Chemical Printer (via University of Glasgow & Nature Chemical)
As previously seen on element14, the popular file-sharing website thePirateBay.com announced they will start sharing physibles files, which are digital blueprints that can be used with 3D printers to print objects.
Now, physibles are being made for more than just simple tools or ornamental pieces. Chemist Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow, UK, has applied the concept of 3D printing to initiate chemical reactions. The reagents, substances or compounds using in a chemical reaction, are placed in a "3D-reactionware matrix," where the reactions can be chemically controlled. Not only can the chemicals be mixed to create new ones, but the chemistry equipment itself can also be printed. Software monitors all the reactions, while at the same time, constructing the device. Cronin emphasizes that his 3D chemical printer may become a tool that will become as invaluable to chemistry like test tubes and beakers.
These types of files have potential, but they will never become wide spread without a wide spread availability of 3D printers. These apparatuses usually cost from just under a thousand dollars and beyond, making it not an option for the typical struggling consumer. The company Solidoodle, started by MakerBot's former COO Samuel Cervantes, is about to change this.
Solidoodle 3D printer will start at $500, and the more expensive models range up to $600. The printer is able to produce parts as big as 6’’x 6’’x 6." The device has a durable steel frame capable of supporting 200 pounds. This rigidity aids in giving the Solidoodle a resolution of 84 dpi, great for most models (on the low side). The printer uses ABS and PLA filaments, an acrylic thermoset and a biodegradable polymer respectively, and it comes with downloadable open source software to create your own files but also supports STL files.
There is no reason to think that someone will not mod this affordable Solidoodle. Its incorporation into the chemical world is in the not-so-distant future. Certainly the future of 3D printing gets more promising and affordable yearly.
For those who do not know, the pantent for the LEGO brick has expired. Make your own to sell, today!