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 Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers
17.07.2018 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>