Best of Office Weekly Roundup: Futuristic Printing

Z3 - WRU Banner (Article)

The fundamental function of printers has remained largely unchanged for the past 3+ decades. In recent years, we have seen printers gain some pretty fancy features such as wireless printing, facsimile, bulk document scanning, and, even more recently, 3D printing. In this week’s roundup, we’ll be looking at the different types of futuristic printing technology used to print on media that isn’t paper, to astonishing results.

Like alphabet cereal, but harder to do

Like alphabet cereal, but harder to do

Back in mid-2000, Japanese researchers found a way to write letters in bodies of water using water wave generators set up around a cylindrical tank of water. We can definitely see this technology being used someday by advertisers for people on cruise ships or maybe for people who have been lost at sea for a few months.

Beautiful from the inside out

Beautiful from the inside out

Creative blog theGRID has designed a concept printer that scans and prints; pretty straightforward, right? But what if the inside mechanics of the printer were displayed proudly for the user to see? That would make for an interesting decepticon-looking printer, wouldn’t it? We don’t know about you readers, but we’d buy this in a heartbeat (after reading reviews, because we’re picky shoppers).

Precision is the name of the game here

Precision is the name of the game here

CNC machines are the wave of the future of printing, and these are the machines of choice for companies like Apple, who use CNC machines to carve out the aluminum chassis of most of their products. While it’s not as personal as, say, a wood carver creating a work of art by hand, it is still pretty cool in its own respect.

CNC machines are the wave of the future of printing, and these are the machines of choice for companies like Apple, who use CNC machines to carve out the aluminum chassis of most of their products. While it’s not as personal as, say, a wood carver creating a work of art by hand, it is still pretty cool in its own respect.

First comes plasma, then comes light sabers

CNC machines aren’t just limited to one application; there are machines that use plasma to cut sheets of metal, which are then used for a variety of purposes. How does plasma work? By blowing gas at a high pressure through a nozzle and then igniting it with electricity. Mark our words: it won’t be long before we have light saber-wielding Jedis running around.

3D in the real world

3D in the real world

We’ve probably all seen and heard of 3D printers: you build a model using CAD (computer-aided drafting) software and then the 3D printer will produce it on a block of moldable material. We’re already seeing many applications for this, from cars completely made from 3D printers to artificial limbs and even internal organs!

All our electronics begin life somewhere

All our electronics begin life somewhere

Ever wonder what makes your computer and smartphone tick? Well, it all starts with a printed circuit board; a vital component of digital electronics that connects all the electronic components needed to perform predetermined electronic functions together. The machines that print out these circuit boards are one of the first steps in shaping the future of the digital world.

Some assembly required

Some assembly required

Self-Assembly Lab, Stratasys, and Autodesk have collaborated on the development of 4D printing, a method of 3D printing that is different from the 3D printing that we know, but with one important distinction: shape transformation. Using printers provided by Stratasys, users can print 3D shapes with layers that can be connected with each other. This relatively newer type of printing can find many useful applications in robotics.

Printing has come a long way from putting simple characters on blank paper and will continue to evolve beyond paper as we find new ways to work, play, and improve the quality of life of everyone around us.