When electronics break or malfunction there are two things you can do if you don’t want to pay for repairs. You can sell it cheap or you can fix it yourself. I like to fix it myself if I think I can, so when I saw an HTC EVO 3D at a garage sale for $10, I had to ask what was wrong with it. The seller told me “the screen acts like you’re touching it sometimes and gets all crazy”, so I bought it with the hope that I could fix it. Sure enough, another $14 and an hour of my time was all it took. Below are the instructions on how to do this yourself. Read them all the way through before starting, click any photo to super size it, and comment below with any questions. Now let’s get started.
Sculpteo provided this demonstration sample for me to keep at no cost to aid in my honest review of their product and service.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of talk about 3D printing. I’ve seen examples from the plainest of plain to really cool product prototypes printed on 3D printers, but I’ve never tried any of the companies that offer 3D printing… until now. As a demonstration of what they can do, online 3D printing company, Sculpteo created a miniature sculpture of me using just a couple photos I had my wife take in our hallway.
Not bad, huh? If the reaction I got on Facebook is any indicator, this mini-me was a home run, but I’ll bet what you really want to know is how to get one and how much it costs. Keep reading.
How To Print In 3D
There are several ways to print in 3D with Sculpteo. The one I’m most familiar with, of course, is the method I used. Just take a forward facing photo and a profile and upload them. Include any notes you have about your design, approve the 3D render they create for you, and wait about 10 days. If you want a mini sculpture of yourself (or one of someone else as a gift), this is a good way to get it done with no fuss. They even picked up on the JoeTech shirt I was wearing and my sculpture’s shirt says JOETECH on it in teeny tiny letters. Great detail. Below is an example of the photos I sent in and the results.
Other methods of printing from Sculpteo can vary quite a bit. You can sift through their gallery of models online and pick something out for the easiest route or you can create your own 3D models or buy one online to use and have something much more personal. Along the way, you can also choose materials and opt for a plain white sculpture or lots of color, and even customize the size. The web interface is done very well, so it’s easy to choose. The only problem I had was that as I’m not experienced in 3D printing, I was, at first, a little confused about what materials I had to choose from.
How Much Does 3D Printing Cost
The figure I got was 2.8 inches tall (7cm) and would have cost me $74.89. A larger version standing 3.9 inches tall (10cm) would have run me $129.90. Bulk orders get discounts. 10 units took my price (for the smaller figure) from $74.89 down to about $67.40 each. 100 units came out to just under $60 each and that price seemed constant even at 1,000 units.
That might be a little much for a casual birthday or Christmas gift, so I poked around the site and played with the pricing and design tools to see what other pricing was possible. I picked out a Manga Girl design and found that the pricing could go anywhere from just $3.66 for a one inch tall model with or without color all the way up to $1,133 for a color 12 inch model ($900 for no color). Interestingly, you can have that same model printed at a tenth of the price of the 12 inch size by just dropping down to 4 inches tall. When building your own model, definitely play with the size and any other options to get the most for your money.
Free Key Ring
I found out about this Free key ring offer while browsing around the site. You have to pay for the shipping, but it will still be pretty cool to get a free key ring, printed in 3D from any model I want to upload. I loaded up one of the 3D models from the gallery and got it all linked up, although I must say that the process of trying to link the key ring to the 3D model I chose was a confusing and tedious chore. I’m still not sure how it works, but it may be child’s play to someone who works with 3D models all the time. In any case, $6 shipping paid via PayPal has my otherwise free key ring on its way.
Other than my inability to work well with 3D models, the user experience of the site was really pretty good and the shipping time is decent. The costs can be super cheap to just scary and anywhere in between, so figuring out your size and budget should happen probably even before building your 3D model. The free key ring is a great way to get your hands on some sample product before spending money, too. From cool little gifts to professional prototyping, Sculpteo’s printing range should fit most needs.
Earlier this year, it seemed that every television manufacturer was announcing a unit with either Skype built in or 3D functionality. Last week, I received an email inviting me to come check out Panasonic’s latest and greatest at their touring presentation that was coming through Scottsdale this week. The draw for me was the 3D, but I found a lot more when I arrived.
3D TVs With Skype
Maybe you’re thinking what I was thinking in the car on the way there… Can 3D stick around this time or is it just going to be hot for a while and die out again? It’s hard to say, but Panasonic is not only betting that 3D is here to stay, but they’re throwing in everything else just in case.
One of the VIERA CAST HDTVs I saw today, the VIERA TC-P50G25 Plasma (seen above for $1,499), included the ability to make video calls with Skype (requires an add-on camera), view YouTube videos, browse through photos on Picasa, view and stream movies instantly with Netflix or Amazon Video, and even peruse and update Twitter. To top it off, they threw in a weather screen with forecasts, Pandora radio, Bloomberg, and Fox Sports. You can even browse the web with it, which is probably why you can hook up a keyboard to one of the USB ports. Unfortunately, the demo played from a Blu-Ray disc, so it’s hard to say how the video streaming is and Skype won’t be available for use on VIERA CAST until June of this year. Regardless, it looks very promising. The geek inside me yearns to make a video call on a 50 inch screen without a lot of effort and that is a reality within reach. This model does not do 3D.
The PxxVT25 models, on the other hand, offer 3D and it looks awesome. To be fair, I haven’t seen any other 3D televisions first hand, so my basis for comparison is my 2D LCD and 3D at the movie theaters. That said, this blows my 2D away and makes the movie theater 3D seem a bit lacking. The first demo was with a movie, which looked great, but the real treat was the second demo I saw with some game playing in 3D. It looked incredible and the best part is that the games don’t all have to be made in 3D. There’s software that will make them work in 3D as long as you’re displaying them on one of these 3D TVs.
How To Watch TV In 3D
The televisions mentioned above display a 3D image, but where does that come from and how do you view it? Panasonic tells me they’ll have three channels loaded with 3D programming on DirecTV, and it sounded like 3D programming from other vendors will still work. All that’s left is those paper 3D glasses with the plastic red and blue lenses, right?
Not this time. This time, your 3D experience makes use of their special 3D glasses (TY-EW3D10). While I’d like to try the old paper glasses, I’m afraid these are the ones needed to make it work. They’re pretty cool and although the video doesn’t do the experience justice, you can see how they work below.
The problem is that the $150/pair price tag can be prohibitive, especially if you’re thinking about a family of four or five. They’re cheaper than some competitors, but still a bit up there. They definitely look $150 cooler than the old paper 3D glasses, though. I asked if Panasonic planned to bundle family packs of the eye wear and was told that it wasn’t planned yet but could happen as the consumer market accepts 3D more and more.
Cameras and Camcorders
In addition to all this 3D business, the tour included some new cameras of varying levels as well as video cameras. I honestly didn’t spend quite enough time with the video cameras, but it may have been due to all the time spent playing with the DMC-GH1K 12.1 MP digital camera. I’m not about to say I don’t like my Canon Rebel XTi because I love it, but the GH1K was wooing me with features I’ve been missing out on like 1080P HD video, a larger screen that swivels around, Live View, a more compact design, and a more widely used SD storage format (compared to the Compact Flash I use now). At $1499, it is almost twice what I paid for my camera, but still attractive.
Also attractive was the $399 DMC-ZS7K which more than a point-and-shoot, but not quite a DSLR. Every time I thought it had a lot of features I was shown one more. Personally, I’m looking to spend about half that on my next point-and-shoot camera but the feature list is enough to loosen up most any wallet. There’s the basics like auto focus and face targeting, but it also knows the difference between a face and, say, a cactus and adjusts photo settings the moment it makes the distinction. Better still, it can recognize specific faces and remember who it’s taking a photo of and label the photo properly. The 16X Intelligent Zoom was a nice surprise, too. The zoomed image wasn’t pixelated at all until zoomed all the way in and even then, it wasn’t much. Finally, the ZS7K records HD quality video as well, so I could replace my digital camera and my video camera with this one device.
The Touch The Future Tour
What I went to today was called the Touch the Future Tour. Panasonic is wandering around the country with all this cool stuff and showing people what all of it does. If you get a chance, the 3D is best seen in person. They’ll be dragging all their electronics to these cities next:
3/25 – 3/27 Philadelphia King of Prussia Mall – North Gulph Road
3/29 – 3/31 Minneapolis IDS Tower – 80 8th Street South
3/29 – 3/31 San Francisco One Market Plaza – 1 Market Street
3/31 – 4/2 Washington, DC Union Station – 50 Massachusetts Ave, NE
4/6 – 4/8 Dallas Grapevine Mills Mall – 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway
4/6 – 4/8 Seattle Top of the Market – 93 Pike Street, Suite 307
4/7 – 4/9 Atlanta 595 North – 595 North Ave, NW Atlanta
4/12 – 4/14 Houston The Warehouse – 4108 Dupont Street
4/15 – 4/17 Miami Ice Palace – 59 Northwest 14th Street
Panasonic delivered more than I had planned for and showed off some really cool stuff. The new television offerings (3D and otherwise) were certainly giving me TV envy and I just bought a new LCD TV a few months back. The cameras (that I hadn’t really even gone to see) have me formulating evil plans in my head to convince my wife that I have two birthdays this year. I want it all, but would “settle” for any of the 3D TVs and the ZS7K camera.