We always love hearing from passionate, scientific-minded kids, and 13-year-old Riley Lewis, a burgeoning 3-D printer expert (and PopSci reader!) is certainly that. Riley showed interest in fabrication and Maker culture, so Deelip and 3D Systems hooked him up with a RapMan 3.1 3-D printer kit that he's set up at his Silicon Valley school--and Riley in turn has hooked his classmates into discovering the potential of 3-D printing with him.
A mini inkjet prints on any flat surface with a wave of the hand
By Rena Marie Pacella
Posted 06.01.2011 at 10:02 am 9 Comments
In 2000, one of Europe’s largest rubber-stamp companies approached Alex Breton, an engineer from Stockholm, Sweden, for product ideas. Instead of dreaming up a new stamp, he designed the PrintBrush, an 8.8-ounce handheld gadget that uses inkjets, computer-mouse-like optics and navigation software to print uploaded images and text on any flat surface, including paper, plastic, wood and even fabric.
In the five years that Popular Science has run the Invention Awards, we’ve seen a lot of remarkable things come out of people’s garages. Some are designed to treat the sick or save the planet. Others are simply fun to play with. But no matter what the purpose, the brilliance of the inventions and the dedication of the individuals behind them are always inspiring.
3-D printing is a young technology, but its pioneers and champions aren't satisfied with printing cars, airplane parts, or tiny edible spaceships--they're always looking down the road at what's next. We talked with some of the best minds in 3-D printing about their dream projects--not what's possible now, but what their current work might lead to in five or ten years. These six dream projects are pretty astounding, and what's most striking is how attainable they seem. These aren't pipe dreams. They're our future.
The World Wildlife Federation announced the creation of its first file format, WWF, designed as a replacement for PDF. It's essentially identical to PDF, except for one key difference: It can't be printed. The WWF hopes this will reduce unnecessary paper use, or at least bring some attention to the fact that lots of paper use is unnecessary.
3-D printers, sometimes called rapid prototypers, already instantly manufacture products by squirting out material layer by layer. Now they're turning out items made of glass, sand and other substances beyond the usual plastic or resin.
A new printing method could deposit medicines onto the surface of pills, making large, chalky-tasting tablets -- and your grandma's weekly-labeled pill box -- a thing of the past. Researchers in England have devised a way to dissolve active ingredients into a liquid and turn it into an ink that can be printed onto tablets, the way ink is printed onto paper.
While three-dimensional printing has come a long way, engineers still struggle with fabricating objects smaller than a quarter. In those small structures, the upper layers crush and distort the weak lower ones. To solve this problem, researchers at the University of Illinois have come up with a novel solution: print out a flat sheet, and then fold it, origami style, into the desired shape.
Figuring out how to recycle TPS reports and office printouts appears to have become a passion for Japanese engineers, as DigInfo News has discovered in recent days. If the "White Goat" machine that converts paper sheets into toilet paper failed to appeal, consider this supposedly eco-friendly printer that can erase old documents and reuse them up to 1,000 times per special page.
If you're like me, the lack of computing power in your T-shirt causes constant problems. Well, thanks to the guys over at Xerox, you'll never have to worry about a jacket that can't run Windows 7 ever again. The company has just announced a new process for creating an ink that doubles as a circuit, paving the way for ubiquitous computing through printable electronics.
You can stop pounding on that anvil now; steel fabrication has moved onto the web. Shapeways, a company that made its name offering custom 3-D printing in plastic and resin, will now print your designs in stainless steel. All you have to do is upload your brilliant CAD design (or pick from a range of stock items). Shapeways will print it out in cold, shiny steel, and mail it to you.
3-D printing may soon expand beyond the small scale. In 2010, the world's largest 3-D printer will build the Radiolaria Pavilion, a 10-meter-tall structure in Pontedera, Italy. Made out of sandstone, the building will be printed one 5-10mm layered sheet at a time.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.