Infringers are skilled enough to add the logos
and even serial numbers on counterfeit parts.
Aliaga’s work on 3-D printing watermarks looks
to show differences between the real and the
fake. Even if a watermarked object is copied,
the watermark will be altered to allow the
consumer to know whether or not it is a copy.
“To recreate this watermark, you will need
a special code, a 128- or 256-byte key code,”
WHAT’S INSIDE A
Computer science professor Christoph Hoffmann
and visiting professor Ulas Yaman are using their
algorithms to help strengthen the inside of
Hoffmann and Yaman mostly use polylactic acid
(PLA) plastic along with thinner T-Glas for clear pieces.
An example is two pieces that when connected form
a yellow and blue cube made from PLA, which is kept
in a thin, clear cube-shaped case made from T-Glas.
Hoffmann and Yaman are working from hexagons
that create the honeycomb-like interior structure of
3-D pieces. They are experimenting to see if there are
better, more efficient ways to give 3-D-printed materials
their third dimension.
“By modifying the interior, we want to have
different mechanical properties,” says Yaman,
The research is critical as 3-D printing
could bring about important items like car
parts and surgical tools that are strong,
not flimsy. Hoffmann cited the U.S.
Navy’s use of 3-D printing technology
for parts. Manufacturing on the ship will
make for fewer trips to shore.
Hoffmann is not surprised by the
popularity of 3-D printing. In January,
the Hershey Co. unveiled its own 3-D
printing technology for “printing” chocolate. “Such sweet technological leaps will
increase research in the College of Science
because it’s not so abstract,” he says. “You
can touch it.”
Ulas Yaman, a visiting professor of
computer science, displays a Purdue
“Motion P” created using 3-D printing
technology. (Photos by Charles Jischke
and Tim Brouk)