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3D Printing Goes Mainstream


As 2013 kicks off and the outpouring of CES news slows, you might guess that the most talked about technologies of the year are tablets, apps, and ultra-HD TVs. But it turns out that 3D printing may step into the spotlight as additive manufacturing news spreads from tech publications and blogs into the mainstream media.

This news comes following Nokia's announcement to release a public kit of documents, templates, recommended materials and best practices for 3D printing a case for its Lumia 820 smartphone. While we've seen users take it upon themselves to 3D print custom iPhone case designs via additive manufacturing companies such as Shapeways, this could represent a breakthrough for the technology.

Shortly following Nokia's announcement of its 3D printing development kit (3DK), media giant BBC reported the story, putting two major names behind the technology that suggest to growing momentum to manufacturers and the public alike.

Although Nokia and BBC might be big names, they don't hold a candle to the scale of another recent additive manufacturing story, in which one architect in the Netherlands has declared his plans to 3D print an entire building. The buildings, which resemble giant mobius strips, my be the first of their kind to be viewed on the horizon, as they are the first project of this type to declare a deadline.

Janjaap Ruijssenaars, the architect in question is collaborating with additive manufacturing expert Enrico Dini in order to 3D print a “marble like material” using sand and a binding agent. The result will be stronger than cement.

BBC News has also picked up on this story.

In his BBC interview, Ruijssenaars remarked, “For me as an architect [3D printing] has been a nice way to construct this specific design – it has no beginning and no end and with the 3D printer we can make it look like that.”

While the first building is slated to be in position by 2014, Ruijssenaars hopes to construct one such “landscape house” per country. By that time, perhaps 3D printers will not only be a household topic of conversation, but also a household item.

Full story at Augmented Tomorrow

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