Sunday, November 14, 2010
New printer produces 3D objects on demand
American Z Corporation now has several models of 3D printers that produce physical prototypes quickly, easily, and inexpensively from computer-aided design (CAD) and other digital data.
In the same way that conventional desktop printers provide computer users with a paper output of their documents, Z Corp.'s 3D printers provide 3D CAD users a physical prototype of real world objects such as a mobile phone, an engine manifold, or a camera.
The process operates in a remarkably similar fashion to the ink-jet printer, building layer upon layer of powder and a bonding agent which creates the object, and it can even be done in full colour.
Though only available for a short time, the machines have already found their way into the world's best known R&D studios - Sony, Fisher-Price, Adidas, Canon, Kodak, NASA, Harley Davidson, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BMW, Porsche, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Harvard, MIT and Yale.At the bottom end of the market, the most recent entry-level rapid prototyping system from Zcorp sells for around US$25,000 providing customers with an all-purpose solution for their modeling needs.
Z Corp.'s revolutionary ZCast technology addresses the needs of the metal casting industry and end users who seek to rapidly produce metal prototype parts. The ZCast technology involves printing metal casting molds directly from digital data. The process drastically reduces the time it takes to produce a casting from weeks to days. In addition to the ZCast process, the Z Corp. technology can be used to create patterns for the sand casting or investment casting of metal parts.