Alternative technologies are now popping up which give 3D printing a run for its money. 3D printing has proven to be a formidable way to create and prototype things that would previously take weeks to put together. But even though 3D printing is becoming one of the most anticipated technologies on the market, it is still really slow. This is the reason why innovators are putting together new technologies like laser origami. It will significantly increase the speed and precision of 3D printing.
Laser origami (or LaserOrigami as the technology is named) was innovated by Stefanie Mueller, Bastian Kruck, Patrick Baudisch and the the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany. It’s a relatively new approach to prototyping and producing products that would otherwise be costly and take up to several weeks to create. The approach is quite simple, but the whole laser origami procedure is a precise science that blows 3D printing out of the water, at least currently.
Unlike traditional laser cutting technologies, the laser origami approach requires no manual assembly after the actual object has been “printed.” What would normally take 3D printing several hours to print only takes minutes for the laser origami process. It’s an impressive display of precision that I think would blow anyone’s mind when they see it for the first time.
The laser uses a combination of cuts and heating in order to separate and bend the plastic sheet into what the user wants to create. The procedure is a whole lot different from 3D printing and takes a few more calculations to figure out where the cuts are and where the laser should heat the material in order to bend it. In a way, it uses heat and gravity to create the final product. The result is a lot more refined and complete once the process is finalized. Whether or not laser origami will ever replace 3D printing is too early to speculate about, but it is definitely a technology to keep a close eye on in the future.