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TU Vienna Creates Small, Inexpensive 3-D Printer Prototype
Posted By Joshua Condon On May 28, 2011 @ 11:41 am In Printers, Copiers, and Peripherals | No Comments
With their ability to create three-dimensional objects from computer-generated or scanned images, 3-D printers are expected to have a major impact on the manufacturing arms of industries ranging from architecture and industrial design to fashion accessories, medical devices, and engineering.
Of course, like the computer before it, the cost of the device must drop to a level at which they are easily attainable in order for the impact to be most widely felt; as it stands now, 3-D printers are large and expensive machines.
A team of researchers from the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have created a prototype machine that is not only compact—around the size of a milk carton—but relatively inexpensive to produce at about $1,700. And that cost, like the size and weight, is expected to only drop further.
The machine works by successively layering together individually-formed sheets of resin, each less than one twentieth of a millimeter thick. The resin, developed by chemists at TU Vienna, starts out in a tub and is then heated with high-intensity LED beams, which hardens the material in specified shapes; these are added together one layer at a time by the machine to form the finished three-dimensional, high-resolution object with the capability for complex interior structures.
The prototype doesn’t work for large-scale production, but its potential significance as an entry-level machine for individual inventors or small businesses with a need for cost-effective means of moving computer-modeled objects into the real world for testing purposes cannot be overstated.
Read more about TU Vienna’s prototype miniature 3-D printer at Gizmag .
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URL to article: http://technology.inc.com/2011/05/28/tu-vienna-creates-small-inexpensive-3-d-printer-prototype/
URLs in this post:
 Gizmag: http://www.gizmag.com/miniature-cheap-3d-printer/18677/
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