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 NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>