3-D printing is taking the world by storm, with some of the most recent applications including medical devices such as prosthetic’s. Genetic engineers are even using this radical new technique to print viruses that may be used in cancer treatment. There are also applications in engineering, architecture, aerospace, the military, and more consumer-oriented areas such as jewelry, eyeglasses and clothing.
Also known as additive manufacturing or desktop manufacturing, 3-D printing involves the use of an industrial robot. A 3-D printable model is created using digital data from a real object. Then the model is converted into a series of thin layers through specialized computer programs.
All the data is transferred to a special 3-D printer, which uses successive layers of material such as liquid, powder or paper to create the 3-D item. The construction usually takes only a few hours and is usually less expensive than objects built through traditional manufacturing techniques. For example, the Washington Postreported recently on a children’s 3-D prosthetic arm that cost $350 to make, vs. $40,000 for a traditional prosthetic.
Most 3-D printers are still very expensive and intended for industrial or medical use. However, for small businesses or consumers who are interested in the technology, a Swiss company is making a desktop unit priced around $4,000. It will print objects in nylon, including both prototypes and end products that include moving parts.
LaserCycle USA is not yet offering 3-D printers, but we are confident you’ll find our range of desktop laser printers and multifunction color publishing systems adequate for your business needs. As always, we specialize in helping you find the right device for your business requirements.
For help in selecting the right multifunction device, contact LaserCycle to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.