"The problem is that these requirements are not communicated to the user during the modelling process, so the model that the user designs is not well optimised to be printed, and must often be fixed with other software."
I couldn't agree more - finding out your design won't work after you've manufactured it is sort of like finding out your code won't compile after you've deployed. There needs to be better feedback during the design phase to make hardware as easy and fast as software.
This is exactly the problem we're trying to solve at Plethora, albeit with CNC milling instead of 3D printing. We have an add-in for 3D modelling programs that tells you manufacturability issues in real time as you design.
Thanks! What other items often go together with these aluminum extrusions? Is there a place or a book to learn about this topic, or is it something that people only learn through experimentation and mimicking?
Primarily they are used for building structures quickly and easily - a saw and a wrench are the only tools you need. The standardized brackets for each beam type allow you to make 90 and 45 degree angles.
But they are often used for more than just framing. The 3D printing community has embraced extrusions because you can also use them as bearing surfaces, mount motors and servos, limit switches, etc. Basically anything that has a hole big enough for a machine screw can be mounted to a beam either directly or through an easily made mount (usually to get the angle that you want - all it takes is some sheet metal).
The quickest way to learn is to look at examples. The OpenBeam website has lots of examples. The system is so simple that you can understand exactly what is going on just by seeing a picture.
I ran a 3D Photo Booth at the 2012 Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire back in September. While not nearly as cool as the one in the article, we did scan over 90 people over the course of the day and print out over 40 at the fair with two makerbots.
We couldn't have scanned so many people without some automation for streamlining the scan process and cleaning up the scans for printing. I posted the rails app we used and automation scripts on github:
At vmworld 2010 Samsung had a big TV playing a Steve Jobs-esque keynote presentation introducing some new product. The really odd thing was that it was entirely faked. The speaker, the audience, the applause, everything. Somebody there has a crazy obsession with Apple and has led their company into the uncanny valley of imitation.
Jason said in the closing remarks of LAUNCH something to the effect of "I am so happy, let's go to the W and get drunk." After arriving at the W, I checked my phone and saw the article on Google's blog - some timing! I feel for him and all of the people that lost their jobs.
Wow the German site asks you to measure your foot with a paper, pencil and a ruler. Although ShoeFitr must already have your shoe in their database, the huge win is there's nothing asked of the user besides what shoe they already like and you can find it from brand name and colors.