Apple designers once again have scored with innovative use of materials. iMac first became an industrial design icon in 1998 when it introduced use of striking translucent plastic. The new iMac takes a dramatically different turn, making use of glass and ultra-thin aluminum, creating a new level of classy look. It’s a clean and simple design. The translucent plastic models in funky colors drew attention to the box. The new look makes it clear that this is a functional product where attention is focused on the desktop interface. The new 20-inch iMac is priced at $1,199, $300 less than the previous 20-inch model, and the 24-inch iMac starts at $1,799, $200 less than the previous 24-inch model.
These new 3D-printing technologies and printers include some that are truly boundary-breaking: a sophisticated new sub-$10,000, 10-plus materials bioprinter, the first industrial-strength silicone 3D-printing service, and a clever twist on 3D printing and thermoforming for making high-quality realistic models.
Using simulation to guide the drafting process can speed up the design and production of 3D-printed nanostructures, reduce errors, and even make it possible to scale up the structures. Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a model that does this.
Engineers need workhorse materials with beefy mechanical properties for industrial designs made with 3D printing. Very few have been designed from the ground up for additive manufacturing, but that picture is beginning to change.
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