A Salt Lake City 3D print firm released a new 3D printer that can be modified and adapted according to the user’s desires.
The print shop, Zeni Kinetic, looks like it came straight from a science fiction novel. Machines, computers and scanners line the back room, while a 3D printer whirs nearby, creating a detailed miniature model of an employee out of nothing but plastic.
Zeni Kinetic began by manufacturing its own plastic filament for 3D printers. However, the company always had the plan to invent their own printer. After two years of research and development, Zeni Kinetic released their printer, the Origin, on Kickstarter last month.
The Origin sets itself apart from other desktop 3-D printers because of its large, open design. It prints substantial pieces that users can easily access when completed.
Zeni Kinetic built the printer with experimentation in mind. The Origin, based on open-source framework, can be added to and upgraded depending on the user’s preference. Its adjustable design can adapt as 3-D print technology advances in the coming years.
“We wanted to get something out there that people could use and pass on to their kids or their grandkids,” said Zeni Kinetic President Nicco Macintyre. “You’re not confined to a box.”
The technology world has gushed over 3-D printing technology the last few years. 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, constructs an object by adding material in layers. After a person scans or designs an object, a computer sends the information to the printer, which handles the rest.
“You can create anything you want,” said Macintyre. “Anything you can possibly conceive of, you can manifest in this world in a matter of hours directly from your mind.”
The implications of 3-D printing are exciting. One day, people will use it for more than plastic objects. In theory, they will create things on a molecular level in the future, such as food or even bio-printed organs.
“This is going to change the way we live our lives more than the personal computer did,” Macintyre claimed.
Students should familiarize themselves with 3-D printing because the technology applies to many fields, according to Samantha Herzog, a UVU graduate employed at Zeni Kinetic.
“Everyone should be getting involved on some level because it’s essentially going to be the way we build our society,” Herzog said.
Several 3-D printers are available on campus to BYU students. Tyson James, a student who instructs 3-D printing at the HBLL, encourages students to utilize this technology.
“There is much more meaning and joy found by creating your own items,” James said. “I think it is essential for people to have 3-D printing experience.”