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3D Printing On a Microscopic Scale

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the small-details dept.

Printer 34

cylonlover writes "Three-dimensional printers are popping up everywhere these days. Some are small enough to fit in a briefcase and others are large enough to print houses, but scientists at the Vienna University of Technology are going for the microscopic. Earlier this year, the university built a 3D printer that uses lasers to operate on a tiny scale. Now they're refining the technique to enable precise placement of a selected molecule in a three-dimensional material. This process, called '3D-photografting,' can potentially be used to create a 'lab on a chip' or artificially grow living tissue."

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34 comments

But... (3, Funny)

JoeRobe (207552) | about 2 years ago | (#41215737)

How many 3D Libraries of Congress per cubic centimeter will it be able to print?

Re:But... (2)

forkazoo (138186) | about 2 years ago | (#41220253)

How many 3D Libraries of Congress per cubic centimeter will it be able to print?

Several fortnights worth.

StarTrek Replicator (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41215767)

Am I the only one that sees it?

Re:StarTrek Replicator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41215841)

Shut up you mostly bag of water. Shut the fuck up, WATER BAG!!!

Its "ugly bags of mostly water" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41218003)

Shut up you mostly bag of water.

That would be "ugly bag(s) of mostly water".

Were you having a problem translating from the original Klingon? :-)

Re:StarTrek Replicator (4, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41215875)

Am I the only one that sees it?

no. it's basic scifi material. universal constructor building would be a holy grail for manufacturing - for manufacturing _anything_. meanwhile, I just got my makerbot replicator last week. been having fun ever since.

it's still pretty rough around the edges, the sw(replicatorg) has some odd quirks(who am I kidding.. they're bugs.), configuring the slicer(the program that creates the paths for the print-end) is voodoo and I'm considering buying hairspray to better bond the prints to the build platform when building.

but it's fun and magical stuff - certainly first time in years that I've felt getting a piece of "new technology" that's just not refinement of something I've already had for years. it's like getting that first computer.

(oh and anyone uploading stuff to thingiverse.. print it before uploading.. lot's of the stuff there is no good for printing without changes!).

also, does anyone know a site that has the elite shipmodels? vrml mesh, stl(preferred), .obj, .3ds or any fucking format under the sun! I WANT THEM NOW!

Re:StarTrek Replicator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41216971)

I have a Thing-o-matic and while I've had fun with it, I feel a bit like it was oversold.

While Bre Pettis was making the rounds in the talk show circuit, the Makerbot store was out of stock of virtually everything for months.

Documentation beyond basic assembly doesn't adequately distinguish what is and isn't relevant to current models.

The conveyer belt, billed as a major feature of the product was worthless because it's implausible that the machine will make it through multiple prints without user intervention, plus it was never properly supported in software anyway.

They did a really great job selling the idea of the product, but their follow through is crummy.

Re:StarTrek Replicator (2)

whyloginwhysubscribe (993688) | about 2 years ago | (#41221441)

When it is refined, this is going to be such a disruptive technology that it is going to make DRM / Music piracy look like a very simple problem.

Re:StarTrek Replicator (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41216473)

No, the rest of us saw it years ago and have got all the references out of our system now.

Re:StarTrek Replicator (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#41221377)

Better a Star Trek replicator than a Stargate replicator.

Positive thing (1)

Haawkeye (2680377) | about 2 years ago | (#41215831)

Just think of all the possibilities. They will be able to make and invent all sorts of things for the benefit of all humanity.

Re:Positive thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41216129)

Or give us a whole new dimension of copyright legal battles.

Re:Positive thing (2)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 2 years ago | (#41216415)

print a BIG briefcase for the suitcase nuke you just printed.

Re:Positive thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41216479)

Why do that when you can print a few gold bars or jewelry or even drugs?
It will be the collapse of the basis of economy - both legal and illegal ones. About the only thing that still carries a value is the "ink" or raw material for the printer.

Re:Positive thing (2)

kaws (2589929) | about 2 years ago | (#41217055)

Don't know if trolling or if knowledge of basic chemistry lacking. Gold is an element meaning the only way to create it is to do some atomic modification which is not included in this package of 3D printing.

Re:Positive thing (1)

Wandering Idiot (563842) | about 2 years ago | (#41226909)

Land would still be pretty important, if you want to have any place to store all your snazzy printed items. And y'know, sleep.

Re:Positive thing (1)

True Vox (841523) | about 2 years ago | (#41228689)

Ah, but why store when you can recycle & reprint as needed? Sure, it's slow going NOW, but so were the first calculators...

knackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41215839)

Fuck off with all the 3D printing hype already.

Compare with Laser Two Photon Polymerisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41215903)

Commercial devices boast resolutions down to 140nm. e.g. www.nanoscribe.de

first internet porn and now printable dildos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41216255)

fucking xxx stores are really gotta hate technology

Re:first internet porn and now printable dildos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41218057)

fucking xxx stores are really gotta hate technology

So will the hospitals picking homemade junk out of people's ... uh ... trunk?

3d printing could be the end of capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41216521)

once you REALLY CAN "download a car" it's game over...except for the dudes making the printers. Sort of like how Google makes tons of money helping everybody pirate all of our creative classes output the 3d printer will let 3d printer makers get rich while putting everyone else out of business too!

Re:3d printing could be the end of capitalism (2)

kaws (2589929) | about 2 years ago | (#41217087)

That is until you can use a 3d printer that can make 3d printers. As for everything else, I think that it'll take a while for a general 3D printer to be able to accomplish what dedicated factories can do. Once you can print a car, it'll probably not be as efficient or as safe as a properly made car. I wouldn't be surprised if the government even tried to regulate such cars (goodluck to them).

Re:3d printing could be the end of capitalism (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41217149)

yeah, that's what people used to say about music production technology in the 90s "oh it'll be a long time until you can replace a whole studio with a laptop!" which was true if by long time you mean 10 years. sure, there are still a few studios around for recording drums or with specially treated vocal booths etc. but for a huge amount of music having to pay a high hourly rate to rent studio time and hire a recording engineer is a thing of the past.

Antisocial Usage (1)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | about 2 years ago | (#41216617)

Articles like this make me think we'll have the technology to print organic chemicals en-mass sooner rather than later. I'm not wanting to be an alarmist fear-monger, but some fanatic or other is bound to start printing nerve agents when the technology is available. Does this worry anybody else?

Re:Antisocial Usage (3, Interesting)

JoeRobe (207552) | about 2 years ago | (#41216951)

It will almost certainly be more economical to make something like a nerve agent using old fashioned chemistry. You can scale up a synthesis to bulk volumes much more easily than waiting for a printer to print out a bulk amount of product. Reaction rate (or reaction time) is independent of volume (ideally), whereas printing time will go linearly with volume.

Re:Antisocial Usage (4, Insightful)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about 2 years ago | (#41217185)

Your ARE late to the party. They (Professor Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow and a team of 45 researchers) had big stories about their work released in July of this year (2012).

But to answer your question: not really. It's called prioritizing potential threats. Getting killed driving to work is first (I drive a tiny, tiny sports car), Getting electrocuted or stabbed while at work (pneumatics and high voltage, baby!) Getting nailed by severe thunderstorms or tornadoes in "tornado alley". Being killed as a "domestic terrorist" (I'm prior military that enjoys my rights). Being killed by 3d printed poisons in a terrorist attack ranks lower down the list than even "frozen piss falling from overhead airliner".

Terrorists are people with a variety of skillsets and levels, just like anyone else. If they have the skills to print toxins, they have the skills to do a whole lot worse. High school kids can make explosives by the trashcan full, a real bio-chemical engineer could easily get creative enough to make highly addictive chemicals that are hypnotics and have embed-able dispensers that release only when they receive encrypted transmissions. Want to control a country? Addict and control the political, financial, religious, and military leaders. Screw messing with the weak sheep. That's simply a non-optimum diversion.

Re:Antisocial Usage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41220761)

...highly addictive chemicals that are hypnotics and have embed-able dispensers that release only when they receive encrypted transmissions. Want to control a country? Addict and control the political, financial, religious, and military leaders.

Somehow, reading that, I can't help thinking about how nobody can get elected in the US without professing belief in God...

Re:Antisocial Usage (2)

JoeRobe (207552) | about 2 years ago | (#41222149)

a real bio-chemical engineer could easily get creative enough to make highly addictive chemicals that are hypnotics and have embed-able dispensers that release only when they receive encrypted transmissions

Uh, reference please?

Being in the field of biophysics, I can say that even the most advanced bioengineering institutes in the world, with tens of millions of dollars in funding, are very, very far from realizing anything like this. Hypnotics aren't drugs that hypnotize and allow someone to control you - they sedate and calm you, but they are frequently highly addictive. If by embed-able dispensers you mean macro-molecular sized release capsules, we are very close to realizing them, but controlling them with an encrypted transmission is impossible. If you mean larger RFID-based release mechanisms, they exist, but good luck getting them into the victim's body, or establishing an addiction.

Re:Antisocial Usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41229407)

Oh dear I was so enjoying that and you spoiled it with your reality-talk! :-)

Re:Antisocial Usage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41217463)

We'll also have the ability to print sensors to warn of such things.

The ability for a small group of malcontents to do large-scale harm will continue to increase.

We can't stop scientific advances. Even if we tear down every school in America, people in other countries will continue to learn.

We just need to adapt to new dangers as they occur.

Editors, where is the story? (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | about 2 years ago | (#41219683)

Now they're refining the technique to enable precise placement of a selected molecule in a three-dimensional material. This process, called '3D-photografting,' can potentially be used to create a 'lab on a chip' or artificially grow living tissue."

All links in summary are to old stories, where is the link describing this new work that is so amazing?

Re:Editors, where is the story? (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | about 2 years ago | (#41219687)

Not that I was planning to read the story or anything crazy like that
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