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My interest in 3D Printing started with the Fool recommendations for the the big 2 (DDD,SSYS). I have significant investments in both. In the process I became interested in buying and using a 3D Printer. I start researching this and came across the Maker community. Wikipedia defines it as follows:

"The maker subculture is a contemporary subculture, representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker subculture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses new and unique applications of technologies, and encourages invention and prototyping[1]. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them creatively."

These are the people that are at the forefront of personal 3D printing. They are to physical objects what geeks and hackers are to software. Here are some topics from a 3D Printer forum.

"Preparing firmware for a Panelolu - now with github download"

"20mhz + 1284 + sd card reader = better prints?"

"Tony's complete skeinforge settings 12.5.2011 - 120105zz - reference"

This has given me pause in buying one of these printers. I just want things to work. It does not look like personal 3D printers are ready for me.

Still, I am fascinated by this community. There are at least two magazines, Maker and Make. There are Maker fairs all over the US including a huge on in NYC at the end of September. If you are interested in learning more, here are some links.

Make Magazine
Maker Fairs
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That's interesting. I believe a major investment opportunity in 3D Printing space will be CAD software that enables great 3d printing. To the point that like PC or other hardware, printer makers like DDD and SSYS will be less valuable than SW makers.

I can think of AutoDesk as the only public company in this domain - took a quick look at their offering and found that they are pretty active in this space.

Have you looked at their products and if so I am curious on your opinion,

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Dassault Systems (DASTY) may a better investing alternative since they focus on CAD software (Solidworks) for 3D Printing. The software I have tried is Google Sketchup, TinkerCAD, and Cubify. Of the three I like Cubify the best so far. It costs $49 and is from DDD. Of course I have yet to buy a 3D Printer.
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