In a new study led by the University at Buffalo entitled “PrinTracker: Fingerprinting 3D Printers Using Commodity Scanners,” researchers may have made a breakthrough in how to trace a 3D printed object to the printer on which it was made.This is believed to be the first accurate way to identify the source of counterfeit products and 3d-printed firearms, among other things, of great value.
The method is centered on the filler, which is the core of 3D printing and is rarely seen, but it has a big impact on the strength and weight of the parts. Many different patterns can be selected for infill, but those patterns are typically pretty uniform from printer to printer – right? Not so, in fact. Depending on the 3D printer, the dimensions of the infill can vary from 5 to 10 percent from the size chosen – and each printer is unique in the infill it generates.So each printer essentially has a unique fingerprint.
According to Xu, PrinTracker can be used to trace any 3D printed object back to its source.He compared the technology with techniques used by law enforcement agencies and 2D printer companies to identify paper sources.