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Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

(OP)
I just saw this item today...

http://seekingalpha.com/pr/16491237-hp-delivers-wo...

...and while a new 3D Printer is not news, I couldn't help but think back to the days when the only direct 'physical' output from a CAD system was a Drawing.

A standard part of virtually all CAD systems has been a 'plotter' so that Drawings could be 'printed'. Back in the early days of the CAD industry (I've been part of that history since 1977) plotters were large and often rather expensive pieces of equipment. When the company I worked for (back in Saginaw, MI) installed our first CAD/CAM system in 1977, included was what was then the cutting-edge in plotting, a Calcomp 960. Now this was an E-size, two-pen, belt-plotter which cost over $50K (and this was in 1977 dollars). Now that was a deal. Across town a the GM Steering Gear plant, they were using a Xynetics flatbed-plotter that cost them well over $100K and our Calcomp was much faster. However, they both suffered from the same inconvenience of having to clean pens, keep them filled with ink and if you needed more than two line widths, you had to change pens and re-plot, which was a real pain-in-the-###, but that was state-of-the-art at the time and still an amazing thing to watch your perfectly lettered Drawings being produced at the push of a button.

Well a few years later, after I had changed careers and went to work for McDonnell Douglas selling CAD systems, we were still limited pretty much that same pen-plotter technology. By then the large-format (D- and E-size) plotting was dominated by brands like Calcomp (Flatbed and Belt-plotters), Benson (Drum plotters), Xynetics (Flatbed), Gerber (Flatbed and Photo plotters), etc., all of them large and expensive.

Then in 1981 HP introduced the HP 7580. This was a D-size, eight-pen, so-called 'grit-wheel' plotter (that simply pinched the drawing sheet between a set of grit-wheels to move it thus eliminating the need to tape down your drawing sheet) which was very fast and cost less than $16K. Now it's true that HP had been in the plotter business for years, making smaller lab-sized X-Y plotters (I used them in college back in the late 60's early 70's), but when they moved into the full-size engineering drawing business, nothing was ever the same. And it wasn't just the price point, but also the shape factor and with the support for true multi-pen plotting it opened up things more use of colors and such. But one thing else it did was to make the technology more practical for everyone.

Case-in-point: When we sold our first CAD system with one of those new HP 7580 plotters I can remember when our installation group (remember in those days CAD systems were generally sold turn-key with CAD Terminals, CPU's, Disk Drives, Printers, Tape Decks, Paper-tape punches/readers, often digitizers and of course a plotter) calling up HP and asking when they could schedule a service tech to 'install' the plotter at the customers site (since this was the first HP plotter we had sold, our people had no experience with them). Anyway, the HP people thought it was a joke or something since all you had to do was plug it in, connect it to the CPU, turn it on and go. This was one of the first high-tech devices where the 'installation instructions' were what you'd call a sort of 'comic-book' like format with mostly pictures showing what plugged into what and almost no text whatsoever.

For anyone out there who doesn't gp back as far as I do in this industry, here's a few images of those original plotters we had to contend with:



Calcomp 960 belt-plotter



Xynetics flatbed-plotter



HP 7580B plotter

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that perhaps HP will have the same effect on where 3D Printing is going as it did on Plotting. After all, anyone who can remember the early 3D Systems and Stratasys Stereolithography machines can see how these newer generation devices have already come a long ways and when someone as large and significant as HP, with their lonmg history of '2D printing' moves into the next 'dimension', well it will be fun to watch.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

Will it be as easy to clear jams as most HP printers I've had to deal with?winky smile

Seriously though I'm trying to work out what their technology is, from a few minutes looking on their site are they basically bonding the powdered material elements together?

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RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

I found this quote hilarious:

"So parts are fused together at a very small level -- almost at the molecular level, and that helps give them a spectacular strength," said Alex Monino, HP 3D printing marketing director.
http://www.computerworld.com/article/3071035/emerg...

So 'almost' on the molecular level, except, you know, not nearly so.


Finally some technical notes, though:

Quote:

The printer works by first depositing powder (about 100 microns thick, or the thickness of a standard sheet of paper) onto a print bed using a print bar that looks like a scanning bar on a typical 2D printer. The print bar has 30,000 nozzles spraying 350 million fusing agent droplets per second in specific patterns as it moves back and forth across a print platform.

So instead of the single nozzle printing back-and-forth line-by-line like most inkjet printers adapted to laying down the binder... it's using a lot of nozzles to 'carpet bomb' the powder with the binder in one pass. That's cool.

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

If they're just getting into the game, they've got a lot of catch-up to do. Kind of like when Polaroid decided to finally get into digital cameras. The inkjet nozzle method could be interesting.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

I am sure there are hold-outs of the 3D printed part that have been waiting for an "established" company to come forth. For these people this is the trigger that the technology is stable and mature. Sales could be brisk. For production purposes, one has to weigh cost associated with the down-time of several machines or this single machine.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

I have used all of those plotters shown in the pics. (I also worked for McD-D, and B*ing)
I have not touched a large format plotter in probably 12 years.
Everything is saved as PDF and viewed on large monitors, then printed on 11x17 printers if needed.

Chris, CSWP
SolidWorks '16
ctophers home
SolidWorks Legion

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

The HP 7580C was the plotter at the first engineering office I worked. I spent a few years keeping it going until it broke down bad enough to warrant getting a large-format laser printer. There were a lot of homemade parts in the HP by that time.

Where I work now, a Stratasys has made its appearance, too. I've even had the opportunity to design & print a number of parts with it. I'm with you John; this will be fun to watch.

STF

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

I think it's pretty interesting too. Outta left field for me. I had no idea they'd thrown their hat into this ring. I bet there's a lot of other companies not happy with this development.

I'm sure HP is coming at this with the same disgusting "printer 'ink' selling company" mentality that they've created with inkjet printers. I know of no one that still buys HP printers because of HP's ink cost greed. I wonder how this general hatred for HP and it's printing supplies will carry over to their foray into 3D.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

The feedstock of many FDM printers is recyclable.

STF

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

Sure, but then again, who wants to pay for an extruder attachment just to recycle their failed prints? I buy COTS rolls and don't think twice about the failed ones.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

I think the point that Itsmoked is making is that once businesses become dependent on 3D printing, they become dependent upon HP for the material feedstock. Then the price of the plastic roll goes up...
"Oh, but sir, you can't use other feedstock brands; the RFID has to match a genuine HP number, checked over the internet once you replace the cartridge..."
"You wouldn't want to void your warranty by contaminating your printer with non-brand feedstocks..."
"I see what your problem is sir; your account with HP is overdue this month, but once we resolve the issue I'm sure we can command the printer to start printing for you within one business day..."
...and so it goes.
Just being cynical.

STF

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

Oh, I get it... and I'm well versed in HP's ink business model (a reason I no longer purchase HP printers, despite their quality). I jut don't see anyone other than hobbyists trying to recycle their feedstock, regardless of higher costs from company 'A' or 'B'. If HP were to make a recycler, though, you can bet they'd charge you to do it shadeshappy

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

MacGyvers2000, some of the low end service providers to recycle some of their feedstock on certain processes.

At least, that's what our high end service provider tells us!smile

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RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

The last I read, the filament recyclers that are marketed toward FFF/FDM machines are not terribly easy to tune and make quality filament with. I don't recall if the problem was the recycler process or the quality of the input waste plastic.

Certainly if you were a professional whose performance depended upon keeping your machine running and -not- having to scrap a 30 hour job after 25 hours of run time, you'd not risk your reputation in efforts to pinch the pennies using recycled filament. The filament is not really that huge of an expense. Thus the recyclers, as mentioned, are hobby toys, for people who just like 'tinkering' and don't care about delays or down time.

Once you get to a certain scale of quality of filament production, then it's less 'recycling' and just "how you make plastic products" really.



There are some places we won't buy tool steel from, or at least, places we STRONGLY prefer to source tool steels from. This is because their product is a known quantity every time, and is dependable. No different.

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

I was at the RAPID conference when HP made the announcement. For my industry (Medical device) it appeared to have limited usefulness other than prototyping.

They claimed it had 21 micron resolution although I don't know if that was X-Y and/or Z. The parts they had on display looked pretty decent but they had some discontinuities at times that is common with some of the additive manufacturing methods. The claim they could print strain gages into the parts (in the future) was pretty sweet but still limited usefulness for me other than possibly augmenting our existing test equipment (e.g. building a product specific fixture that could measure loads alongside the load cell, or in a different orientation). HP claimed it was a collaborative project and so I got the impression there was some "open source" aspects that may or may not have included the build material, I can't recall. I'm not in the weeds on AM other than a bit on more medical oriented processes so take what you will with a grain of salt.

My company already has an older (but capable) Objet machine so I'm not sure how useful their new machines would be to us.

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

I think HP is banking on additive manufacturing transitioning to a viable "production" method. I'm sort of on the fence in that regard, I mean the Powers That Be would take away my pocket protector if I designed something that could only be made with additive manufacturing instead of traditional methods. For main stream consumer products, traditional manufacturing and tooling wins. For niche markets, go crazy with the additive stuff.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

MM, I'd qualify that a bit with saying that with current & immediately foreseeable technology conventional processes wins for most applications.

However, there are already a few niches where it comes into its own, as material properties, cost of ownership, speed of manufacture... improves and factors like 'use of resources' come into play that could change.

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RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

KENAT, ain't that what I said? thumbsup2

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

My point was, compared to where we were 15+ years ago when I saw my first SLA parts we've come a long way with 'production quality' parts.

So, maybe in a decade or 2 it will be viable production method for a lot of consumer items etc. not just niches.

Especially if the facility to customize each build can be taken advantage of.

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RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

The people making big headlines nowadays are those who can make parts n-times faster than current leaders. I don't believe I've really seen anyone make notable advances in accuracy, precision, or "resolution" of manufacture. I have seen people 'make waves' by coming out with a process or material chemistry that allows for significantly faster production.

Continuing down that path will yield the result KENAT expects, I believe. That seems to be the way technology goes. First you start doing something brand new, but it's slow and expensive and it doesn't fit many situations at all. Then someone makes it either less slow or less expensive (one at a time) and it gains market share. Then someone fixes the neglected constraint and it becomes a new norm.

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

(OP)
There will also be breakthroughs with respect to being able to 'manufacture' parts that would be impossible to do using any other 'conventional' technique. For example, since the is no need to be able to reach a surface with a cutting tool or have to able to 'release' the part from a mold (although you might be able to do an investment casting) it's going to allow for very exotic shapes. Also, the number of parts to accomplish something could be reduced since again since there is no need for parts with 'draft' or being able to machine certain areas of the part and then assembly pieces together afterwords. So one should not look at this as simply a replacement for current manufacturing processes but rather as an opportunity for going back to the designers and freeing them from having make sure that their models are 'manufactureable' from a classic point of view.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

John, I think that's one place it is making inroads for high performance applications which aren't as directly cost sensitive to manufacturing methods.

For aerospace etc. the ability to have parts that are almost hollow except for an internal latticework has major potential for instance.

In fact, it has major potential for my field, I just haven't been able to persuade anyone yet - and the available DMLS materials have some issues for us in other material property aspects.

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RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

The latest DMP machines are printing titanium that is almost as good as wrought 6-4 and meets the material properties in F136--as long as it's been heat treated (stress relieved or HIP'd). I'm using the process to create some implants near-net shape that are actually cheaper than their original PEEK counterpart (mostly due to proprietary material costs) but impressive nonetheless. Similar story for SS17-4.

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

Speaking to design without regard to traditional manufacturability - I find it very difficult to break my mind out of the constraints. At this point, it is almost subconscious and instinct that I design with traditional processes in mind.

I've read about some significant design changes that DMLS or SLS type processes have allowed. Speaking of KENAT's note toward hollow structures with intricate interior structures, this article from NASA comes to mind: http://www.nasa.gov/marshall/news/nasa-3-D-prints-...

Quote:

“To circulate the gas, the combustion chamber liner has more than 200 intricate channels built between the inner and outer liner wall. Making these tiny passages with complex internal geometries challenged our additive manufacturing team.”
With hints toward both cost reduction and performance improvement for a production mindset rather than one-offs or prototypes:

Quote:

“Our goal is to build rocket engine parts up to 10 times faster and reduce cost by more than 50 percent,” said Chris Protz, the Marshall propulsion engineer leading the project. “We are not trying to just make and test one part. We are developing a repeatable process that industry can adopt to manufacture engine parts with advanced designs. The ultimate goal is to make building rocket engines more affordable for everyone.”

Obviously a niche outlier, but it is a proof of success/potential, certainly.

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

To iterate another use--assuming we can establish material traceability and properties--producing a near-net (or net) instrument in a day rather than 12 weeks is a big deal for us. But again, I'm speaking for DMP/DMLS, not "Multi Jet Fusion". If HP figures out how to 'print' Ti or SS, I'll be more interested.

Not everyone is trying to make 10,000 parts; I have more examples of <10 part runs than >10 part runs (okay, that's hyperbole, but it feels true). But up until recently even if I prototyped in DMLS I had to traditionally manufacture the parts released to the field (at horrendous cost)... but that's a regulatory story and I wont cry you a river. :)

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

LPS for MM... that's my thinking, also. Manufacturing will eventually catch up / surpass current methods... until then, we're stuck with endmills and billets.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

I've been stymied a few times by carrying a design into several machine shops who all turned me away because I only needed one or two pieces. A great nitch problem for 3D printing to slay.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

There's definately a place and purpose for 3D printing, no doubt. The original article was specific about "production-ready". As we all know, one man's "production" might be 20 a year, another's 20 a minute. I look forward to the 10x speeds and 1/2 cost claims to be real.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Will HP do for 3D Printing what they did for Pen Plotting back in the early 80's...

That look so nice.

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