As this technology continues to develop, it would be interesting to understand the expected print life of the cartridges for certain types of pastes. From the articles, it seems that the current strategy is to allow quick replacement of the heads (similar to an inkjet printhead cartridge), so I'm assuming that these cartridges are currently planned on being low-cost and disposible. (By the way, the peanut butter prototype was impressive).
William, both capacitive and conductive features can be 3D printed with this technology, mentioned on the company's website. We also give a link in the story for more info on the ink's characteristics. Transistors? Not quite yet.
Printing conductors is a worthwhile thing, but to gain much functionality there need to be other parts as well. Resistors and transistors would allow some functionality, but it seems that they would need to be placed, rather than printed.
Syringe extruders have been used in medical R&D for 3D printing various types of organ-like materials. But this is a new development in industrial uses. The combination of plastics and conductive viscous ink 3D printed in one pass is still in its early stages, but the open source technology means it can be developed faster via crowdsourcing.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
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