Monday, August 15, 2011

3D Printing

I always loved the idea of 3D printing. You would create a 3D complex object on your computer - something in the forms of an action figure or a monster, and then just print it out as you would print out a letter on a regular printer. You could easily create a custom army of figures for your children to play with.

3D printed bike
Fortunately, that's not all there is to it, because you can print out almost any shape you can imagine, for instance this 3D printed bicycle on the left. It was made by the EADS, the European aerospace and defence group out of nylon powder which is, according to EADS strong enough to replace steel or aluminium and requires no conventional maintenance or assembly.

Imagine you are riding a bike down the street and suddenly, it breaks. What do you do? Well, you walk to the nearest printer, plug in the USB and there you go, another bike (probably not that easy, but the future is coming).




How does it work?
3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material. You usually have a powder container (not necessaryly, there can be other materials as well) and a heat source of some kind. The first layer of material is pushed onto the container either manually or by the printer. The heat source now burns the desired area so that the melted powder particles join together. After this happens, another layer of material is applied. This goes on and on until the whole object is printed layer after layer. When done, the excess powder is removed and the object is cleaned and painted. (some printers allow color printing as well - this is done by different combinations of material and laser).

3D printing has actually been around for a decade now, but I hope it will catch on in the future even more, so I can buy my own printer for a reasonable price. There have also been a lot of DIY 3D printers, like this one I found on youtube:



It uses a slightly different kind of material, but the 3D printing technology is basically the same.

Also, there are these cool and awesome 3D printed action figures that I found on Engadet:
http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/11/visualized-objets-3d-printer-breathes-plastic-life-into-hollyw/


22 comments:

  1. Oh god, that's awesome!
    Great post!!!!!

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  2. I really want a 3D printer, even if it is proof that technology has passed me, as the concept of it simply blew my mind.

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  3. I've done a paper on the subject. Actually, I have one due this autumn, too.
    And I've worked with both 3d scanners and 3D printers. Great stuff for rapid prototyping.

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  4. this is amazing!
    I want a 3D printer
    + followed

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  5. OH man I wish I had the right knowledge to build one myself at home. Great post

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  6. this whole blog, my mind was saying 'huh'

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  7. Wow this is epic! haven't seen anything that complex being printed before! This would be like the only tool you'd ever need. It would totally change the marketplace. Manufacturing costs would be lowered significantly and people would be buying intellectual property instead of the actual product.

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  8. I had only seen a wrench being printed before, a whole bike is pretty awesome.

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  9. Wow the concept of it is really interesting. I remember reading something of the sort in an issue of Popular Science a few years ago. The future is coming indeed sir! Will probably be a big industry

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  10. OMG, I found a lot of interesting things that i want to buy in the different blogs, but this one is one of my favourites !

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  11. I would love to have one of these print me out my house keys when I lose them. Lamp if I break it. Frieking awesome!

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  12. That's so crazy. I want you to 3D print out Brad Pitt's ass. Hahaha.

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  13. Yeah, I've heard about this long time ago already. Pretty strange, that it's still not used too much.

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  14. That's really awesome and I think it will catch on, the world seems to be obsessed with 3D atm.

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  15. Nice, but expensive at the moment. But refinement will bring cheaper prices.

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