Anyone Using 3D Printers For Surveillance/Security Applications?

One of the hottest areas of development is '3D Printing' (see:,, etc) that enables desktop production of prototypes and small-run parts. The idea is not yet suitable for large-scale production and high-stress assemblies, as the printer only produces small parts made of a nylon or an acrylic type of plastic. The process is just now being used to produce metallic or machine pieces, but the per-piece production cost is very high compared to traditional methods. The basic concept of 3D Printing is that a CAD model can be sent to a 3D printer that laser or heat hardens material in layers, eventually building up a physical solid from the drawing. (see: While not a new idea (Stereolithography has been around since the '80s), the concept is gaining awareness and popularity due to the drop in cost of printing machines and printing materials. People have begun printing 'one-off' circuit boards and hard-to-find replacement parts for electronic devices as a result. I can see integrators or specialty manufacturers building things like covert camera mounts, enclosures, sensor boxes, and countless other odds 'n ends that custom integrations often bring up. I am curious: are you using, or do you see opportunity for 3D printing in your business? Is it just another buzzy gadget fad?

This kickstarter project looks pretty interesting - Is $2500 'affordable' for 3D printers? Could this actually produce any real components for custom integration? There was a lot of controversy last week about this Gun Stock that was "open source" for 3D printers. I am not sure what you would use a modeling printer for in surveillance other than making housings for cameras. Maybe you could make hyper realistic pole cameras.
I think it could be neat for an integrator who needs to make custom parts/mounts/accessories.

If you were to use the Mobotix M15D with an 82 degree lense on a 25' high wall, at the near edge looking straight down, your field of view would spread out from a width of just under 40' at the base of the wall. This would work best with a custom angled ring mount looking down with boresight 50 degrees below horizontal or so. I suppose you could build up almost that same angle by aggregating four of Mobotix' 15-degree mounting rings, but a custom mount might be more stable and reliable. It could also improve the already low profile of these units by more closely emulating building exterior trim and finish near the mounting point.

Higher zoom LPR options should also be easier by planning the installation before hand and printing a custom mount.

At present print speeds, it's not terribly likely that you'd print your custom mounts on the job. You'd need to plan and print prior to the installation.

If you were a Mobotix installer, tube mounts of different lengths and presentation angles should be variations on a theme. Now if only the 3D camera planning tool could work directly with RipRap...

I recently heard from an integrator who used a 3D printer to produce 'custom' trim pieces for card readers for a series of high-end executive suites. The customer was very sensitive to appearance, and requested the card readers to be framed by border molding and finials that matched the woodwork in the rooms. Someone had access to a printer through a Vo-Tech, and was able to make a custom designed set of 6 plates more cheaply than it would take to special order through a mill. The plastic was painted to match trim, so it worked out well.