Written By Peter Sayer Via PC World
If Canon were to use its prototype 3D printer to print components for production models, Rep-Rap style, customers might see it a little faster.
Canon claims, after all, that its new 3D printing technology will be good enough for rapid manufacturing, in addition to the rapid prototyping for which many businesses already use 3D printing.
However, while the company showed off samples printed with the prototype at Canon Expo, an event for its customers in Paris this week, the machine itself was a no-show. It's still somewhere in Japan, staff said, and is probably at least two years from commercialization.
Although it doesn't yet make its own 3D printers, Canon already sells them: Two years ago it began reselling models from 3D Systems in Japan, entering the European market in February this year.
3D Systems holds key patents on a number of printing technologies. The most familiar of those technologies, and the one most commonly used in hobbyist printers, is fused deposition printing, in which a thermoplastic material is heated until it melts and then piped like cake icing, layer on top of layer, until the model is complete. Some of the 3D Systems printers Canon sells for rapid prototyping work in this way.