June 20, 2019. Our program featured John Majersky who operates the 3DReactions business in the 500 block of Northampton Street. His ever-evolving business involves 3D printing, scanning, and photography. His original purpose was to produce low-cost replacement parts for things like cars and appliances.
3D printing was invented in 1981. The basis of 3D printing is the creation of a physical object, one layer at a time, from a computer model. This is known as additive manufacturing. This type of printing took a big step forward with the introduction of the RepRap printer in 2005. This printer could actually make its own repair parts. The process starts with a model in the computer. A type of program known as slicing software creates layers of the model, and instructions for the printer. The printer then takes a roll of wire-like plastic and extrudes it in melted form onto a print bed. The process continues, layer after layer, until the object is complete. The process is so slow that it can take hours to make even a simple figurine. Some of John’s creations have taken up to 30 hours.
His store features a kiosk-like setup lined with 70 small computerized cameras. The cameras take enough pictures within 2 seconds to create a 3D model of a living thing, such as a person or pet. John can then create a 3D version of the person. Imagine a bride and groom having their own 3D likeness on their cake. The technology is still evolving, and 3D printing is not without its problems. The whole structure is compromised if the first layer is not perfect. The tiniest glitch causes the whole process to start again. Even when it works, the process can be incredibly slow. John’s printer is monochrome but there are vastly more expensive machines that can print in full color. Applications for this type of printing include molds, medical products, building materials, food, robots, and containers.