Burlington, MA —The next time your office runs out of coffee cups, you could, in theory, print yourself a new one using stereo lithography. It's been around a while. But for those of you who find seasonal Dixie Cups®more appealing than the bland styrofoam look, Z Corp. is about to release a machine that could bring rapid prototyping from monochrome into the wonderful world of color.
You can't eat them anymore, but they sure do look
Their new Z402C 3D Color Printer and software create 3D parts from VRML files. The unit is a bit slower than its black, white, and gray predecessors, but the company is betting people will be willing to wait a few more minutes for color—or just choose the unit's monochrome option. Advantages to multi-colored parts include being able to distinguish stress and temperature distribution in models, and other finite element analysis applications. Molecular modeling comes to mind too.
The material used to make the models has also been improved. A plaster base has replaced the once edible sugar and starch concoction. It's formulated to be three times stronger, allowing delicate parts—like models of injection molded plastic—to be printed and handled, and even mailed. Presently the machine's prototype, which was on display and operating at the recent RPM show, prints in eight colors. But future developments are forecasted to offer as many as six million colors. The unit is expected to be on sale late this summer. "Someday we want to replace the common printer," says Marina Hatsopoulos, CEO of Z Corp. To get you hooked, the company has plans to print one free part for anyone visiting their website with a CAD work-in-progress. Another advance appearing on the horizon: printing materials with elastomeric properties. CAD users may want to draft their holiday wish lists early.
Engineers at Fuel Cell Energy have found a way to take advantage of a side reaction, unique to their carbonate fuel cell that has nothing to do with energy production, as a potential, cost-effective solution to capturing carbon from fossil fuel power plants.
To get to a trillion sensors in the IoT that we all look forward to, there are many challenges to commercialization that still remain, including interoperability, the lack of standards, and the issue of security, to name a few.
This is part one of an article discussing the University of Washington’s nationally ranked FSAE electric car (eCar) and combustible car (cCar). Stay tuned for part two, tomorrow, which will discuss the four unique PCBs used in both the eCar and cCars.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.