Cabe, that gave me a good laugh. I don't think 3D printing technology has yet arrived that can print at the molecular level :-). Regarding why do this, the main point is customizing the electronics to fit an individual's needs, such as the customized grip mentioned in the article.
Sounds like you've been reading Raymond Kurzweil's books, BrainiacV. I don't know if any of his predictions involve 3D printing, but the two of you seem to be on the same wavelength. He has written two books on living forever: "Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever and "Nine Steps to Living Well Forever." Kurzweil's a prolific inventor (notably, the Kurzweil reader) and, it should be mentioned, former Design News Engineer of the Year.
I'm looking forward to a bioprinted liver to replace my current transplant when it wears out in about 20 years. It would be nice to get off the expensive immunosuppressant drugs I have to take to prevent rejection.
But why stop with existing organs, why not make a few improvements while we are at it?
I find it interesting that they are talking about including 3D printers on space flights so they can make replacement parts. Would have come in handy for Apollo 13.
I thought robotics were going to be the future, right now it looks like 3D printing is going to be the transformative technology.
Cadman-LT, I agree. Its an awesome feeling to be able to think of a design and within several minutes see it materialize before your eyes. Neil Gershenfeld's vision of Fab Labs has definitely transformed into opportunities he could only imagine. The Manufacturing of the Future is alive and it fits nicely on a desktop.
I recall reading about conductive plastics many years ago, but it never occurred to me that they could be used in 3D printing applications. Ann, any idea if this could be used in high-production-volume applications?
I suppose one could build everything by the molecule. There have been several developments in the past few years that may lead to such a process.
However, I think at home printing of enclosures is a possibility. However, even the best 3D printing I have felt is not the same as molded plastics. In many cases the molded is far nicer in about every single way.
Like most people, who has the time/energy to print a game controller and assemble it. When one can be bought for cheaper than it costs to print one.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.