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Scientists develop light-based 'replicator'

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Susanc241

Star Trek has a lot to answer for! But amazing how so much technology Sci Fi writers in the past came up with that is now becoming fact.

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esoteric_toad

Resin based 3D printers have been using "light" for quite some time (lasers). 

Edited by esoteric_toad
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paperdyer

Hopefully this will work in a grand scale with modified polymers to make parts for equipment and people.

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Tatetopa
On 2/3/2019 at 5:25 AM, esoteric_toad said:

Resin based 3D printers have been using "light" for quite some time (lasers). 

True, stereolithography has been around for 30+ years.   That technique uses a laser (usually UV) and a sensitive resin to build up an object  one layer at a time on a platform in the resin tank that moves incrementally as each new layer is scanned.   In the aircraft industry we have been using rapid prototypes  made by this process to cast aluminum,  titanium, and steel aircraft components, some several feet in diameter. 

Depositing a layer at a time is a trait it has in common with 3D printing a process that deposits layers of monofilament resin to build a component.  In the last few years, high powered lasers have been able to print using this layer-at-a-time technique on aluminum, steel, and titanium powder.   The technique can make metal components with geometries that cannot be made with any other method.

This new technique seems to generate the entire piece  concurrently, which is different.  So far, it is limited to very small objects.

Calling it a replicator is a little bit optimistic.  Captain Picard wouldn't be amused if he asks for "Tea, Earl Grey" and gets a cup of plastic resin.

 

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