Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Printing in 3D

25.09.2007
It is a simple matter to print an e-book or other document directly from your computer, whether that document is on your hard drive, at a web site or in an email. But, imagine being able to "print" solid objects, a piece of sports equipment, say, or a kitchen utensil, or even a prototype car design for wind tunnel tests.

Such technology already exists and is maturing rapidly so that high-tech designers and others can share solid designs almost as quickly as sending a fax. The systems available are based on bath of liquid plastic which is solidified by laser light. The movements of the laser are controlled by a computer that reads a digitized 3D map of the solid object or design.

Writing in today's issue of the Inderscience publication International Journal of Technology Marketing, US researchers discuss how this technology might eventually move into the mainstream allowing work environments to 3D print equipment, whether that is plastic paperclips, teacups, or components that can be joined to make sophisticated devices, perhaps bolted together with printed nuts and bolts..

Physicist Phil Anderson of the School of Theoretical and Applied Science working with Cherie Ann Sherman of the Anisfield School of Business, both at Ramapo College of New Jersey, in Mahwah, New Jersey, explain how this technology, which is known formally as "rapid prototyping" could revolutionize the way people buy goods. It will allow them to buy or obtain a digital file representing a physical product electronically and then produce the object at a time and place convenient to them. The technology will be revolutionary in the same way that music downloads have shaken up the music industry. "This technology has the potential to generate a variety of new business models, which would enhance the average consumer's lifestyle," say the paper's authors.

The team discusses the current advanced applications of rapid prototyping which exist in the military where missing and damaged components can be produced at the site of action. Education too can make use of 3D printing to allow students to make solid their experimental designs.

Also, product developers can share tangible prototypes by transferring the digitized design without the delay of shipping a solid object between sites, which may be separated by thousands of miles. The possibilities for consumer goods, individualized custom products, replacement components, and quick fixes for broken objects, are almost unlimited, the authors suggest.

From the business perspective, e-commerce sites will essentially become digital download sites with physical stores, retail employees, and shipping eliminated. It is only a matter of time before the "killer application", the 3D equivalent of the mp3 music file, one might say, arrives to make owning a 3D printer as necessary to the modern lifestyle as owning a microwave oven, a TV, or indeed a personal computer.

Jim Corlett | alfa
Further information:
http://www.inderscience.com

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>