To me, this right here is the heart of the white paper. If they want their machine to stand apart from polyjet (Objet) technology by printing with per-voxel control of multiple materials (very similar to Objet's digital materials ), then they're going to have to create a new workflow for engineers to design with (which was not detailed in the whitepaper other than this mentioning of a new kind of file format needed to handle the design information). Particularly, is the design workflow going to allow for finite element analysis (FEA) of both geometry and material? People are already creating CAD software that will allow for user-friendly FEA of geometry , but I'm not sure if anyone is working on FEA of both geometry and material. If HP can develop that solution, that right there would be a legitimate breakthrough.
Rule 1. There is more than one workflow.
I don't think many designs will really require "pixelized" variations in color like their demo shows. Just putting a transparent layer, or 5 colors, will provide for ~80% of predicted use cases. So, a simple "STL per color" format can act as a "bridge" until the necessary richer standard is developed & adopted.
Words lacking from the video: can, will, does, now, reality
They propose to lay down not only material, but an extra solvent where they need to tweak the properties a bit. That's borrowed from the printing press sized printers where accurate color on non-gloss paper is desired.
Being able to construct materials with non-homogeneous properties has potential. Mark Cutkowsky at Stanford has done that to make gekko feet for his climbing robots. That was done by loading up a "color" 3D printer with plastics with varying properties. But that machine couldn't mix the plastics; you could just
switch between them. Full variability of material properties could be useful. It's going to be hard to talk about at the user interface level, and the first UIs will probably be kind of clunky.
STL is really an output format, like PostScript. You don't want to work in STL; you want to work in a constructive solid geometry system, like SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor. In systems like that, you can move a hole. Try that on a mesh.
We need cruder sculpting tools for mass market use - some folks need Illustrator, some folks need Paint.NET. Obviously the latter problem is easier to solve and I'm hoping we'll see more democratization of 3D printing through more tools at that end.
I've always hoped to see Wings3D get more love in this field, but Wings is written in Erlang so that restricts how many developers can meaningfully contribute. Wings is polygonal, but it's a subdivision modeler so it means that all the models are inherently volumetric which makes it appropriate for printing - no possibility of an "open" object.
Autodesk did this to get more people thinking about how to design in 3D. The idea is to teach the mindset and workflow needed to get work done in a constructive solid geometry system. A lot of people don't "get it" at first, but after a while it makes sense to build up an object through a series of operations.
They're still struggling with how much to dumb it down. In beta, 123Design was more powerful than it is now, but more complex. It's been dumbed down; you don't get to see or manipulate the tree of CSG operations that created the object any more. Now there's 123Design at the bottom, Fusion 360 (which does a lot of work on Autodesk's servers rather than locally), and Inventor, for serious engineering.
So the "cruder sculpting tools" are here. For real sculpting, there's Autodesk Mudbox, which tries to simulate clay modeling. (I haven't used that; I don't have the sculpting skill.)
I would much rather have the most accurate reproduction of material qualities and form. I can now produce industry level magazines and milled metal parts by having them produced on a high end machine somewhere, it does not need to be in my basement.
That's the real empowering point for me. Industrial level quality obtainable by a single user from home.
Plus it's quick, and produces great everything. Probably wouldn't satisfy a professional photographer, but for me it's a lot better than any Inkjet I've ever owned. Especially since it's used so infrequently. With Inkjets the print-heads would frequently go bad between usages. That could easily push my "few pages to print every few months" use-case into dollar-per-page territory.
The only downside is it doesn't have air-print, never will, KM has discontinued it, and at some point in the future I won't be able to buy replacement toner cartridges.
But I'm OK with that since it's already lasted longer and saved me more money than any previous printer I've owned.
If I did have to replace it, I'd definitely get another Color Laser. The Brother HL3170CDW comes in at $100 more, you can get all four colors in high-yield replacement cartridges for about $100, and it includes AirPrint.
Right now I use a $10 app that'll emulate AirPrint on the Mac. Seems to work fine, but I'm tethered to the attached Mac then.
I know right? Printer ink is more expensive than human blood. Not even kidding.
You might as well compare the price with jet fuel, too.
Hussein used to do that, but it never went mainstream [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Quran]
And The Flaming Lips. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/wayne-coyne-makes-pos...
(that last bit was a poop joke, not a statement about my opinions on the subject of donated blood distribution)
If someone has too much blood does it really get disposed of that way?
That's interesting, I didn't know that.
* Employees used to make HP webpage: 1. Web Designer for responsive web page, 2. Industrial Designer (Printer Design) 3. 3D Graphics for video 4. Audio Editor for video 5. Audio Talent for video, 6. Copy editor for corporate speak (probably one for video and one for webpage) 7. Legal department for footnotes. This is all before a single product can be purchased. Compare this to an MVP where there is a video demonstration of the product and how you fit with it.
* Video does not show a single printing machine doing just an imagination of what can be, suggesting this is a corporate video for shareholders instead of users.
* The product is not available for purchase and there is no time line to expect purchase. There are a number of 3d printers available to purchase right now, no need to wait for this printer to come out.
* From the paper and soggypenny's quote: "shortcomings of the STL format..." is a great reason to introduce an AutoCad / Microstation / Sketchup plugin software to easily render for a 3-D format.
* Call to action "Connect with Us" takes you to a multi-line e-mail form for their internal databases. Compare this with an MVP that just wants your e-mail and your name.
HP, great step forward in your effort to try and recover from potential insolvency. Please look at your competition before getting my hopes up and dashed in one web page.
This is not nearly as stupid as you make it seem.
I do not feel they are stupid, just noting the amount of monies poured into this website for a non-functional product for a company that is desperately seeking revenue. Can HP R&D make it to 2016?
I will always be annoyed when I see proprietary as a touted piece of marketing speak. Its not a feature, its a problem or at best a dissapointment
 see http://www.nngroup.com/articles/top-10-mistakes-of-web-manag... from 1997
"Availability of the end to end HP 3D printing system is planned in 2016, as the product and HP partners’ solutions meet the requirements and quality stand ards that HP customers expect."
I do have tons of respect for the abilities of HP's research dept to make just this kind of printer. Its fantastic and thrilling to think of the research resources of HP moving 3D printing forward. The HP suits will make sure the attached business model imprisons the technological gains.
The lock-in model is, in many cases, an effective way at reducing the front-loaded nature of captial expense. The lock-in is defended because if it vanishes halfway through the market play, the whole play fails.
Current 3D Printers need to make the same leap as desktop printers did from dot matrix to laser in speed and fidelity to really change peoples' minds about their utility.
Either way, congrats HP on diving into the deep end of the pool here.
From the video:
Terry Wholers: "We are in the early days of 3D printing"
Carl Bass: "The far more interesting thing is going to be industrial uses..."
Carl Bass (Autodesk) seems to understand what is going on. He is talking about the industrial uses of 3D printing.
And that's why I think this page is strange. People in the industry already know about multi-material 3D printing sometimes called PolyJet.
Edit: Looks like HP is using these steps to print:
1 lay down a layer of material(s)
2 spray a binder over the layer
3 bind the layer by applying energy (UV curing?)
4 goto 1
Mind you, there's a lot of room for innovation in this space. I just don't see HP as being positioned to really expand the technology in any meaningful way.
So you should be able to say one part of the board you are printing is electrical and one part is not. That said, none of this is selling now, so it is all just a marketing gimmick.
"The long-term vision for HP Multi Jet Fusion technology is to create parts with controllably variable — even quite different — mechanical and physical properties within a single part or among
separate parts processed simultaneously in the working area..."
If what they say it's true, this thing will rock.
There's a general consensus that the hobbyist market is well served but there's room for service providers of high quality 3D printed parts.