk]

  • If there were ever evidence that ./'s collaborative filter system has a bug; this is it. Look through the logs and reverse engineer this exploit.

  • FTA: “Recently I applied for a patent on 3D printing,” Suarez told BBC in an interview.

    Okay, give us the application number so we can actually see what you've done and see if there's any prior art. A cursory search of the USPTO application database returns nothing at all for Thomas Suarez as the inventor, nor for any Suarez in either Los Angeles or Manhattan Beach, the given (residential) address for CarrotCorp.

    I really hope this kid has stumbled onto something good, but everyone seems c
  • I can't be the only one who saw this and thought, well sure a 15 year old can make a better faster 3D printer. Most of the reason I haven't bought one myself has been how underwhelmed I have been by the quality and results.

    The only ones where I thought there precision and accuracy were useful were the UV/Near-UV plastics that operated on DLP lithographic principles. The consumables for those had too narrow of a usage range and ridiculous cost scales. The Makerbot and similar ABS extrusion machines are ju
  • Smooth and strong is what I want.

  • "I am the CEO / CFO / Sales Director" ... dude, you are 11, calling yourself a CxO is just lame. Also who of you does the coding with your fancy titles?

  • These printers come in 3 broad types, melt a fiber , sinter a granule and cross link monomers.
    The melt a fiber you can make fastter with a jet of cold air/gas or water so the print head can pass that way again sooner, or run in a cold box = faster colling.
    The trivial answer of a 20 nozzle print head = been done.

    The sinter a granule, more power in laser to aggregate more granules?

    Monomer cross linking, higher power laser, more reactive monomer?

    I find it hard to achieve a ten fold speed ramp with rate limited

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