Micro 3-D Printer Creates Tiny Structures in Seconds

Via: MIT Technology Review

Faster printing could see the technology move from research labs to industry. 

By Prachi Patel on March 5, 2013

Nanoscribe, a spin-off from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, has developed a tabletop 3-D microprinter that can create complicated microstructures 100 times faster than is possible today. “If something took one hour to make, it now takes less than one minute,” says Michael Thiel, chief scientific officer at Nanoscribe.

While 3-D printing of toys, iPhone covers, and jewelry continues to grab headlines (see “The Difference Between Makers and Manufacturers”), much of 3-D printing’s impact could be at a much smaller scale. Micrometer-scale printing has shown promise for making medical and electronic devices.

Thiel says it should be possible to speed up his company’s microprinting technique even more in the future.

Nanoscribe plans to start selling its machine in the second half of this year.

Printing microstructures with features a few hundred nanometers in size could be useful for making heart stents, microneedles for painless shots, gecko adhesives, parts for microfluidics chips, and scaffolds for growing cells and tissue. Another important application could be in the electronics industry, where patterning nanoscale features on chips currently involves slow, expensive techniques. 3-D printing would quickly and cheaply yield polymer templates that could be used to make metallic structures.

Read more: here

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The Ten Principles of 3D Printing

Via: Bigthink

by Hod Lipson
March 2, 2013, 12:00 AM

This article is an excerpt from Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman’s new book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing.

Predicting the future is a crapshoot. When we were writing this book and interviewing people about 3D printing, we discovered that a few underlying “rules” kept coming up. People from a broad and diverse array of industries and backgrounds and levels of expertise described similar ways that 3D printing helped them get past key cost, time and complexity barriers.

We have summarized what we learned. Here are ten principles of 3D printing we hope will help people and businesses take full advantage of 3D printing technologies.

Read more: here

3-D Printed Car Is as Strong as Steel, Half the Weight, and Nearing Production

Via: Wired

By Alexander George

Picture an assembly line not that isn’t made up of robotic arms spewing sparks to weld heavy steel, but a warehouse of plastic-spraying printers producing light, cheap and highly efficient automobiles.

If Jim Kor’s dream is realized, that’s exactly how the next generation of urban runabouts will be produced. His creation is called the Urbee 2 and it could revolutionize parts manufacturing while creating a cottage industry of small-batch automakers intent on challenging the status quo.

Urbee’s approach to maximum miles per gallon starts with lightweight construction – something that 3-D printing is particularly well suited for. The designers were able to focus more on the optimal automobile physics, rather than working to install a hyper efficient motor in a heavy steel-body automobile. As the Urbee shows, making a car with this technology has a slew of beneficial side effects.

Jim Kor is the engineering brains behind the Urbee. He’s designed tractors, buses, even commercial swimming pools. Between teaching classes, he heads Kor Ecologic, the firm responsible for the 3-D printed creation.

“We thought long and hard about doing a second one,” he says of the Urbee. “It’s been the right move.”

Kor and his team built the three-wheel, two-passenger vehicle at RedEye, an on-demand 3-D printing facility. The printers he uses create ABS plastic via Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The printer sprays molten polymer to build the chassis layer by microscopic layer until it arrives at the complete object. The machines are so automated that the building process they perform is known as “lights out” construction, meaning Kor uploads the design for a bumper, walk away, shut off the lights and leaves. A few hundred hours later, he’s got a bumper. The whole car – which is about 10 feet long – takes about 2,500 hours.

Read more: here