New 3D printer might bring Star Trek technology to the plant floor

As a young child watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” I was always fascinated by the replicators. For you non-Trekkies, replicators are devices that can produce anything you desire, from food to spare parts, using nothing but pure energy. While my sci-fi dreams have not come true just yet, a new 3D printer promises to produce smoother, more accurate prints without the use of filament. The University of California, Berkeley, has engineered a 3D printer that uses light rays to turn liquids into solids right before your eyes.

According to Jessica Miley for Interesting Engineering: "In a series of test prints, Taylor and his team made several small objects including a tiny replica of Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’. The printer can currently make objects up to four inches in diameter.

The printer's design was inspired by CT scans used by doctors to locate tumors, CT scans work by projecting X-rays into the body from all different angles. By analyzing the patterns of transmitted energy exposes the geometry of the object."

To learn more, read "Fascinating New 3D Printer Using Rays of Light Has the Potential to Change Product Design" from Interesting Engineering.