Designers Seongil Choi and Fabio Hendry have developed a process to make craft designs from the waste product of 3D printing.
The Biggest Nano Structures in the World Have Been Created Thanks to 3D Printing
When it comes to 3D printing, there is a lot of talk about large scale printing. In this past year alone, we have seen things as large as a house 3D printed using the technology that we have today. The world has a fascination with large things, thus this is why there has been so much media attention surrounding the 3D printing of cars, houses, and other large structures as of late. However, equally impressive, although not quite as ‘sexy’ to the mainstream media, is the 3D printing of nano structures. These are structures that are extremely tiny, and provide for the potential of creating new materials, new medical devices, and more. The possibilities are really endless.
There are several companies which currently have the technology to utilize lasers to 3D print nano structures. However, today 3DPrint.com learns that one company has just broken a record for creating a machine that allows them to 3D print ‘the largest’ nano structures yet. Isn’t that an oxymoron?
“We, the company TETRA in Germany, have developed a nano-3D-printer,” Norman Petzold of Tetra tells 3DPrint.com. “It is based on two-photon-lithography (2PP) and is able to write nano structures with resolutions of 400 nm. There are already printers, which are based on 2PP and which have the same resolutions, but the new thing on our nano structures is that they are ten times bigger than the current [technology]. Current nano structures are available at 2 or 3 mm height. Our structures can be [up to] 30 x 30 x 30 mm³ with a resolution of 400 nm. This is current world record.”
The process, which TETRA’s printers use, is called Two-Photo-Polymerization (2PP) and it is a lithographic technique where photo-sensitive, polymerizable liquids such as hydrogels are cross-linked using an ultra-short-pulse-laser. This laser cures the material, allowing for final products which are incredibly small in size, yet also very intricate in detail.
Some of the materials available to print with using 2PP include acrylate monomers, and biomolecules. This technology is very useful for creating products which can be used for:
The laser used within these machines feature a wavelength of 780 nm and a pulse duration of less than 120fs. This provides for very minute detail in a tiny space.
It should be interesting to see how this technology progresses in the coming years and how various businesses and institutions put it to use. Allowing for the 3D printing of small, detailed objects could revolutionize medicine in more ways than one. The fact that these machines are no longer limited to printing objects of 3mm in size means much more potential lies ahead.
What do you think about TETRA’s latest nano structure 3D printer. What types of unique uses do you foresee for this technology now and in the future? Discuss in the TETRA Nano Structure forum thread on 3DPB.com.
8 Astonishing Things 3D Printing is Producing
1) Prosthetic Legs for Dogs
With a prosthetic leg created by designers at 3D printing company 3D systems,Derby the disabled rescue dog (warning: if you’re pregnant, menstruating, or a passionate animal lover the aforementioned link will probably make you cry) recently got to run for the first time. Derby’s leg was designed by an artificial limbs specialist, who worked along with Derby’s adoptive parents to model and print Derby’s new legs.
2) Self-Adjustable Glasses
Researchers advocating the far-reaching potential of 3D printing recently used aRepRap printer to create self-adjustable glasses. The glasses cost just $1 to produce, and the lenses can be self-adjusted, helping low-income families to avoid the costs normally associate with vision correction. The project demonstrates the humanitarian implications of 3D-printing. With 90% of visually impaired people living in countries where corrective eye-care is either impractical or impossible, the Adspec glasses could have a huge global impact.
3) Futuristic Furniture
How cool would it be to print your own furniture? With 3D printing, it could be a real possibility. Already, designers have begun experimenting with 3D furnituremodels, producing some pretty neat results. Imagine how much easier moving into your college dorm room would have been if all you had to bring was your 3D printer!
4) Human Organs
Already, 3D printing has had a huge impact in the medical field, but its most exciting application is still in the works. Scientists all over the globe are in the race to create the first fully-functional human organ using 3D bio-printing. Bio-printing combines traditional 3D printing methods with stem cell “ink,” creating delicate structures such as human capillaries with an ease that conventional manufacturing methods could never hope to achieve. Already, prominent scientists such as Anthony Atala have begun creating organ prototypes that could feasibly solve the growing organ-donor problem within the next decade.
5) Eco-Friendly Houses
WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, a company in China, has used a giant 3D printer to create ten single-story homes. An environmentally-friendly project, the houses were constructed out of construction waste and glass fiber. Although the buildings only measure 10 x 6.6 meters, the project has laid the groundwork for 3D building, a development that is well on its way to revolutionizing the construction industry.
6) Modernist Jewelry
3D printed jewelry is already on the market, and it’s surprisingly affordable. By using 3D printers, jewelry makers can produce intricate designs in half the time, using precious metals as well as plastic and brass. This 3D printed jewelry is an art form in its own right, creating geometrically modern custom designs that are already growing popular amongst consumers around the globe.
7) Perfect-Fit Clothing
3D printed clothing has hit the catwalk in recent years, and may soon revolutionize the fashion industry. Although 3D-printed clothing is somewhat materially restricted, it makes ordering perfect-fit clothing easy and affordable. With companies like Australia’s XYZ Workshop already offering downloadable dress designs, soon anyone with a 3D printer will be able to manufacture their own clothing at home.
8) Fully-Functional Firearms
Non-profit 3D printing firm Defense Distributed has created a series of fully-functional gun components using 3D printing methods. All of the blueprints are available for free through the Defense Distributed website, so if you have a 3D printer at home (or if you plan on buying one now that you’ve discovered how awesome they are), you can make your own 3D weapons.