Archive for November, 2012
Over the last two decades 3D printing has evolved from an innovative concept to a soon-to-be staple on both small and large scales. In the years to come, as these 3D printers develop further, our homes, cars and offices may be equipped with a 3D printer. We may even be able to print our own medication. Today, there are a variety of products being created by 3D printers, such as eyeglasses and furniture.
At this point, 3D printing is used primarily for rapid prototyping. This means parts for cars, for instance, are being designed on a computer and printed by a 3D printer to serve as a prototype for the actual car parts, which are then manufactured in more traditional ways. Many experts compare the current status of 3D printing to the development of Apple computers when they were still being produced in Steve Jobs’ garage. In that context, it feels a bit like standing on the edge of an entirely new way of life.
Here is how 3D printing works: Cartridges hold a mixture of substances, often polymer, plastics and metals, rather than the ink or toner of a traditional printer. Extremely thin layers are printed on top of each other and mold together as they harden. The printhead moves upwards as the object is created. Basically, 2D slices are cut and stacked to make a 3D object. Just about any object can be designed using specialty computer software, and that design is sent to the printer. This will not only allow for more options as far as customization, but also overcomes the limitations that come with non-digitized designs.
Click here for a list of 3D printers and manufacturers – both for personal and industrial use.
Desktop 3D printers are on course to be perfected and on the market for only a few hundred dollars in the next 3 or 4 years. What does this mean? Imagine this: Homecoming is this weekend and your daughter has the perfect dress, the perfect jewelry, and even the perfect date. The only thing she is missing is the perfect pair of shoes. If you have a 3D printer, your daughter can use the internet to design every inch of the shoes she wants. You can get the material, and send the design to your printer. In hours, those one-of-a-kind shoes could be sitting on your desk.
Can’t afford to have a 3D printer in your home? No worries. As this type of self-sustaining production grows in popularity, expect to see specialty shops where you can either go to print your designed product or email your design and pick up the product at a later date. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Watch this video to get a visual concept of 3D printing technology and the interesting things that can be created:
Ink has been used for centuries to create art, define law, document history and customize homes. From the early days of making ink from ground plants and minerals to the first fountain ink pen all the way to inkjet printers, ink has developed into something we use every day. The use of printer ink, especially, is present everywhere- the pictures hanging on the walls, the books collected on the shelves, the labels on medicine bottles and produce.
At Ink Technologies, we work exclusively with printer ink manufacturers that believe in the same high quality standard as we do. We take pride in our compatible and remanufactured ink products and strive to provide only the best. We also know how important it is to understand the history of ink and to prepare for the future of ink.
Share this infographic!
Did you know there is printer ink available that is edible? The concept of edible ink may seem unusual, but chances are you have seen it (and maybe even eaten it) before. Have you ever been to a kid’s birthday party that had a cake with a picture of Buzz Lightyear on it? Though cake designers are talented artists, many of the incredible images you see on these cakes are not intricately drawn on by hand with a bag of icing, but are actually printed with edible ink.
Weddings are another perfect occasion for edible ink. Images on cakes are not limited to cartoon characters and clipart. Photographs can be scanned and turned into cake decorations. The images can be shrunk down and put on smaller treats too, like little cupcakes or cookies.
So how does it work?
Edible ink comes in cartridges, which are installed into the inkjet printer, just like standard inkjet cartridges. Laser printers are not yet able to print edible images because they require powder toner and a fuser. It is strongly recommended to have a printer used exclusively for edible printing, as using a machine that has previously had standard ink installed could be toxic. If you cannot purchase a printer specifically for printing edible images, make sure you clean your inkjet printer very thoroughly.
Frosting sheets or rice paper can be fed through just like plain paper. The art or image will print on the edible paper with vivid colors and accurate detail. That edible paper must then be applied to the top of the tasty treat, which can be adhered using icing or a spray. Be sure to be gentle when applying the paper to the cake and tap lightly to get rid of any air bubbles.
This is not the only use for edible ink, though. In Chicago, a chef created an innovative way to use the edible ink in his restaurant. First of all, instead of using the edible ink cartridges that can be purchased from various manufacturers, this chef created his own liquid ink using fruit and vegetables. The edible paper he used was made from potato starch and soybeans. He would print his menus using these ingredients. His idea was to allow diners to break off pieces of the menu to flavor the soups, but his eventual goal was much bigger, according to Wikinews.org: “Just imagine going through a magazine and looking at an ad for pizza. You wonder what it tastes like, so you rip a page out and eat it.”
Edible ink cartridges can be purchased from a number of small vendors as well as a few major vendors, such as Amazon.com. Most major manufacturers produce edible ink, including HP, Canon and Epson. There are a number of inkjet printers on the market that support edible printing, such as the Canon ip3600, which is recommended by edible ink specialty stores. For other models, you should consult your manual or contact customer service to find out if your machine is able to print with edible ink.
The majority of people in the world will never have a need to use this fun and unique technology. However, if you are running a cake shop, changing the face of restaurant menus, or simply looking for a way to make your kid’s birthday extra special, all it takes is an inkjet printer and some edible ink to create something very unique and memorable.