HP Hides Monster 3D Printer in its Basement

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This is a fascinating story from Wired describing a prototype 3D printer that Hewlett-Packard is developing and that Wired staff got a chance to preview. As we reported recently, HP CEO and Chairwoman Meg Whitman says HP will get into the 3D printing business in 2014. Reports are that HP won’t be purchasing companies to get a foot in the market, but instead will be developing its own products. From Wired:

HP is often derided as the king of computer printers that somehow missed the recent revolution known as 3-D printing. But if you venture into the basement of the company’s famous Palo Alto research labs, you’ll find a 3-D printer that looks like no other.

It’s a closely-guarded project. HP wouldn’t let us photograph the thing, but for about ten minutes this week, Martin Fink, the man who runs HP Labs, pulled aside the black curtain — literally — and let us at least take a look at it.

The printer is a monster — a five-foot tall giant of a machine cobbled together from existing jumbo-scale metal printing parts and some new custom-built equipment that HP isn’t ready to talk about. It’s a prototype, built for development and testing that will print out 3-D objects — keychains, Christmas ornaments, doll-house furniture, whatever — using a special polymer that HP has cooked up in its materials lab.

Read more here.

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