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3D Printing: Here to Stay or Just a Fad?

3D Printing: Here to Stay or Just a Fad?

You’ve probably heard all the rage in various media outlets: 3D printers and scanners will change the way we live, and each home will probably own at least one. Do you agree? I know I’ve seen a 3D printer in my local office store, but the images that were printed looked like melted plastic that was molded while hot and simply stuck together. And, most of us know about the 3D-printed gun debate.

Well, at GovSec Bill Watson, 3D Printing Division Manager, Anvil Prototype & Design – A Division of Duncan-Parnell, will help explain the truth to the headlines, teach how these technologies work and how these products can be used by security professionals.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at a few things you probably didn’t know 3D printers were capable of:

  • Printed buildings: Known as contour crafting, this technology is being considered by NASA for off-planet housing, since it uses cement for stability and it can automatically embed electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning conduits as well as place electronic sensors to monitor the building’s temperature and health.

  • Clothing: 3D printers allow clothing designers to design in the virtual world and then print them, making the sewing machine obsolete.
  • Circuit boards: This printer sprays out conductive links onto paper, fabrics, acrylic, plastics, etc., which means circuit boards can be flexible and worn on clothing. Plus, in 10-20 minutes, you can have a 2 in. x 2 in. board, ready to go.

  • Food: Food cartridges hold premixed ingredients and an extruder nozzle puts the ingredients on a plate for cooking. An example? Check out Natural Machines, a Barcelona-based company who started out printing chocolate, but has upgraded to printed ravioli, cheeseburgers and pizza.

  • Organs: Expected to premier this year is the world’s first printed organ, a human liver. Known as bio-printing, multiple layers of live cells are laid down to form human tissue. The biggest obstacle? Providing oxygen and nutrients so the organ will live.

  • Cars: 3D printing offers more than 100 types of materials, enabling auto manufacturers to print cars. Urbee, a hybrid car that recharges via solar power and can reach speeds of 68 mph, boasts a 3D-printed body.

Exciting times we live in, huh? What would you like to see printed with a 3D printer? 

Posted by Ginger Hill on Feb 25, 2014


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