3D Printing and its Impact
As many of my readers know, I believe that 3D printing will change the ways in which everyday goods are manufactured. Below, is a round-up of recent articles on 3D printing and its impact.
Film cameras are sadly a dying breed, but 3D printers are just starting their march to the mainstream consumer market. Thankfully for 35mm film devotees everywhere, the latter could ensure that analog cameras never disappear entirely. Specifically, thanks can be directed at Léo Marius, whose OpenReflex camera can be 3D printed with just over $30 worth of parts (minus the film). Marius says that all of the involved components can be printed in under 15 hours, and final assembly can be completed in about an hour. To make modifications and further iterations on his design easier, he's also made sure that all camera parts remain separate in his 3D design plans. Even better, he's promising compatibility with any glass you've got on hand thanks to a custom lens mount.
Researchers at North Carolina State have demonstrated a method for using a 3D printer to create free-standing liquid metal structures at room temperature which retain their shape via a "passivating oxide skin" that forms on the surface of the liquid metal when exposed to air.
Microsoft is looking to make 3D printing a plug-and-play process. Now that the cost of 3D printers is becoming accessible for individuals to have at their home thanks to innovations from MakerBot among others, it is important to have a PC operating system that makes it very simple for people to 3D print things.
Visitors will eventually be able to make use of three MakerBot 2 3D printers, two laser cutters from Inventables, and one milling machine, in addition to open source software on a fleet of computers so that people can design their own projects. In the weeks leading up to the public opening, members of the CPL and American Library Association staff have been using the machines to make wooden iPhone docks with the milling machine, craft their own custom keychains with the laser cutters, and even print an entire chess set with the 3D printers, though they're eager to see what the public will come up with following the launch.
There’s a white bust of Albert Einstein on a table in Cosmo Wenman’s studio. The Vista resident picks it up with ease. It’s clearly not made of marble. In fact, the bust weighs a mere 2 lbs. Even more jarring, Wenman removes the face from the bust to reveal a hollow interior. The statue has Einstein’s wild locks and all-to familiar visage, but the whole thing is composed of plastic. It was made with Wenman’s 3D printer.
James Hoskins and his team at University of the West of England, regularly backed by government funding, have been working extensively on developing 3D printing in ceramics, with the results primarily having an application for model-making and prototypes.
3D printing has started to involve everything from custom plastic casts to duck's feet and now researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a 3D printing technique that can create a variety of stable free-standing structures from liquid metal at room temperature.