>>2458>Whats your take on the change of copyright,
During my time in the industry there was a big debate about the responsibility of sites like thingiverse and its many clones in terms of copyright and patent infringements. Most sites were operating under the "safe harbor" protections that most sites that share images use. I.E you are allowed to host content that *may* be infringing as long as you can prove you are not inspecting the content enough to tell it was infringing.
I don't think that copyright/patent holders will really be persecuting 3D printer owners to a great extent. We almost never heard of that sort of thing in the industry, besides a few notable cases. I should note that 3D printers are terrible for *manufacturing* of absolutely anything. They shine in prototyping. So with that in mind, nothing has changed for manufacturer, or someone at home making one off items.
>What printer/material types do well with what things... e.g. for shock loads/fine detail/structural rigidity/other qualities.
Consumer 3D printing has many options. Plastic, plastic, plastic and plastic. There is ABS, PLA, and a few other variations that behave and perform at about the same level. The material is brittle and relatively soft. Think like star wars toys or some other soft plastic action figure. It's technically the same material as legos are made of, but due to the fact legos are injection molded, you would get the wrong idea in terms of hardness from legos.
Industrial grade and much higher end printers have other materials available. There are printers that do metal, ceramics, wood-ish materials. These are high maintenance, highly proprietary devices.
That said, for little fixit stuff ABS plastic basically does the trick. It's hard enough to build a lot of stuff with. The printers are usually accurate enough to make interlocking parts.
>Have you used multi material printers?
Duel head printers have been around for a while. There are actually a lot of issues with making this kind of thing work on a consumer printer. As 3D printers rely on melted materials which are at all times cooling, expanding, and hardening, mixing materials can be... treacherous at best. Current consumer level Reprap software does nearly zero to account for these effects, mostly treating the expanding gelatin like plastic is if it were motionless, heatless, and solid. This makes it harder than you might imagine to pull of a multi material print, as neither the software and hardware is in your favor. To put it in perspective the normal failure rate for a cheaper consumer level printer doing single material prints could easily be over 50%, and we are talking prints that might take over 10 hours to complete.
So from my perspective, people working on repraps need to improve the hardware and software a great deal before multi material printing is "bullet proof" >What is the best can they do currently?
Print you cool little objects. Think action figures, or other small tchochkees. On the higher end, the sky is the limit, but for repraps and the like, think a 6x6 anything made of plastic. Oh, and no overhangs that can really ruin your day. Not impossible, but a pain for a lot of reasons.