Suppliers of additive fabrication systems have been touting the potential for direct digital manufacturing for years. Now more of them are starting to walk that walk–by using their own additive machines to make parts for their new machines. The latest example comes from Stratasys, which this week revealed that 32 of the parts on its latest large-format fused deposition modeling (FDM) system were produced via FDM. This machine, the FDM 900mc, features a big 3×2x3-ft build envelope and has been designed from the ground up to support direct digital manufacturing. Among the FDM parts on the new machine is a touch-screen bezel. With direct digital manufacturing, Stratasys can create this low-volume part on demand, saving an estimated $100,000 of tooling costs and at least six weeks of tooling lead time. Stratasys isn’t alone in using its own technology to procure parts for its machines. EOS GmbH has employed a similar strategy on its Formiga P100 system. Read about it in this earlier post. For a more comprehensive look at direct digital manufacturing news and some how-to tips, go to Design News’ Factory of the Future page.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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