Excellent post Bill. I have been involved with AM for quite some time and the greatest benefit I see in my daily work is "proof of concept". The time spent in providing a DG (design guidance) model is remarkably short compared to traditional methods; i.e. machining, casting, forming, etc. One area gaining additional "respect" is the production of jigs and fixtures to hold components during assembly operations. This is proving to be equally time-saving and allows us to do a great deal of additional "what-if" at minimal expense.
Thanks for this informative report from the front lines about the fact that 3D printing and AM have gone way beyond prototyping. We've heard a lot about medical and dental apps, but it's important to know the extent that fixtures and tooling, as well as automotive, are being affected by AM for production parts. I also think the stats on injection molding costs and time are valuable. There seems to be a perception that 3D printing is slow, but it depends on what you're making with it. Compared to traditional methods for some end-use parts, it's really fast.
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