Although 3D printing hasn't quite made it into our homes just yet the evolution of this technology knows no bounds. One of the newest advances in 3D printing is "Computational Hydrographic printing". Granted this is a mouthful to say, but the possibilities for 3D home printing in the future with this sort of technique is limitless, especially in the art and photography world where we could see an end to conventional picture frames.
Currently if you want a colour 3D printed model, the completed article will have a rough "sandstone" feel to the surface and the resolution quality on the 3D print wont be that great, that's if you can make it in colour at all. Hydrographic printing is a well known technique for transferring colour inks onto a thin film and then onto the surface of a 3D model. It enables a high quality of colour to be added to the surface of an object with a wide range of materials. Where this technique currently lacks is when complex geometric shapes come into play. The overall accuracy is not ideal, so its not very practical when you try to colour, say, a 3D globe or animal.
New Computational Hydrographic Printing
This new "computational" hydrographic printing technique uses the versatility of current hydrographic printing whilst allowing for precise and accurate alignment to surface textures and odd shapes. Have a watch of the video below.
The future of home printing?
There a couple of key things here for using this type of tech in the home, in the future. The fact that this uses a standard Epson inkjet printer is incredible and the advances this could make in the wall decor industry alone could be staggering. Image buying an image from your favourite artist online, downloading it, then printing a 3D picture frame template. You'd then print out your image in your Epson printer on some special PVA film, put it in your hydroprinter and out comes a printed frame. It could even embellish it for you to give original strokes and raised pseudo-painted surfaces.
A step closer to "Star Trek"
I'm not quite so sure were anywhere near replicators yet, but this is a step in that direction, and in your home now? No. However, in a future where prices have fallen and the technology has progressed who knows what impact this could have on the art and photography world.
For further information take a look at the publication associated with this technology. Hydrographic Information sheet.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.....