3D printers are printers that can create all kinds of objects modeled by computer.
Their current printing techniques are varied.
Here are several different technologies based on the principle of adding material to create the final desired object (methods called AM or ALM - Additive Layer Manufacturing (ASTM) ):
- Melting the raw material (FDM, Fuse Deposition Modeling, by its inventor Stratasys) . Generally, plastic is used. It is melted to a thin wire (the diameter has roughly a tenth of a millimeter). This wire is then bonded with a second fusion on the object being made.
- The solidification by laser powder (SLS, Selective Laser Sintering). The laser solidifies a layer of powder and agglomerates it to the previous layers by sintering. A next layer of powder is then deposited and the process continues.
- The UV solidification of liquid plastic (SLA, Stereolithography Apparatus). Ultraviolet is emitted whenever a plastics layer is deposited.
- The solidification of photopolymer resin (FTI, Film Transfer Imaging). Layer after layer, a plastic film covered with resin is brought to the front of a headlamp. The resin gets solidified where light is received. A new resin layer is then deposited on the film and the process continues.
- Multi-jet printer (MJM, Multi-Jet Modeling). As an ink jet printer, the resin layers are successively deposited one after the other with a 2 to 4 hundredths of a millimeter thick jet.
Printers have subsequently been created for use with food base material and then for medical applications.
In 2009, the French Culinary Institute and the School of Culinary Arts in New York have been working on this idea.
In 2010, the Cornucopia Project (MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) was started , and several companies have also agreed to work on this concept (eg. IKEA).
In 2012 , Shock Edge unveiled a printer that uses chocolate base material.
In November 2012 , the first cartilage was created by a 3D printer.
In February 2013, scientists were able to develop a technology using embryonic stem cells as a base material with MJM technology. (These cells have the characteristic of being able to generate any organ , bone, liver, kidney, heart , skin, ...)
On August the 13th , 2013, Xu Mingen, from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of Hangzhou in China explained how he recreated kidney from a 3D printer.
For fans of science fiction, the Star Trek food synthesizer is perhaps not very far!
The html link here below allows you to see the 3D printers made per the MIT, USA.