WHAT COULD BE DONE BY 3D PRINT­ERS

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY SPECIAL -

METAL PRINT­ING

Early this year, BAE Sys­tems, a de­fence com­pany in the US, used 3D printed metal parts in its RAF Tor­nado fighter. The pos­si­bil­i­ties of metal print­ing are enor­mous and with the low-cost 3D printer de­vel­oped by Michi­gan Tech­no­log­i­cal Univer­sity’s Joshua Pearce and his team, the tech­nol­ogy is now ac­ces­si­ble to the masses, too. The printer is built us­ing $1,500 worth of ma­te­rial, much less than commercial metal print­ers which cost over half a mil­lion dol­lars

FOOD PRINT­ING

Food print­ers are time­sav­ing de­vices that could be­come as ubiq­ui­tous in kitchens as the microwave oven. One such printer is Foo­d­ini which can print in­di­vid­ual ravi­oli in­stead of the cook hav­ing to knead the dough and fill and as­sem­ble each piece. The printer is at the pro­to­type stage and dif­fers from other food print­ers as it does not work only on pre-filled food cap­sules.

Che­fJet is an­other food printer which can be used by pro­fes­sional bak­ers and res­tau­ra­teurs to make coloured con­fec­tions.

Frack­tal, a start-up launched by the Ma­ni­pal In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, is also work­ing on print­ing food items such as birth­day cakes

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