For those who dont know I will go briefly into 3D printers. When you toss around the word "3D" most people think images that appear to be jumping out of the page. But what 3D means is 3 Dimensions.
Length and width give us a 2D design. Add in depth and you have your 3rd dimension.
So what does a 3D printer do? Easy, it physically makes what ever you gave it the dimensions to make.
If you scan in a flute (see video here), a 3D printer will print out a exact copy of the flute.
Now that we have the basics of what a 3D printer does, how do we scan in the item that we want to print? Well if you have a iOS supported device such as an iPhone, iPad 2, or any of the latest generation of iPod touch devices the answer is simple. Download the app! For about $0.99 your device can replace 3D scanners that cost upwards of thousands of dollars.
Granted that the final product will only be a crude interpretation of the original, but if you are not looking to make a fully function turbine engine (and yes they are 3D printing engines) and only looking to have a little fun with your friends or make some stand out art, then this is a must have.
The app is called Trimensional. It was developed by a a research scientist (Grant Schindler) at Georgia Tech. The app will allow the device's screen to use light and capture the image from four different directions to create a 3 dimensional image as its end product. Schindler now offers an upgrade (a few dollars more) that will allow you to take the 3D image/data that you just created and send it over to a CAD program or 3D application to be printed out on a 3D printer.
There is no denying that 3D is coming on strong and even more so is the 3D printer. This technology will be around for a long time to come. Expect to see more advancements in this area to continue and have profound improvements on your lives.
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