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Category: Printing
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Posted: 01-09-2016 15:51
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Printing; process over 100 Years


Printing; the process known for reproducing text and images first dates back before 220AD with woodblock printing in China, with many different forms discovered throughout history. Technology in the last 100 years of course, has far advanced any previous means of printing, and now there are so many different formats of print, it’s almost impossible to keep up.

The art of traditional printing styles are still around, but the ease of access to basic printing technology makes it viable on a small scale for your home. Household digital printers have become so cheap in fact, that it’s literally cheaper to buy a new printer than it is to buy the ink to fill it.

Printing on different surfaces has also become a new type of art form in itself, and many new types printing businesses have formed in recent years, across many different formats. New tech now allows us to print on virtually any surface. 2,000 years of printing on paper – and now you can print on wood, you can print on stone, metals, glass, mirrors, clothing, cars, and food. Yes, food!! There are edible inks available that allow you to brand your own food, and the options for what food you can print on, are unlimited.

If you’re a visual artist, it’s extremely easy these days to have full scale prints of your work run off in whatever quantity you desire. In the world of film, whole life sized sets are now being printed in high resolution, with 3D printed costumes being used instead of CGI, and in the world of music, both 2D and 3D printed instruments are available on a commercial level.

Printing on large scale, or on left-of-centre surfaces is still quite difficult to perform if you don’t have the skills and equipment to match, however the endless options for custom printing through online channels makes it a relatively simple process.  Even though our technologies are advancing unbelievably on a daily basis, custom printing is still more viable through existing commercial options.

If you want to be able to print on anything but paper, chances are you are going to need to spend big dollars on printing machines that will cater for your requirements, and if they’re just one off projects, it’s going to save you money and time to get someone who is already set up for the job, to do it. Let’s face it; do you really want to spend a few hundred, or even a few thousand dollars on a new machine that you are only going to use a few times?

If you’re after a machine to run a business with, the options are endless depending on your budget; however the very competitive market for bulk printing, custom printing and one off jobs makes it extremely easy to choose a commercial, online or localised business.

Newer to the market is 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), refers to various processes used to synthesize a three-dimensional object. In 3D printing, successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. 3D printers have dramatically taken over on a domestic and commercial scale when it comes to creation. They are very accessible, and affordable for your home, and on a commercial scale, they have completely invented a new market for production.

In fact a company in China have printed 10 houses in 24 hours, using a proprietary 3D printer that uses a mixture of construction and industrial waste, such as glass and tailings, around a base of quick-drying cement mixed with a special hardening agent. The company has also demonstrated its technology, with the construction of a five-storey apartment building and a 1,100 square metre villa, complete with decorative elements inside and out.

Not only has 3D printing shaped the way for the future of construction, but medicine is also benefiting from additive manufacturing. In the past few years, medicine has created prosthetic windpipes, bio printed blood vessels, bones, heart valves, ear cartilage, synthetic skin, replacement functioning organs and skulls. It is certainly changing the way medicine is performed, and shaping a new future.

3D printing is also being used by some companies to make food items, clothing and weapons. It’s safe to say that this form of printing will be around for a long time to come, and will become advanced beyond our means in a very short amount of time.

An interesting technique is water transfer printing - hydrographics 

Printing on Poly vinyl alcohol film, the printed film is placed on water. It is then activated with a solvent spray, A 3D object is then slowly pressed on the film into the water, The resulting film stretches and wraps around the object.
By using a grid print, the resulting distortion can be mapped onto an image so when distorted by the same shaped object, the result can be and exact position of image to suit the object. Ideal for say face on a 3D mask, or animal on a 3D model of the animal.

Printing, although thousands of years old, has advanced more in the last 20 years than in the 2 thousand years previous, yet there is still so many avenues unthought-of that will guarantee to blow our minds for millennia to come!

If you want to know more about the printing services we offer, browse our website.

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