3-D printing makes waves
ONE of the big, buzz-worthy items in tech is the 3-D printer.
The latest in the news is Singapore firm Pirate3D's Buccaneer, which may be the world's most affordable 3-D printer. The company is raising cash for the production of the printer, which it aims to market by December for just US$347 (S$440), according to its website.
And at the Beijing International High-tech Expo, which ended last Sunday, a whole hall was devoted to displays of 3-D printing. It turned out to be one of the most popular exhibition areas in the annual event, which saw more than 2,000 exhibitors from high-tech enterprises, research institutes and universities.
Mr Randy Sarafan, technology editor at Instructables, a website for sharing do-it-yourself projects, told the Daily Herald in a recent article on 3-D printing that the technology is "mind-blowing. And the technology is adapting, changing and growing so fast".
Desktop 3-D printers can make figurines, plastic rings, small gears and parts, and even records that actually play music.
Artist Joshua Harker's visions for sculptures were realised only when 3-D printing came along.
Chicago-based Harker told the Herald that he'd been wanting to develop his drawings into 3-D objects for a long time.
With 3-D printing, he said that "there are all these possibilities to get my head around. There's a lot of room to explore and it's still exciting for me".
The technology may even aid in space exploration.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) chief Charles Bolden said last Friday that "as Nasa ventures further into space...we'll need transformative technology to reduce cargo weight and volume".
He added: "In the future, perhaps astronauts will be able to print the tools or components they need while in space."