Show Stopper: The ZPrinter 310
system by Z Corp. was recently showcased on TV drama CSI: NY as a
A tool that's growing
in popularity among design engineers, 3D printing still has a long way to go
before becoming a standard fixture in the crime scene lab. But on the popular TV
series CSI: NY , the tool—which rapidly creates models of parts by depositing layers of material much like an ink jet printer—has proved to be also useful in solving a crime. In the Dec. 1 episode, a mounted policeman was shot to death. Investigators believed the weapon was a high-power rifle, but could not prove it without the key evidence—the bullet. It passed through the victim's body, entered his horse's vertebrae, and could not be safely removed. No matter, said Oscar-winner Gary Sinise, a.k.a. Detective Mac Taylor, who took digital data from a scan of the horse and used the ZPrinter 310 System by Z Corp. to create a 3D model of the bullet. Karen Kiffney, Z Corp.'s marketing manager, says inquiries about the 310 model have gone up after the episode aired. Marketed as an entry-level system, the machine can create parts up to 8 × 10 × 8 inches (203 × 254 × 203 mm) in size. To learn more and to see an animated demonstration of the system, go to http://rbi.ims.ca-4385-540.
Most machine design engineers will survey existing component manufacturers for standard linear guide products, limiting what they can do with their designs. Using extruded aluminum profile guides can customize machine designs while shrinking the bill of materials.
Practically all electronic devices today contain metals that may
be coming from conflict-ravaged African countries. And political pressures will increasingly influence how these minerals are sourced and used in products.
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