skull plate printed in 3D metal
The technologies of 3D printing are fascinating. They may someday let us order up the things we need and print them out at the neighbourhood 3DKinkos instead of needing transport and inventory and bricks and mortar stores.
Until now we have only shown plastics, but we learn from Ponoko about technology for solid 3D printing in metal.
It is from Swedish company Arcam and it is called Electron Beam Melting, or EBM.
During the EBM process, the electron beam melts metal powder in a layer-by-layer process to build the physical part. The Arcam EBM machines use a powder bed configuration and are capable of producing multiple parts in the same build.
So if you live miles from the nearest Georg Jensen but want some beautiful silverware design from the fifties, you can just order it up and print it out. Right now the technology is used for more esoteric things like artificial knees, but it won't be long....
More at Ponoko
More on 3D Printing in TreeHugger
Downloading Designs: Build Your Own 3D Printer
Downloading Designs: Home 3D Printing Coming Soon
3D Printers Now as Cheap As Laser Printers Were in 1985
Reduced Carbon Footprint Souvenirs: A Whole New Way to Give Gifts
More on Ponoko in TreeHugger:
Ponoko Brings On-Demand Design to the U.S.
Ponoko Online Furniture Manufacturing: If You Dream It, They Can Build It
Reviewed: 2D Design to 3D Product Process at Ponoko
Absolut Downloads: It Is Already Happening at Ponoko
This is Your Brain on Mass Customization