Yabba Dabba 3D Printers

by Joseph Flaherty on April 10, 2009

The majority of 3D printers use a plastics or plaster powders to create small models used for verifying a concept during the product development process. A couple forward looking academics are challenging the constraints of commercially available 3D printers by developing their own machines and materials.

3D printers are similar to their 2D cousins in function and business model. The real money is made in the consumables and if you think ink cartridges are expensive, imagine filling them with titanium. Frustrated by the cost of consumables Professor Mark Ganter of the University of Washington worked with his students to develop a material that could be used in standard 3D printers while reducing the cost from ~$50/lb. to ~$1/lb. This greatly expands the possibility for experimentation while also broadening potential applications of 3D printer technology.

ceramic-3d-printer

Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California is working on a 3D printer that uses a novel material, cement,and operates at a giant scale. Prof. Khoshnevis hopes to one day build homes using a crane mounted 3D printer. Theoretically a home could be constructed in a day without requiring human intervention.

This video demonstrates the principle behind “Contour Crafting:

This video shows the proof-of-concept 3D printer building a vase much the way an amateur ceramist constructs a coil pot. The resolution is significantly lower than what is possible with commercialized 3D printers, but the speed is unmatched.

Companies like FigurePrints and Shapeways are finding ways to commercialize the existing crop of 3D printers, but these efforts along with homebrew developments like the Makerbot (can print plastic and cake frosting) and the Fab@Home Project (Prints silicone and chocolate) show how much room exists for innovation in hardware and materials.

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  • andre dupont

    Correction: RepRap prints various thermoplastics. Silicone and chocolate is used by the other open source 3D printer Fab@Home.

  • http://www.replicatorinc.com Joseph Flaherty

    Andre,

    Apologies. It has been corrected.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.shapeways.com/blog/ Joris

    Ceramics..wow, that really is a game changer.

  • http://www.3dventures.com Michael

    Over the next few years we will see a big change to the number of available materials to 3d print with. We mostly 3d print architectural models. The real long-term challenge is when a 3d printer can combine multiple materials to create a battery for instance! Cream Brulee Truffle anyone?
    You can view some of our works at http://www.3dventures.com

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  • http://www.emo-site.com/ Emo

    Yabba Dabba – what unusual name!
    Where only do not apply 3D Printers. You publish always very interesting articles. I often happen on your site.

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    when will 4d come up ??

  • http://unilinkinc.com/receipt_printer.php receipt printer

    I'm really amaze with our technology.. Printers have really lots of innovation from the it was invent up to now.. I'm looking forward to see more of the innovation that will take place in printers… Thanks for posting this..

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    This video shows the proof-of-concept 3D printer building a vase much the way an amateur ceramist constructs a coil pot. The resolution is significantly lower than what is possible with commercialized 3D printers, but the speed is unmatched.

  • anuyaa

    3D Systems is a leading global provider of 3-D Modeling, Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Manufacturing technology.Our three-dimensional part-building systems and engineered materials reduce the time and cost of designing products and facilitate Direct Digital Manufacturing, enabling our customers to drastically decrease product development time and maintain a competitive advantage..

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    Can it be use to form any shape, like stars, or something more abstract form?

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