3D Printing Scales Down
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.