CAD/CAM Corner

Slideshow: 3D Printers Make Prototypes Pop

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Alexander Wolfe
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No longer esoteric
Alexander Wolfe   3/23/2012 9:04:26 AM
3D printers are clearly mainstream now, both on a cost basis and wider deployment throughout industry. This slideshow is an example of the still-fairly-early stage -- but technologically advanced -- products hitting the market. The interesting question now is what this is going to enable in terms of product development by companies who heretofore had not had the resources to do as much prototyping as previously. 3D printers are equalizing the playing field.

Rob Spiegel
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Cost coming down
Rob Spiegel   3/23/2012 1:39:35 PM
This slide show demonstrates what a wide spectrum exists with 3D printers, This industry seems to have popped up out of nowhere and now it looks fully formed. One of the surprising aspects is the relative low price of much of this equipment. Amazing.

Ann R. Thryft
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More prototypes = better product quality?
Ann R. Thryft   3/23/2012 1:41:40 PM

Thanks, Beth, this slideshow has some fun machines in it, like that Mcor machine that uses paper as a material. Alex' note on increasing the access to more prototyping for companies who could not afford to do as much before makes me wonder: will that produce better products from either large or small companies? Several other recent comment threads have noted low product quality and the apparent lack of real-world design testing, like the monoxide detectors:


It will be great if the access to more prototyping makes that possible.

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3D Printers
apresher   3/23/2012 1:43:42 PM
Thanks Beth,  Love the slide show format as a way to demonstrate the breadth of work being done within a specific technology area. Certainly with the growth of 3D visualization, effective output is an important part of the iterative design process.  Thanks again.

Charles Murray
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First printed car
Charles Murray   3/23/2012 6:14:47 PM
I'm still blown away by the link in this story to the first 3-D printed car. It makes all of the concept vehicles at this year's Detroit Auto Show look primitive.



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3D will become every day.
ervin0072002   3/25/2012 12:27:55 PM
I think 3D printing has potential. Might not be the most efficient way of doing things currently but i am willing to bet that there are processes that will benefit from 3D printing still. I did some research in Nano-lithography using AFM microscopes. And yes even in scale of 1nm 3D printing has its uses. And a handful of people do it. It has been very helpful for physics and quantum mechanics to build 3D structures at nano scale and study the affects that light or electric fields have on them.

Greg M. Jung
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The Choices Seem Endless...
Greg M. Jung   3/25/2012 3:16:44 PM
I continue to be happily amazed at the seemly endless choices we now have for 3D printing.  I remember years ago there was only one choice and the applications were much more narrow and limited.

Now, the challenge seems to be selecting the right process for your specific prototyping application from the multitude of options.  (What a great problem to have!).

Aldo Agraz
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3D Printing is an excellent solution for low volumes
Aldo Agraz   3/26/2012 4:35:05 AM
3D printers are nowadays accessible to a wide range or users and costs are affordable, I produce ABS parts in low volume and the investment is very low compared to producing the same parts by injection molding. I hope this machines become even more accessible to all people because they incentivate design and innovation. Thanks for the sideshow!

Beth Stackpole
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Re: More prototypes = better product quality?
Beth Stackpole   3/26/2012 6:55:32 AM
I think the combination of more readily available and inexpensive 3D printers coupled with more accessible simulation packages are really changing the game with how companies can explore design options. It's not just improving and facilitating the creation of a handful of physical prototypes, it's allowing companies to explore more design options allowing them to key in on optimized designs. In theroy, that entire process should boost quality and product innovation.

User Rank
Into my price range
Droid   3/26/2012 9:26:22 AM
I am looking forward to seeing the cost of 3D printers drop like a rock so even miserly folk like myself can have one sitting amidst the desktop clutter.

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