A 3D printer is a machine that can create three-dimensional objects from a digital file by building up layers of material. There are several 3D printing technologies, each with its object creation method. Some 3D printers use stereolithography (SLA), which uses a laser or other light source to cure a liquid resin into a solid object. Other 3D printers use fused deposition modeling (FDM), which extrudes melted plastic filament to create the object.
Regardless of the printing technology, the printer is a mechanical device that can be reused to create multiple objects.
According to assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley Hayden Taylor, “I think this is a route to being able to mass-customize objects even more, whether they are prosthetics or running shoes; the fact that you could take a metallic component or something from another manufacturing process and add on customizable geometry, I think that may change the way products are designed.”
According to a graduate student Hossein Heidari, “Our technique generates almost no material waste and the uncured material is 100 percent reusable.”
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