What are the Nano to Micro-Scale 3D Printers and Their Applications?

What are the Nano to Micro-Scale 3D Printers and Their Applications?

What are the Nano to Micro-Scale 3D Printers and Their Applications?

Micrometer 3D Printers

  • Microtechnology

Microtechnology is a relatively new term that is nowadays used. Generally speaking, the term “Microtechnology” is simply a technology with features that are near 1 micrometer which is one-millionth of a meter. We all know that Microtechnology is widely used in electrical devices. Around the year 1970, scientists managed to improve the functionality and performance of electronic circuits while reducing their total cost and size by arraying large numbers of microscopic transistors on a single chip. This approach turned the electronic circuit into a microelectronic circuit. However, Microtechnology can also be used on mechanical devices which are called Micromechanical Devices.  Here are some examples of components and products created on a micro-scale:

  • Resistors
  • Sensors
  • Gears
  • Bearings
  • Turbines

 

  • Micro-Scale 3D-Printing

Microscale 3D printer

Microscale 3D printer

As its name suggests, micro-scale 3D printing is simply the printing of objects on a micro-scale. Therefore, in order to perform such a task, a 3D printer is necessary, however, not just any printer, a 3D printer that is precise and accurate enough to be able to manufacture things on a micro level. Micro-Scale 3D printers work similar to regular 3D printers; they manufacture object via additive manufacturing processes and require filaments (usually ABS Plastics).

  • Micro 3D Printing Applications

Creating parts that range from a few microns up to the millimeter scale can be extremely important and beneficial and without any doubt, 3D Micro-Printers can be used in a wide variety of applications such as:

  • Microfluidics: Using highly accurate 3D micro-printers, it is possible to create microfluidic elements such as capillary pumps, mixers, and most importantly filters.
  • Biomedical Engineering: Medical Instruments that are quite tiny can be manufactured thanks to 3D Micro-Printers.
  • Micro-machines: 3D micro-printing can easily manufacture micro-machines with a wide range of Printable materials. These micro-machines can be sensors, actuators or even micro-robots.

Nanometers 3D Printing

  • Nano Technology

Nano Technology

Nano Technology

Nano Technology is a science or technology that focuses on the study of extremely small objects and using them to create things at a Nano-scale (around 1 to 100 nanometers). Nano Technology can be used in a verity of scientific fields such as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, energy storage, and micro-fabrication.

  • Nano-Scale 3D Printing

Nano-Scale 3D printing

Nano-Scale 3D printing

Nano-printing is a method that enables engineers and scientists to print multiple molecules without damaging the existing layers. So how does it work? Using laser light and a liquid resin containing light-sensitive molecules, it is possible to create and manufacture objects with the size of a grain of sand. However, this is not the only way of printing Nano-scale objects. Tiny Metallic structures can also be manufactured by adding a layer of ice on the metal film layer. Then the final shape is cut out of the ice layer using an electron beam. Nano-scale printing is widely used in the manufacturing of biochips.

  • Nano 3D Printing Applications

Nano 3D printing can be used in a wide range of applications such as:

  • Delivery systems: Nano-Scale 3D printing can be used in the manufacturing and creating of tiny medical devices such as nanoscopic fish-shaped objects that are used to perform toxic cleanup.
  • Tissue engineering: Nano-Scale printing can also be used to heal wounds and repair damaged tissues.
  • Car Components: Using such advanced technology, it is possible to manufacture tiny sensors and other electronic devices that can be embedded in smart cars. The implementation of micro-scale devices can lead to such sophisticated features as assisted driving technology and automated safety.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Micro to Nano-scale Technology

  • Advantages of Micro to Nano-Scale 3D Printers

Nano and micro-scale 3D printing are extremely important thanks to the many benefits and advantages it brings to our life. Here are some of the many good things micro to Nano-scale Printing has to offer:

  • Previously, many objects and devices were considered impossible to create because of their extremely small size. Such regular manufacturing processes as machining and even casting are not able to build such devices; however, thanks to Nano and Microtechnology, it is now possible to create small objects such as biochips, microelectronic circuits, and other devices.
  • Nano and Microtechnology can help us change the way we generate energy. For example, with the aid of 3D printers, it is possible to make solar panels more affordable thus making energy storage devices more efficient.
  • Creating tiny medical devices has made the medical field leap from one place to another. It is now possible to repair damaged tissues, performing surgeries at a faster rate with higher accuracy, and even healing damaged genes.

 

  • Drawbacks of Nano to Micro-Scale 3D Printers

Even though the Nano to Micro-scale 3D printers are helping the world become a better place, they still have their own share of disadvantages and setbacks including the followings:

  • Similar to any new technology, Nano and Micro-scale technology will make some drastic changes in the economic field which can easily cause many problems.
  • While 3D printers can be advantageous for certain fields, they can also be used for criminal acts such as spying and invading others’ privacy by creating small recording devices.

Conclusion

While Micro to Nano-Scale 3D printers are highly praised for their impressive performance and the many benefits they have offered to various fields and domains, this doesn’t mean that they are perfect because they still lack certain things. Yet, it is estimated that in the near future, 3D printers will not only be more accurate and reliable but they will also become more affordable.

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