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April 10 2013

4-D Printing: The New Fabrication Frontier

As 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, picks up steam in industrial manufacturing and spurs the public imagination, scientists say the next frontier is 4-D printing: materials that fabricate themselves.

3-D printing is now an established, popular manufacturing technique used to create rapid prototypes and production components with reduced lead times and costs. 3-D printing can be performed by desktop printers operating in the plastic medium or by larger industrial-strength devices that can make steel and stainless steel components.

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