The technology behind 3D printing has been in development since the 1980s and it has steadily advanced, becoming increasingly more accurate.
For a 3D model to take shape, the printer must first build the object, layer by layer. It then ejects liquid resin to harden the ultraviolet rays. Three and a half hours later, the product is complete.
Lucien Hirschi, from Zedax SA explained the process: “I take these pieces and finish them off. I do this by cleaning them with pressurised water.”
With this method complex objects can be printed in one go, with no need for assembly. Among the items created are a bicycle chain, adjustable wrench and dentures. The device costs an average of €17,000.
Engineers hope that soon, every home could have its own 3D printer. The Geneva Engineering School may have come up with an answer, by creating a self assembly printer kit which costs just
Daniel Sermondadaz from the Post Tenebras Laboratory said: “It’s true that it’s not easy, it’s not something you’d buy in a shop just like that, you have to be interested and have a basic understanding. Then it’s simply a question of motivation.”
Different models are available to buy on the internet but be prepared for some serious DIY.
Paul Bristow at the Post Tenebras Laboratory explained: “You have all the materials so its possible to build it yourself at home. It comes complete with the metal pieces and all the instructions are on the internet with advice and things like that. Then in a few days it done, I hope!
The kit contain all the electronic components, a microcontroller, and even screws. It should take a minimum of three days to build a professional 3D printer. Then you can let your imagination run wild.
Daniel Sermondadaz from the Post Tenebras Laboratory said: “If you need to replace any objects, like plastic parts, cups, or containers, you don’t have to panic. You can simply buy the part and fix it yourself. This is the idea we’re trying to push, so we can be little independent manufacturers who make huge batches for the public.”
The possibilities for 3D printing appear endless. Engineers have promised the future could hold possibilities for printed food, bodies, cars and even musical instruments.