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Printer Science

New Technology Could Lead To 3D Printers 62

nomoreself writes "PhysicsWeb reports that a team of scientists in Jerusalem has come up with a method for creating self-assembling 3-dimensional models from a single sheet of paper. The 'chemical origami' is created by etching a pattern of monomer onto the paper and then heating it. The chemical's reaction to the heat causes bends of varying degree in the paper, molding the sheet into the patterned model. A professor in the US with no apparent ties to the study says in the article that the technique could be used to create self-assembling prototypes, or even a printer that prints 3D objects."
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New Technology Could Lead To 3D Printers

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  • Excellent! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mstahl ( 701501 ) <marrrrrk AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 24, 2007 @02:43PM (#18135330) Homepage Journal
    This'll really help me finish the rest of these 10,000 paper cranes!
  • porn? (Score:5, Funny)

    by binarybum ( 468664 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @02:49PM (#18135384) Homepage
    thought this might be good for porn - then started thinking about paper cuts.
  • by CasulPoster ( 705596 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @02:54PM (#18135406)
    Geez Slashdot, get with the times. I saw my first 3d printer (that prints solid objects, not paper) prototype 5 years ago. My housemate's architect boyfriend brought home a bunch of 3D models he printed out at work in their model shop.
  • Bah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cheviot ( 248921 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @02:56PM (#18135418)
    My printer is already 3 dimensional.
  • Thus, not much chance to evaluate the technical limitations of such chemical bending of paper.

    In fact, here's the complete text of the article, since it's so short:

    I'd definitely call this a paper bending toolset, rather than a paper folding toolset - fine distinction perhaps, but it doesn't sound as if you'd achieve the creased edges one would expect out of origami, but rather the bent edges of a wet piece of paper drying into a shape. I wonder what the real ranges of movement that are possible with such

    • I really should use the preview button when attempting to use blockquote.

      Ryan Fenton
    • Ah, the pictures there do actually help.

      Ayup. Thanks for posting that. Could not wrap my head around what the 'printout' would look like from TFA.

      Would be a cool way of making realistic looking ashtrays out of thick wads of flashpaper, provided the flashpaper + chemicals didn't fuck up a 2 million dollar printer.

      If it's someone else's, fuck the printer. I wanna see what happens.
      • Just put some nitrogen triiodide into the ashtrays. It looks like ashes, but behaves quite differently when touched.
  • But can It print with UV light, then be erased at will?
  • Office parties (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hack slash ( 1064002 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @03:15PM (#18135560)
    They could be somewhat more fun if the photocopier were to print out 3D pictures of the secretary's arse, in full colour.
    • They could be somewhat more fun if the photocopier were to print out 3D pictures of the secretary's arse, in full colour.

      It loses its luster when it says PC Load Letter [] about 200 times before completion.
      • Oh dear god, you'd need an industrial photocopier to cope with that...

        P.S. I believe you have my stapler
    • But due to an error you get a copy of the previous photocopy which was stuck in the system.
      ... and it is of the butt of the hairy intern, you know, the one that never baths.
      ... furthermore the odor function breaks downs on that print, and the smell is increased 100 fold.
      ... just as the boss walks into the room, along with your family and a live TV crew to surprise you as a contestant on a new reality show.
      ... and as you try to cover up what is going on, your belt snaps and your pants drop down. Leaving
  • Spore (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bwana Geek ( 1033040 )
    If you've ever seen any of the figurines that they've been churning out for Spore, those are done with an in-house 3D printer. They sometimes send figures to people of the creatures they designed in the Creature Editor at their trade show appearances.
    • Can someone mod this guy up? He got smacked with some flamebait and trolls on some "funny" posts. He could use a karma bump.

  • by Stephen Tennant ( 936097 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @03:23PM (#18135606) Journal
    "the technique could be used to create ... a printer that prints 3D objects."

    3D object printed becomes 3D printer for infinite recursiveness! If these printers came with automatic paper feed, then the world will be finished in weeks, hundreds of self replicating 3D printers converting the Earth into an infinite series of... 3D printers!

    It's like Skynet and grey goo all rolled into one

  • by ukatoton ( 999756 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @03:24PM (#18135610)
    Is for these printers to be able to print printers that can print printers themselves. Once we have recursive printers, I'll be happy.
  • by Assassin bug ( 835070 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @03:33PM (#18135694) Journal
    N-isopropylacrylamide [] is the main compound here. Anyone who has run an acrylamide gel [] knows that this stuff (and its derivatives) can be very dangerous [] (note the NFPA label)!
  • 3d printing is going to really breath life into tabletop gaming!

    Think about the hassle of maintaing a Warhammer 40,000 army, versus just printing out the pieces you need when you need them, then recycling them into the "toner cartridge" when you're done.
    • What they're doing is basicly 3d model UV mapping!!! When they mentioned how hard it was to map a 3d ink to a 2d surface the first thing I thought was looking at those streached and twisted quake3 character model textures... It would be like making little shrinky-dink models... sounds like fun!!
  • Finally 3d printers! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by logicnazi ( 169418 ) <logicnazi AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 24, 2007 @04:11PM (#18135876) Homepage
    Oh wait we already have those.

    Despite the bad description of why this is important it actually is pretty interesting. This sort of approach is much more efficient for creating 2d sheets with varied 3d geometry than traditional 3d printing which would have to build them up layer by layer and might not even have sufficient structural stability to make the object if it's too bendy.

    What would really make this technique useful is if there was some way to combine it with more traditional 3d printing technologies. For instance if you could start with a nice curved surface like this and add layers that would be really cool. However, there are such serious problems with doing this that I think it is unlikely.

    Frankly, while interesting I suspect this is just a sidelight in the development of 3d printing technology. What I want to know is why it is taking so long. When will we all have our own 3d printers? When can we shut down those vast numbers of assembly lines that make nothing but strangely shaped 3d objects?
    • To be clear I don't mean this technology will not have any useful applications. Rather it is more like those clear TFTs that have found use in plasma TVs. Useful in some areas but a sideline to the development of the computer industry or in this case the 3d printer industry.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )
      not even have sufficient structural stability to make the object if it's too bendy.

      Something tells me that "bendy" is not a mathematical term.
    • The "classic" 3d printers are cool for small models - no matter what you print they come out like unpainted minatures. They are really sweet for fabricating prototypes of shapes that are "hard" to make - 3d curves. They are useless for structural strength or the type of shapes that are "easy" to make.

      This device looks like it can do the "easy" sructures, ie ones that fold out of a planar surface. It's another piece of the jigsaw, and I agree with you that the combination of the two technologies will become
  • This article loses a lot of it's emphasis with out a sample for us to look at.
  • 3d printers could lead to completely unmanageable documents.
  • here: 5 _1116_F4_122_14lo.jpeg []

    Also, it's not exactly "paper" they're printing on:

    "We used N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPA) gels to construct sheets with inducible non-Euclidean gtar. The gels are produced by mixing NIPA monomers with bisacrylamide (BIS) (6% by weight of NIPA) cross-linker in water. The addition of catalysts initiates polymerization of a cross-linked elastic hydrogel [Supporting Online Material (SOM) text]. This gel undergoes a sharp, reversi

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982