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September 24, 2012

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China's own 3D printer due

A DOMESTICALLY developed 3D printer for industrial use is in the works, while a personal 3D printer is also expected to be available to Chinese families in two or three years to make real models from designs on a computer, scientists told a forum on intelligent manufacturing in the city over the weekend.

Lu Bingheng, a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, said China should step up research on sensor and process optimization software. There is keen global competition and the 3D printer is a widely sought component of intelligent manufacturing equipment.

Printing with 3D equipment makes three-dimensional solid objects from a digital model by laying down successive layers of material, which are usually powdered metal and plastic.

"Compared with traditional printing, the 3D printer saves much time and manpower," Lu said. "It can make any shape that people imagine and create and put it into reality. By introducing a low-cost 3D printer to families, people, especially children, can do design on a computer and print a real model. This can greatly stimulate children's interest in designing."

In addition, he encouraged local scientists to step up research on 3D printing for use in medicine.


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