Mind & Matter


3D Printing Scales Down

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TU Vienna researchers Markus Hatzenbichler and Klaus Stadlmann with their micro 3D printer. Photo: Courtesy of TU Vienna.


In April, I wrote about the Additive Manufacturing Revolution, reporting on 3D Systems global engineering head Rajeev Kulkarni’s prediction of the arrival of $500 3D printers by next winter’s holiday season. In keeping with general technological trends, 3D printing will not only become more affordable, as Kuklarni predicts, but also increasingly portable.

Mechanical engineers at the Vienna University of Technology have revealed a prototype of a miniature 3D printer that—unlike other so-called “desktop” versions that occupy significant space—is truly desktop-worthy. The tiny printer weighs only 3.3 pounds and creates microscaled, high-resolution resin prototypes using high-intensity LED lights. Currently priced at $1,700, TU Vienna researchers predict cheaper future versions, including devices that print ceramic materials.

Given these remarkable developments, 3D desktop printing is poised to penetrate the DIY market significantly in the near future.



Comments (1 Total)

  • Posted by: Anonymous | Time: 11:19 AM Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Along with this, incredibly small 3d printer heading into homes we are seeing a massive uptake in the use of 3D printing through online services such as www.shapeways.com We are currently receiving over 13,000 files per month for 3D printing and growing very fast. Duann

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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.