Thursday, April 17, 2014

Revolutionary 3-D Printers! “Will We All Have One at Home?” Michigan Computer Supplies Weighs In!

You’ve probably seen it in Star Trek or another science-fiction movie – a piece of equipment that can reproduce or clone an object with just the touch of a button.  You may think it will be hundreds of years before we can achieve that technology.  Well, we’re here to tell you that if you haven’t yet heard of 3-D printing, prepare to have your mind blown! 

3-D printers use plastic, metal, or other materials, such as paper, to build layers upon layers to create 3-D objects.  The technology has been developing for almost thirty years and is currently exploding into many industries: medical, manufacturing, architecture, fashion, aeronautics, food, toys, and more.

It’s gaining ground in the medical field.  In fact, a news story from March 2014 lauded the efforts of Dr. Glenn Green and Scott Hollister, a biomedical engineer, both with the University of Michigan.  They teamed up to create a device that holds open an infant’s windpipe to help him breathe. The device used was 3-D printed with a polymer that is gentle on the body and dissolves within two to three years.  Scientists are using 3-D printing to build more body parts including noses, ears, blood vessels, skin, organs, and more. 

Last fall, the first 3-D printed, fully-functional, metal gun made news and caused a big stir.  Several Lawmakers proposed that the government may need to control public purchase of 3-D printers.  Highly skilled engineers designed the gun and created it with a 3-D printer typically used for manufacturing aerospace equipment and medical devices.   A similar working gun would be extremely difficult to make with a consumer grade 3-D printer

Something sweet is also coming from 3-D printers.  Manufacturers are using 3-D printers that extrude chocolate and sugar into intricately shaped candy.  Picture an edible cake topper or custom designed chocolates that resemble the guest-of-honor at your next party! 

Do you need to find a gift for that “hard to buy for” person?  Everyone loves to see themselves in photos, but how about their image on a doll or action figure?  At just $69.99 + taxes and shipping, you can upload a photo of someone and cubify.com will send you a realistic a mini figurine with their face!  In addition, cubify.com shows examples of creating jewelry, home decorations, shoes, and more.  You may not need your own 3-D printer because the service may be available soon from the company Mcor Technologies, who is teaming up with Staples to develop an in-store printing service.  Mcor Technologies uses a paper-based process to create photo-realistic colored objects.

We may not yet carry 3-D printers, but we are the place to call when you need a friendly, knowledgeable person to repair your printer in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter and the surrounding areas.  We’re also happy to get you a price on replacing your existing printer, computer, and peripherals.  We may be small, but we’re pretty competitive with the big box stores.  Contact us today!  Call us at 734-213-5400
and we can discuss meeting all your computer supply needs.

By the way, if you have a few extra thousand dollars to spend, you can purchase your own 3-D printer!  Watch Christopher Barnatt, the futurist, and voice of explainingthefuture.com share a breakdown of his choices for the “Top 10 Consumer Grade 3-D Printers.” 

So, with 3-D printing gaining popularity, what’s on the horizon now?  Teleporting?  It sure would make the commute to work go a lot faster!


Resources:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/03/17/289042381/doctors-use-3-d-printing-to-help-a-baby-breathe

http://techland.time.com/2013/05/23/an-airway-created-with-a-3d-printer-saved-this-babys-life/

http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/at-work/innovation/ces-2014-trends-the-3-d-printing-industry-is-poised-to-explode

http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/robotics/industrial-robots/first-3dprinted-metal-gun-shows-tech-maturity

http://www.shapeways.com/miniatures/figurines?li=category-miniatures-memorabilia


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