By layering materials such as plastics, metals and rubbers, objects such as circuit boards could be created by the humble 3D Printer. This is enabled through the development of a technique for file standardization and by using substrate materials compatible with 3D printers. While 3D printers won’t have the ability to develop the microprocessor itself, printing company Ponoko predicts that the 3D printing of replicas of resistors and capacitors could be a reality within the next two years.
This layering technique, known as “additive printing” has already proven useful in the manufacturing of product prototypes for objects such as motorcycles and shock absorbers, meaning greater efficiency for a number of industries such as auto, nautical and aerospace. This technology will create an ease in supply-chain practices enabling companies to distribute and modify product prototypes in offices all around the world. It is also paving the way for an increase in the development of customized products such as musical instruments and prosthetic limbs, developed by the consumers themselves.
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