Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How 3D Printing is going to change your life – Examining the current innovations

By Jeff Roberts via Collective Evolution, 8 Dec 2013

A 3D printer is a unique piece of technology that reads a digital computer file and then, through the use of a specific composite or polymer material, creates a physical object from the file.

3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction (AEC), industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military, engineering, civil engineering, dental and medical industries, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, footwear, jewelry, eyewear, education, geographic information systems, food, and many other fields; it has been deemed by manufacturers as a potential trigger for the next industrial revolution.

Originally created in 1984 by Chuck Hall of 3D Systems Corp., 3D printers didn’t boom commercially until the last decade as they became more readily available at an affordable price. Today we see 3D printers commonly being used to create smaller items such as knives, ornaments, tools, musical instruments, guns, camera lenses, phone cases and the list goes on.

Swiss Architects Print Entire Room Using 3D Printing Technology

Recently two Swiss architects made headlines after beginning an innovative project in which an entire room was built using a 3D printer. Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger put their computational abilities to the test by using algorithms to design the room’s intricate cathedral-like interior. The project utilized gigantic sandstone parts which were carved out by a large 3D printer. The uniqueness comes with the some 260 million surfaces of the sandstone room, printed at a resolution of a tenth of a millimeter. The room is titled “Digital Grotesque,” modeled after a medieval grotto, and took an entire month to print.

To print out the sandstone parts that made the room, the duo used a massive Voxeljet 3D printer, about the size of a large room. “It can print a single piece that weighs 12 tons, yet at a layer resolution of 0.13 millimeters,” says Hansmeyer. “This combination of scale and resolution seemed unreal to us at first.”

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