ervin0072002, I agree on that business model, at least for the low-end machines. But it will take time before volumes are high enough for that model to work. Meanwhile, the high-end machines, such as the one in this article, are an entirely different animal: they're more like a capital equipment purchase.
I promise you that if 3D printers cost sub 200usd I would buy one and so would any one that can use the software. I just wish the price would get to that point faster. The manufacturers of these printers need to realize that selling the cartridges and printing materials will make them more money than the printers themselves. Sell the devices at cost and wait for the returns on the materials.
This is an exciting development in the world of 3D printing for sure and will certainly cut costs and provide more productivity for auto makers as it moves into the mainstream. As this is the work of European researchers, do you think the U.S. would embrace this sort of thing, too?
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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