NCSU 3-D Printer Could Revolutionize Industry
Posted August 10, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Imagine being able to make three-dimensional objects using a laser printer.N.C. State Universityengineers are now building a prototype 3-D printer, and although there are obstacles to overcome, the machines could certainly come to market.
There are already machines that make small 3-D objects, like spare parts for machines. These machines are very expensive, but the NCSU engineers are trying to make the process much less expensive.
Using polymers and a computer-guided laser, the objects are built one layer at a time.
Dr. Denis Cormier, with NCSU'sDepartment of Industrial Engineering, and his partners are working with other engineers to develop a new, more stable form of polystyrene toner for their prototype machine.
Once in production, 3-D printers can save inventors, students and industrial engineers lots of time and money.
The NCSU machine could sell for around $3,000. If that sounds a little steep, consider that similar machines on today's market cost from $60,000 to $500,000.
NCSU has applied for a patent on the new technology.