Video of the week: New technique to 3D print metal in mid-air

Our video this week comes courtesy of some very clever Harvard engineers, specifically from the university’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Researchers there have developed a method to 3D print small metallic structures in mid-air, creating relatively complex freestanding objects with no support material. Ink made of silver nanoparticles is sent through a printing nozzle, then solidified instantly by a carefully calibrated laser that delivers precisely the right amount of power.

The technique allows for organic curves and spirals to be ‘drawn’ in mid-air, as well as sharp changes of direction and angular turns. According to its creators, the technology has a range of potential applications, including wearable electronics and biomedical devices.