Another Printer

Sami was thrilled by the 3D printer. Who would have imagined that a new store in Lucerne – till so recently the General Store, and now AMP co. – could contain such a wonder. When Alfred Choo had asked him what they should create using the prototype, Sami had said, “Another printer.”

Alfred stopped to consider this and said, “Neat idea, I was going to build another one from scratch, but we’ve got one already so why not put it to good use? Create a new cycle of life.”

Sami examined the machine, which looked like a large photocopier with extra wires and cogs and levers. He wanted to touch it but didn’t. It could be dangerous. “How does it work?” he asked.

“In the same way that there are inkjets, bubblejets, and mono and colour laser jets for 2D printing, there are also many technologies for 3D printing. I studied them all but found them wanting. I developed a new theory during my engineering project at university but kept it quiet. If I’d have told them they would have claimed ownership. So I dropped out of college and developed the technology myself.”

There’s more to this guy than meets the eye, thought Sami, and he wants to keep things quiet. Maybe I should stop asking questions.

Alfred however seemed comfortable with Sami being there. He continued, “I looked at Selective Laser Sintering – using carbon dioxide lasers to fuse powders in layers, slowly building up objects. Also Fused Deposition Modelling, where you unwind a filament or wire from a coil, extrude it through a nozzle, heat the material to set it. And Stereolithography – focusing a concentrated beam of UV light into a vat of liquid polymer, and cross-linking layers to create a solid.

Fancy stuff, thought Sami. Very complicated indeed.

“I also tried DMLS, LOM, EBM, plaster based printing, and Holographic Reproduction, but they all held complications and limitations. So I integrated all these methods into a new one that can fabricate objects from almost any material, including plastic, metal, ceramic, glass and wood powders.”

“Can you really make anything with it?” asked Sami.

“Yes, with the right materials.”

Sami was nervous, but decided to ask anyway. “What if you added organic matter? Things like calcium for bones and iron for blood?”

Alfred was quiet for a moment, and then turned to face the 3D printer. “Let’s do what you suggested earlier – make another printer. It should be easy. I’ve got the materials and plans here already. I just need to feed in the data.”

“How long will it take to make?” asked Sami.

“About twenty-four hours. Why don’t you come back here at this time tomorrow?”

That night Sami dreamt of the Beginning. The earth was without form and void; God separated the land from the waters and created every living thing. The next day Sami couldn’t focus at work. All he thought of was creation. He went to AMP co. that night.

“Here’s the second printer,” said Alfred. “It’s yours to try out. What would you like to make with it?”

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