3D printers and edible ads: A look back at this year’s printing inventions

2014 has been the year of 3D. Since the beginning of the year, when we saw a number of manufacturers launch their own domestic 3D printers, the world of 3D has gone mad. We have seen Will.i.am back an eco-friendly recycled cartridge, Asda launch an in-store mini-me printing service and, manufacturers try to print buildings. 

On top of this we have also seen manufacturers and new start-ups push the boundaries of printing in many different ways. From the World’s smallest to the first and most innovative, 2014 has welcomed those who want to challenge every day convention. Here is a summary of some of our favourite products this year. 

HP goes 3D

One of the most significant and talked about products in the 3D sector was HP’s Multi Jet Fusion.  A long awaited project, HP plans to use the Multi Jet Fusion technology to power new 3D commercial and manufacturer printers. 10 times faster than any existing 3D printer, it is projected that the printer will be on sale for a lower cost than those in its class.  

HP Multi Jet Fusion

Image: c/o 3Dprint.com

The HP Fusion Jet is not your average 3D printer. Not only is it faster than any device currently on the market, but the machine boasts the ability to print in different colours, textures and elasticities as well as printing entire electronic devices.

Kick Started

Also heavily trend driven, the world of printing has also been influenced by the phenomenon that is crowd-funding. Encouraging tech enthusiasts to back new start-ups, programmes such as Kickstarter have launched a number of successful new printing technologies. Here’s two of our favourites currently in the pipeline.

Prynt, launching on Kickstarter soon, is the next generation of Polaroid photography for iPhone and Android users. A simple plug and play device, Prynt lets you snap any picture of your choice and print instantly, anywhere. We reckon this is a sure fire winner for Millennials.

Prynt and Flux

Image left to right: pryntcases.com, flux3dp.com

Also Kickstarter funded is the Flux All-in-one 3D printer. Enabling users to print, laser engrave and scan 3D objects, the tech start-up behind this device has smashed their funding target with ease. We think that Flux is one of the most impressive devices, letting users engrave a wide range of materials including cardboard, foam board, wood, leather and more. This is one of the most impressive domestic size machines we have seen this year and we can’t wait for it to officially hit the market.  

Small and Mighty

Epson Workflow

Heralded as the World’s smallest and lightest A4 inkjet printer, the Epson WorkForce WF-100W was launched in September 2014. Featuring an integrated Li-ion battery which can be recharged via USB or AC adapter, the WorkForce WF-100W also includes a small LCD display which shows essential statuses and print job updates. Printing in full colour, it uses two ink cartridges and pigment ink, and holds an impressive 50 sheets.

Image: c/o epson.co.uk

Robot Printers

Fuji Xerox Robotic PrinterThe most useful, pointless device, the robotic printer developed by Fuji Xerox navigates your office to bring your print out direct to your desk. Tested in a Tokyo office, the robotic printer cuts down your printing time by eliminating the need for you to get up from your desk and walk to the printer. Whilst it is a clever amalgamation of technologies, we are not sure whether it would prove useful in your average office location.

Image: c/o digitaltrends.com


Truly Mobile Printing

At the beginning of the year Zuta Labs received funding for their Pocket Printer. An excellent example of innovation, their pocket printer fits; well in your pocket, going anywhere you go. In production as we speak it is expected that the Pocket Printer will be available from January 2015 so keep your eyes peeled.

Pocket Printer

Image: zutalabs.com

Edible Adverts

It’s not quite a printer, but in the spirit of pushing boundaries we had to mention Mr Kipling. No, we’re not just looking for free cakes, although if anyone from the bakery is reading this, we wouldn’t turn down a bakewell or two. A true mix of print and experimental advertising, Mr Kipling created an edible billboard outside Westfield, Shepherds Bush. Constructed from 13,360 Mr Kipling cakes, the poster was later eaten by members of the public who wanted to take a bite. Cake-tastic.

Mr Kipling edible ad

Image: c/o thedrum.co.uk

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