Personal electronics' next revolution: Home printers that make 3-D objects

November 16, 2011

Just imagine: Instead of sending Grandma a holiday photo of the family for her fridge, you call up the image on your computer monitor, click "print," and your printer produces a three-dimensional plastic model ready for hanging on the holiday tree. Scenes like that -- in which homes have 3-D printers that build solid objects on demand - are fast approaching reality, according to the cover story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, the American Chemical Society's weekly newsmagazine.

In the article, C&EN Associate Editor Lauren K. Wolf explains that 3-D printers are on the verge of a personal revolution akin to the one that began in the 1970s and transformed computers from room-size machines to devices that fit on tables and now in pockets. A similar transformation is taking place in the world of 3-D printing, where machines are shrinking and the ability to create detailed objects from a variety of materials is growing. Engineers are now able to create objects out of a number of plastics, metals, ceramics and even foods like chocolate, sometimes with details as fine as a human hair.

The technology promises to foster revolutions in venues ranging from kitchens to hospital operating rooms. Some surgeons, for instance, envision printing bone grafts or replacement blood vessels with embedded proteins and cells that will help them fuse naturally. Chefs could print designer chocolates and gourmet meals with unique textures and tastes. "In 20 years, many people will have a 3-D printer in their kitchen for printing designer foods and other products," the article quotes one scientist as saying.
-end-
The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society contact newsroom@acs.org.

American Chemical Society

Related Printing Articles from Brightsurf:

3D printing -- a 'dusty' business?
3D printers are becoming increasingly popular. They can be used to create a wide variety of three-dimensional objects based on computer templates.

New insights into 3D printing of spacers and membranes
To also address the controversies on the feasibility of 3D printing for membranes, researchers from SUTD and NTU have coined a new term 'hybrid additive manufacturing' for the water treatment industry.

3D printing the first ever biomimetic tongue surface
Scientists have created synthetic soft surfaces with tongue-like textures for the first time using 3D printing, opening new possibilities for testing oral processing properties of food, nutritional technologies, pharmaceutics and dry mouth therapies.

Low cost, customized prosthesis using 3D printing
The Singapore University of Technology and Design, together with Singapore's Tan Tock Seng Hospital, developed a novel 3D printed non-metallic self-locking prosthetic arm for a patient with a forequarter amputation - it is more comfortable, flexible and 20% cheaper than a conventional prosthesis.

Printing organic transistors
Researchers successfully print and demonstrate organic transistors, electronic switches, which can operate close to their theoretical speed limits.

The best of both worlds: A new take on metal-plastic hybrid 3D printing
Current 3D printers employ either plastic or metal only, and the conventional method to coat 3D plastic structures with metal is not environment-friendly and yields poor results.

Technology for printing customized neuroprostheses on a 3D bioprinter
Researchers from St Petersburg University have developed the NeuroPrint soft neuroprosthesis 3D printing technology.

NIST scientists get soft on 3D printing
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new method of 3D-printing gels and other soft materials.

Rapid 3D printing with visible light
3D printing has driven innovations in fields ranging from art to aerospace to medicine.

3D printing steps up to the frontlines in the battle against Covid-19
The versatility of 3D printing has enabled on demand solutions for needs ranging from personal protection equipment to medical devices and isolation wards, proving the technology's vital use in addressing worldwide disruptions in supply chains.

Read More: Printing News and Printing Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.