Researchers at Harvard University are looking to realize a more complete range of capabilities for 3-D printing in fabricating both planar and freestanding 3-D structures and do it relatively quickly and on low-cost plastic substrates.  The researchers extruded a silver-nanoparticle ink and annealed it with a laser so quickly that the system let them easily “write” free-standing 3-D structures.  While this may not seem very spectacular, the significance with this technique is that it can create 3-D structures seemingly suspended in air without any signs of support as though they were drawn there with a pen.

Nanosilver Ink 3D printed butterflies
Image: Harvard University/PNAS

>Read more by Dexter Johnson, IEEE Spectrum, May 16, 2016

Nanosilver Ink Written in Midair for 3-D Printing