3-Dimensional printing

3-Dimensional printing
Friday, June 28, 2013 - 9:04am

A new way to print things: in 3-D.

You may not want to run out and buy one just yet, but there's a new way to print things off your computer that offers a new dimension to the old technology.

They're popping up at shopping malls: kiosks that offer 3-dimensional prints of just about anything, from a child's drawing of a dinosaur or a photo of your favorite fishermen.

Compare that, though, to a 3-D rendering of a prototype ball bearing.

As it turns out, the business world's been using 3-d printing for quite a while.

"These are technologies that are 15-20 years old, that have been used in engineering, product development and industrial design," said Bill Watson of Duncan-Parnell Design.

Duncan-Parnell is an engineering design firm that has 3-D printers where the color cartridges are more than just ink.

Layers and layers of a Plaster of Paris type powder are essentially glued together in the 3-D form of familiar faces for a bobblehead doll or the ball bearing.

There's also 3-D printing with plastic, even of products that some people need to help them hear.

"Your hearing aid, chances are, was 3d printed," said Watson.

And Watson says consumer grade 3-d printers are gaining popularity.

"A thousand dollars can get you a home printer," said Watson.

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