The future of 3-D printing

Oct 16, 2013
The future of 3D printing

Experts in 3D printing at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham, have helped create a major new exhibition at London's Science Museum. One of the highlights of the 3D: Printing the Future exhibition is a 3D prosthetic arm, which shows how the technology could be used to print customised prosthetics with electronic moving parts and nerve endings, created by the research group at the University of Nottingham.

Among the 600-plus objects on display are a bladder, light aircraft part and 3D-printed pharmaceutical tablets, a collaboration between the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing, and the University's School of Pharmacy. Some of the printed tablets are bilayered, allowing two different drugs to be released at varying speeds according to individual patient need. There are also toys modelled on real people including a mini version of Evan Davis from BBC Radio Four. A key point is that products can be customised.

The technology is transforming design and manufacturing processes and the Museum, has produced eight myth-busting videos, to talk about the possibilities. Will the technology be used to make guns? Will everyone have a 3D printer?

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing uses digital data to print thin layers of material such as polymer or metal and then fuses them with lasers to make solid objects. The Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) at the University of Nottingham is recognised as the world's leading research centre in the field and is a sponsor and adviser to the exhibition, 3D: Printing the Future.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Professor Richard Hague, Professor of Innovative Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham said would help transform the industrial landscape, with more emphasis on smaller, localised manufacturing.

"At the moment, 3D printing uses single materials, a polymer or a metal, which are fused together with a laser. You can create interwoven geometries but they're still passive. What we're looking to do, is activate those and make them functionalise. So rather than make a component, you make the whole system—an example might be rather than print a case for a mobile phone, you make the whole phone—all the electronics, the case, the structural aspects, all in one print."

Explore further: Faradair team determined to make hybrid BEHA fly

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Giant 3-D printed bugs shed light on insect anatomy

Jun 19, 2013

Minute insects, from the Australian National Insect Collection, have been super sized by up to forty times using a novel 3D scanning system and printed using a state of the art 3D printer.

Researchers study ways to make stronger materials in 3-D

Sep 18, 2013

(Phys.org) —Aided by funding from NASA and using methods similar to 3-D printing, researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology are running computer simulations of processes that could lead ...

Crowd sourcing project to allow 3D scan-to-print web app

Aug 05, 2013

Technology to allow for printing three dimensional objects is evolving rapidly, making it difficult for some to keep up. It's also still relatively expensive. Currently, people who wish to print such an object ...

Recommended for you

Faradair team determined to make hybrid BEHA fly

20 hours ago

Aiming to transform their concept into a real success, the Faradair team behind a six-seat Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft (BEHA) have taken this hybrid aircraft project into a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. ...

How polymer banknotes were invented

Nov 26, 2014

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and CSIRO's 20-year "bank project" resulted in the introduction of the polymer banknote – the first ever of its kind, and the most secure form of currency in the world. ...

Enabling the hearing impaired to locate human speakers

Nov 26, 2014

New wireless microphones systems developed at EPFL should allow the hearing impaired to aurally identify, even with closed eyes, the location of the person speaking. This new technology will be used in classrooms ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.