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3D Printers: What is the hype about?

The world of technology and science is expanding and changing exponentially. Futuristic inventions that were talked about for generations have arrived. Telephones you could carry around with you, computers in every home, and the ability to see your family when you talked to them on the phone.

That future has arrived, and the things of science fiction are a reality. Printers have evolved from the mimeograph machine, with a roller and purple ink, to electric copiers, with black ink that didn’t smell funny. Now they collate, staple, print photographs and send faxes. Enter the world of 3D printers and pens. No paper or ink required.

What is 3D printing?

In a normal printing process, information is fed to a printer, via computer generated instructions. Ink is laid onto paper, and your 2D document is generated. With a 3D printer, an object is scanned or created in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program. The object is then divided into .15mm thick slices, hundreds of one dimensional layers. Each layer is a set of instructions that are fed into the 3D printer.

A layer of powdered polymer is distributed evenly across a platform. Infrared lasers scan across the layer creating the pattern from the first layer of instructions. The laser melts the polymer. A second layer of powder is applied, crystallizing the materials. The process is repeated until the object has been completed. The excess powder is removed, and the completed object emerges.

What can be made with a 3D printer?

With a 3D printer, a company can design and create their own prototypes. Something that looks good on paper may not actually look as nice, or work as well, in reality. By creating a prototype, a manufacturer can look at a physical representation of their final product, and make changes to their products. The cost associated with prototypes and new product development can be greatly reduced with the purchase of an affordable 3d printer.

In the world of kitchen appliance, the manufacturers can develop new kitchen appliance, print the sample products before the real products released to the market, they can make a new design on various products including electric kettles, teapots, cookware sets, microwave ovens, gas stove and more from their computer with ease..

In the world of science, archaeologists can use the 3D printer to recreate artifacts, dinosaur bones and fossils. Forensic science can recreate objects destroyed at a crime scene, enabling them to reconstruct what may have happened. Crime television and their fictional experiments meet forensic pathologists using 3D modeling.

In modern medicine, they are using layers of living tissue to recreate organs and body parts. Organ printing, or Computer Aided Tissue Layering is in development. One day, in the very near future, a limb will be regenerated with help from 3D printers. The applications are endless limited only by the imagination.

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