3D is Coming To a Printer Near You

5 Apr
2010

3D Printing is not a new idea…the basic concept of 3D printing first patent was filed by one Wyn Kelly Swainson in 1971. His idea involved inserting a tray into a vat of liquid plastic and directing a laser into it. The laser would fuse a solid line of plastic onto the tray and, in dropping the tray down, another layer could be added on top.


How 3D Printers such as the one above works in creating architectural models and in prototyping:

The printers build each model layer by layer, starting at the base. For each iteration, a thin layer of powder is spread over the entire building area. Then, a print head similar to that of an inkjet printer prints a layer of binder onto the powder plane. The colorful binder bonds with the powder to create a solid layer of your object. You can think of the complete model as a stack of 2D images that were printed onto the powder. When the process is finally finished with the top layer, the model will be completely enclosed in a matrix of powder that will be removed during the excavation process.

Thinglab is a company that specialises in 3D printing. Based in east London, the ThingLab team works mainly with commercial clients to print models that would previously have been assembled by hand. Architects design their buildings in 3D software packages and pass them to Thinglab to print scale models.

When mobile phone companies come up with a new handset, they print prototypes first in order to test size, shape and feel. Jewellers not only make prototypes, they use them as a basis for molds. Sculptors can scan in their original works, adjust the dimensions and rattle off a series of duplicates (signatures can be added later). Read whole article: guardianuk.

Would you purchase a 3D printer?


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