3d printing

3d printing

'Multifab' 3D prints a record 10 materials at once, no assembly required

6h ago
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3D printing is great, assuming that all you need to do is print one material for one purpose, and that you're okay with it taking a few tries. But the technology is still far behind where it could be in reliably producing a variety of useful objects, with no assembly required, at a cost that doesn't make you want to poke your eyes out with a 3D-printed fork. In recent years companies have been working to tackle some of these challenges with "multi-material" 3D printers that can fabricate many different functional items. Such printers, however, have traditionally been limited to three materials at a time, cost as much as $250,000 each, and still require a fair amount of human intervention. But this week researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) say that they've found a way to make a better, cheaper, more user-friendly printer. In a paper accepted at the SIGGRAPH computer-graphics conference, a CSAIL team presented a 3D printer that can print an unprecedented 10 different materials at once by using 3D-scanning techniques that save the user time, energy and money. Delivering resolution at the level of 40 microns, or less than half the width of a human hair, the "MultiFab" system is the first 3D printer to use 3D-scanning techniques from machine-vision, which offers two key advantages over traditional 3D printing. First, MultiFab can self-calibrate and self-correct, freeing users from having to do the fine-tuning themselves. For each layer of the design, the system's feedback loop 3D-scans and detects errors and then generates so-called "correction masks." This approach allows the use of inexpensive hardware while ensuring print accuracy. http://phys.org/news/2015-08-multifab-3d-prints-materials-required-video.html