Pint-sized 3D printer produced
3D printers are generally so large, that even if you had a daily use for one, it would be an implausible prospect to set up beside your home PC. This could be about to change.
A team from the Vienna University of Technology has developed a machine much smaller, lighter and cheaper than a standard 3D printer.
The concept draws on research conducted by a team of mechanical engineers led by Prof. Jürgen Stampfi, along with the help of a chemical research team led by Prof. Robert Liska. A prototype was put together by Klaus Stadlmann and Markus Hatzenbichler.
The device uses “additive manufacturing technology”, printing objects in a synthetic resin that hardens when illuminated with intense light. As the desired parts of a layer harden, the remaining resin is irradiated and a new layer can be added. These layers are just a twentieth of a millimetre thick and are printed with such precision that the machine could be used for manufacturing detailed objects such as hearing aid parts.
“We will continue to reduce the size of the printer, and the price will definitely decrease too, if it is produced in large quantities," said Stadlmann.
The prototype is about the size of milk carton, weighs just 1.5kg and costs €1200 (£1056) to build.
Scientists are now working on trying out different materials, from special ceramics to eco-friendly biodegradable substances. Okay, it's probably not gonna print your TV dinners any time soon, but 3D printers, particularly ones of this size, certainly appear to be heading towards an affordable commercial venture for home use. We'll let you know when we see resin packs start to appear in Ryman.
If you're confused by 3D printing, then our feature on the topic will tell you how it stacks up. ®
And if you're EPSON
You make sure your printer throws up mysterious "unrecognized cartridge" errors forcing you to change the ink even when there is plenty left. Buying an EPSON printer is one of the most seriously bad decisions I've made in a long time.
They clearly don't know anything about the printer business. You sell the printer for 50 quid, then charge €1200 a pop for the toner.
Cable? That's extra.
Look it up and weep
This might revolutionize the jewellery business, if they can print in wax or a acceptable plastic alternative for "lost wax" casting in gold or silver. (You need something that can be burned without toxic fumes or any solid residues).
3D graphic designing is a lot easier than sculpting tiny details in wax, and some geometries would be possible that are all but impossible to sculpt from a solid lump.
Given how much of a rip-off GW products have always been, I don't have a right lot of sympathy TBH. When me and my friends used to play WH and WH40K at school, GW ripped the rules apart to dumb the whole thing down for 10-year-olds, whilst simultaneously adding hugely unbalanced new characters which cost a fortune to buy. We stuck with the old rules, mostly stopped buying new models, and branched out into historical gaming instead.