Mar 2, 2012
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Worlds smallest 3D printer unveiled.

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

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