The Information Age is glorious. At no other point in history have humans had such easy access to enormous amounts of information. Movies, books, music, and more are all at our fingertips. With the advent of 3D scanning, we can even experience objects we might otherwise never see, from museums and collections around the world.
The Smithsonian is on top of the digitalization of information. In addition to the massive amount of written material that has been digitized, the museum has added 3D printing to its arsenal, allowing easier examination or “lending” of exhibits. Now, with the new Smithsonian X 3D Collection, users can take a close-up look at history, or even print out replicas to educate and impress. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) has applications that range far beyond the production of parts or goods. The scientific community in particular has taken to the technology, using it for everything from artificial reefs to building geological models. One of the greatest strengths of AM is its flexibility, and researchers around the world have turned to it for just that reason.
Paleontologists are the latest group of scientists to find new ways of leveraging the technology. By combining CT scans and 3D printing, they are capable of reproducing extremely accurate scale models of dinosaur bones without concern for damaging the originals. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) may end up being one of the most versatile tools to ever hit the shelves. The technology can produce food and assist operations, along with providing rapid prototyping and end-use capabilities for manufacturing. Researchers in any number of scholarly disciplines have found ways to use AM to improve their studies, and now geologists have joined their numbers.
The ability to visualize information in three dimensions is a necessity when studying many different aspects of geology, including topography, flow research, and strata. Geologists have been building their own scale models of key geological structures for years, eventually turning to three dimensional designs on computers when they became widely available. The GeoFabLab at Iowa State University (ISU) has begun experimenting with AM to build extremely accurate geology models that students and researchers can be see and touch. Continue reading
The next great steps for aerospace are taking place in a digital space. Additive manufacturing (AM) brings a number of options to the table for improving the designs of airplanes, satellites and space exploration vehicles. NASA has already begun serious experimentation with AM, and the European Space Agency (ESA) is following its lead.
ESA’s Amaze Project is developing an entire research and industrial chain throughout Europe to investigate the potential and refine the usage of metal 3D printing. The project is intended to pave the way for AM-built rocket parts, satellites, and, perhaps more controversial, nuclear fusion reactors. Continue reading