Category Archives: Printers

4 Amazing Things Created By 3D Printing

In 1984 3D printing was born, and after some incredible advances in 3D printing technology over the past twenty years, we’re now at a point where we’re beginning to see some impressive results.

I have put together a list of some of the craziest, most impressive and potentially world-changing 3D printed objects that have so far been created by this mind-blowing technology – which is still only in its infancy.

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1. Artificial blood vessels

Back in 2011 a research team at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany successfully overcome problems in tissue engineering when they printed working blood vessels.

There had been a number of research teams that tried to overcome the problems involved in providing artificial tissue with nutrients that need to arrive via capillary vessels, but these results from the German team are the most promising.

If creating working blood vessels wasn’t impressive enough, the technology could soon be used to help those patients on organ donation lists, and allow us to print fully working organs for transplant.

2. A gun

While an entire 3D printed gun hasn’t yet been made, technological advances have meant that certain parts of guns can be. Lower receivers, the parts of a gun that include the workings of the trigger and the magazine, have already been successfully printed and fitted by some 3D printing/gun enthusiasts – and it’s been causing quite a bit of controversy.

Should the technology improve to a point where additional gun parts can be manufactured (and the odds of that happening are pretty strong) then 3D printers could effectively kill a country’s gun control legislation, with individuals effectively able to create their own weapons at home – or at least, part of them.

3. A prosthetic jaw

In 2012 Belgium scientists created a 3D-printed jawbone for an 83-year-old woman after her jaw became badly infected. The standard 20-hour surgery required to reconstruct the jaw was deemed too dangerous considering the patients age, so something else had to be thought up…

While prosthetic jaws have been created before, the operation was the first ever to involve a 3D printed prosthetic. The prosthetic jaw was printed in layers from titanium powder before being covered in a ‘bioceramic’ coating.

4. Other 3D printers…

In 2007 RepRap Project (short for replicating rapid prototyper) – a company whose goal is to develop the world’s first self-replicating 3D printer – released Darwin, a 3D printer capable of printing almost all of its component parts.

RepRap Project hopes one day to be able to supply their 3D printers cheaply to people around the world, and to communities in need of materials normally associated with expensive industrial processes that they have no access to.

Exciting news for global development – these self-replicating 3D printer could well bring about a new industrial revolution in the 21st century.

This is an article by Rob Henry who is one of the directors at Ink Worldwide, which provides products like Epson, HP, Canon and Brother Ink and Toner throughout the UK. Rob has been with Ink Worldwide from the beginning and has played a major role in helping run and grow the company.

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Filed under 3D Printing, Guest Writers, Printers

Is This For Real? A Laser Printer For $38?

imageI don’t do much printing at home – the last time I can remember using my at-home inkjet printer was maybe two years ago. So, this past week, when I needed to do some fast printing – it was a no go. Drat!! No ink, dried up ink, plugged print nozzles – dumb move; should have followed through on the recommended – print a test page, or run the cleaning cycle occasionally.

Still, no big deal – a quick trip to Wal-Mart (doing my bit to support the Chinese economy), hand over $60+ for replacement cartridges, and I’d be back in business. That was the plan. A plan that soon underwent a major reversal. Walked into Wal-Mart for inkjet cartridges – walked out with a Laser printer.

But, not just any old Laser printer. A $38 Samsung ML-1670 laser printer (Toner cartridge included), capable of pushing out up to 17 pages a minute. Now I know that the cost of technology is a one way street – generally a downhill curve, but a Laser printer costing less than replacement cartridges for my 4 year old HP 4-in-1, had me considering that I had stepped into an alternative universe.

Once I’d gotten over the reverse “sticker shock”, I couldn’t help but compare this experience with the purchase of my first Laser printer back in 1992.

Flashback: 1992

Purchase – HP LaserJet 4

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Cost – $1,800 approximately – $2,761 in today’s dollars (The Inflation Calculator)

Output – eight pages per minute

Resolution – 600 DPI

RAM – 2 MB

Weight – 37 lbs.

Interface – Serial and Parallel

Toner replacement – $200+

Features – it printed (very well, actually).

The present:

Purchase – Samsung ML-1670 laser printer

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Cost – $38 (Wal-Mart Canada)

Output – 16 pages per minute for A4 paper, seventeen pages per minute for letter-sized.

Resolution – 1200 DPI

RAM – 8 MB

Weight – Featherweight (8.8 lbs.)

Interface – USB 2

Toner replacement – $48

Features

Anyweb Print – Lets you grab image sections of any web page and arrange them onto a clipboard. The simple drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to get exactly what you want, and nothing more.

Print Screen Button – Will instantly print your screen’s current contents at the push of a single button. Keep your finger on the Print Screen button for fast, efficient printing.

Given the reality of Moore’s Law, I expected that Laser printer prices would have shifted downward dramatically. Still, I couldn’t help but feel I was in a time warp – watching Moore’s Law operating at the speed of light. From $2,700 + (in today’s dollars) to $38, is nothing less than astonishing!

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Filed under Opinion, Point of View, Printers, Windows Tips and Tools