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What 3D printing really offers artists and designers

Neil Bennett | Oct. 14, 2013
3D printing guru Professor Richard Hague discusses what the real possibilities for makers are – and what he's researching for the future.

We interview 3D printing guru Professor Richard Hague at the launch of the Science Museum's new exhibition, 3D: Printing the Future.

If you believe the hype, everyone will have a 3D printer in their home soon for churning out everything from new spoons to replacement parts for their washing machine. However, the real possibilities are for artists and designers to produce their own limited-edition projects for sale (or as prototypes), creating objects from designer toys to jewellery.

To cut through the hyperbole and nonsense around 3D printing, we interviewed Professor Richard Hague from the University of Nottingham - one of the UK's leading researchers into 3D printing as part of the University's Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group.

You can watch the video from the launch of the 3D: Printing the Future exhibition at the Science Museum in London, above. Please note that additive manufacturing is the technical name for 3D printing - and is often how Richard described it.

Richard also details what his team's working on currently, including a 3D-printed concept model of a fully functional prosthetic hand created from multiple materials . It's a level of complexity beyond previous 3D-printed medical projects.

While project such as Magic Arms - which is also in show at the exhibition - are truly amazing, they generally use single materials. Richard's prototype aims to introduce multiple materials including electricity-conducting materials to produce objects capable of being powered.

magic arms

Richard also discusses the wider implications of 3D printing, and if this will help the UK re-establish itself as a manufacturing base (instead of outsourcing everything to Asia).

3D: Printing the Future is at the Science Museum's Antenna Gallery - the one at the back on the ground floor, behind the V2 rocket, to you and me - until January 7 2014.

 

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