Having recently developed the worlds smallest 3d printer, the Vienna Institute of Technology has once again made its way into the headlines, this the development of a polymer and laser technique that promises to speed up the printing of minute 3D objects.
The key to this technology lies in the fluid polymer developed at the university along with the use of mirrors to rapidly direct the light. When hit by the centre of the laser beam, the polymer absorb two photons which result in the activation of the molecules. This in turn leads to a chain reaction with other components of the resin (monomers) turning them into a solid.
While offering unparalleled speed this 3D printer does not compromise on accuracy with the team of students successfully building a detailed micro model of the Tower Bridge along with a 285µm Formula 1 speedster.
The team are hopeful that the increased speed and an ability to build much larder objects (relatively speaking) will lead to the adaptation of this speedy 3d printer in the medical industry. The 3D printer is likely to have further applications in the construction of parts of nano engineering.
Demonstrating the potential of e-Manufacturing, Germany company EOS (Electro Optical Systems) have printed a violin! The 3D printed violin was produced in days and demonstrates how rapid prototyping technology can be applied to conventional manufacturing process across a wide range of industries as a tool for overcoming production challenges.
Renowned for their artisanal craftsmanship each Stradiviarius stringed instrument has been designed to the unique and complex specifications of the Stradivarius brand. A highly labour intensive process each violin produced consists of about five hundred work steps and usually takes up to three months of handicraft time.
Manufactured in a high performance industrial polymer (EOS PEEK HP3) the entire body was grown within hours on a laser-sintering machine. This form of 3D printing involves the use of a high powered laser to fused small material particles layer by layer until the 3D product is fully built. With the help of a traditional violin maker the body was then assembled and additional components including strings, fine tuners and the peg box were added.
The real test came next, would the 3D printed violin sound like a violin should. To my untrained ear the project appears to have been a success (watch the video below to decide for yourself).
3D printed musical instruments may prove a popular option for those seeking an inexpensive alternative to what can often be a major investment.
A joint collaboration between the Mechanical Engineering and Chemical Research departments at the Vienna University of Technology has resulted in the development of the worlds smallest 3D printer.
Weighing just over 3lbs and no larger than the size of a shoebox, the micro- 3D printer is capable of producing layers to less than a twentieth of a millimetre thick. The use of LED technology has allowed for extraordinary precision as the high intensity discharge lighting can be focused on highly specific locations.
With build times for a 1cm high object projected at one hour, the micro-3D printer is significantly slower than its counter parts. The research collaboration aim to resolve this with researcher, Klaus Stadlmann stating “We’ve yet to optimise the process, as thsi device is simply meant to demonstrate that the technology can be produced at this micro level.”
Despite this design challenge interest has already been expressed in this technology, with a particular interest expressed by biologists and physicians who view the potential for this printer as a basis for promoting natural bone growth. Eager to maximise on this potential Stadlmann and the team of researchers, have already created models with the dense outer structure of the corical bone as well as the internal structure s that could support life. To ensure these implats would not be rejected by the patient, the team hope to develop a compoud that while structurally sound enough to help the body repair will dissolve 3-4 weeks after implantation, leaving no remnants in the body.
Watch Klaus Stadlmann’s presentation on the micro-3D printer at TEDx Vienna below