When I was a kid, “Made in Taiwan” was a label mainly found on cheap consumer electronics or knockoff toy brands. Quality standards for products made in Taiwan were, frankly, not high, and most people associated Taiwanese goods with shoddy materials and a high percentage chance of that what you just bought would break inside a year. Times have certainly changed.
More recently, Taiwan has become something of a high-tech dynamo, producing laptops for Dell, and launching companies with a global impact, such as Acer or HTC. Now Taiwanese industry has turned its attention to additive manufacturing (AM) with the launch of the da Vinci, from the New Kinpo Group, a conglomerate with an emphasis on electronic goods. Continue reading
One of the limiting factors for parts and products produced through additive manufacturing (AM) is the build size of the 3D printer in use. Larger AM systems tend to be more expensive to both purchase and to run (more material usage), but do allow for larger batch runs and designs to be built in one piece rather than several. Cutting a design into pieces is just one method of overcoming limited build space. A manufacturing and design process dubbed 4D printing is another.
With 4D printing, objects can be squashed down in size by varying the density of the object and building an object out of multiple smaller parts. This allows for objects to be build that far exceed the size of the print envelope. Until recently, 4D printing has mainly been an exercise in theory, but a company named Nervous System has brought the process out of the lab and into retail space. Continue reading
As additive manufacturing (AM) further develops as an industry, it will continue to separate into various fields of production. Right now, medical applications for AM are developing at a rapid pace along one path, while other uses, such as parts production and rapid prototyping, are developing along another. Another major field that has really only begun to develop is AM-built electronics.
Researchers at Cornell University have embraced the challenges of 3D printed electronics and recently managed to produce a speaker built entirely using AM. A speaker is a fairly simple piece of technology, compared with more advanced electronic devices, and the challenge in designing one that could be built using AM required material engineering expertise to complement the 3D design. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) is an interesting technology to follow not just because of what it offers, but because of how it can inspire innovation. Rapid prototyping means inventions and upgrades enter into production more quickly, and sometimes researchers can even riff off the technology to develop new products using AM elements. The 3Doodler is one example of this in action, even if it isn’t the sort of development that will save the world.
Perhaps inspired by the 3D drawing device, scientists at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) have developed an AM biopen that allows surgeons to draw live cells directly onto an injury, decreasing recovery times and assisting with the regrowth of bone and cartilage. Continue reading
Everyone loves Christmas cookies. Whole doughy herds of reindeer go into the oven, along with enough stars to fill the night sky and give Santa diabetes. For some people, baking Christmas cookies is part of the holiday tradition they look forward to. For others, it’s simply another chore associated with the holidays. Mixing the dough, rolling the dough, cutting the dough. Ugh.
What those folks really want for Christmas is some sort of machine that speeds up production. No, not a mixer. How about a 3D printer for the kitchen? The Foodini is here to save your dough-covered hands. The first commercially available additive manufacturing (AM) system for food preparation can make cookies in almost any shape imaginable, in a large variety of flavors. Continue reading