Every RP article implies that faster design processes are better. Here the author even argues that more iterations leads to better outcomes. This may sound obvious, but anyone involved in design will tell you: faster doesn't always mean better. Here is a hint: it really depends on the design methods that you use and how far in the decision making process you are. Sadly, the last 10 yrs have shown me that most RP are not actual improvements to the quality and originality of products. Some times faster just means faster, and this only means producing crap designs faster than before.
Thanks for raising the issue, SoCalPE, and thanks Jason, for the link to a resource for suggestions on plastic part disposal. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more people raising concerns about this issue as 3D printer use becomes more prevelant and as more organizations more widely integrate the technology as part of their prototyping and product development workflows.
On i.materialize, the first search result from above, they lay out 4 possible solutions. While they may not work for everyone and every 3D printer, they are atleast bringing some interesting and valid means or reusing unwanted printed objects.
Beth, thanks for corroborating my concerns about recycling 3d printed parts. Yes, that photo with the caption "... generate a mountain of throwaway prototypes..." is concerning in our society's semi-enlightened path of renewal ability and recycling. I'm an avid fan and user of FDM 3d printing for prototype parts. To my knowledge, SLA material cannot be recycled unlike 3d printers that extrude ABS (which we recycle after the parts are tested). I'm not sure about Objet or ZCorp parts. Doug, can you speak to this?
P.S. Tape Wrangler tolerances of some parts are 1/250,000 of an inch. Really???
Great working examples of how 3D printers are being used in companies to faciliate design and as a more cost-effective means of prototyping.
Seeing that image of all of those plastic, 3D printed parts, though, makes me think about disposal issues related to all this content that will be generated. A reader raised that issue in a comments on another 3D printer story and that image really brings the concern to light.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.