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Video: What 3D Printing Can & Can't Do

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naperlou
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another tool
naperlou   11/5/2013 8:18:29 AM
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Chuck, 3D printing is another good tool for manufacturing parts.  In the past, CNC machining allowed cost effective production of small runs of parts.  This is still true.  Injection molding has improved to the point that it is possible to make small production runs with molds that are cheaper.  They may not be as long lasting as the traditional mold, but they are just fine for those smaller runs on an inexpensive machine.  Often the molds are made on a CNC machine.  3D is another low production rate technique that can be used in various situations.  In "low" volume industries like aviation, this technique is very useful.  In a mass customization environment 3D can really shine.  I wonder when we will see personalization of prodcuts like automobiles with the addition of 3D printed interior parts (like special cup holders).  Information technology coupled with 3D printing could make that a reality.

Mydesign
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Re: another tool
Mydesign   11/5/2013 8:39:24 AM
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"Injection molding has improved to the point that it is possible to make small production runs with molds that are cheaper.  They may not be as long lasting as the traditional mold, but they are just fine for those smaller runs on an inexpensive machine."

Naperlou, you mean that 3D printing objects are of high quality and have better durability? I think in both cases the composition of material may be same and only the finishing may be better in 3D printing.

Charles Murray
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Re: another tool
Charles Murray   11/5/2013 7:22:07 PM
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I agree, naperlou. I think we're only scratching the surface here. Companies will learn how to combine information technology and 3D printing in all kinds of industries to produce customized products that no one has thought about yet.  

Jim S
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Re: another tool
Jim S   11/6/2013 10:00:48 AM
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We use them for experimental molds for silicon rubber moding compound. It works just fine, but we don't care about the rough finish. We just coat it with mold release and inject the compound. Really fast way to prototype something.

Mydesign
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3D Printing
Mydesign   11/5/2013 8:33:08 AM
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Charles, it's very nice to read this interesting article. I read many articles with respect to 3D printing and in one of them somebody specified that it can print ornaments, medicines etc. I think it peoples are aware only about merits and they presumes that it will be able to print everything.

Charles Murray
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Re: 3D Printing
Charles Murray   11/5/2013 7:26:11 PM
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At the event, Mydesign, the Stratasys executives made a point of letting journalists know that the popular conception of 3D printing is inconsistent with the realities of using it in manufacturing settings. As you point out, there are a lot of applications that don't lend themselves to 3D printing.

RogueMoon
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pre-processing for 3D Printing
RogueMoon   11/6/2013 8:53:23 AM
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Charles, thanks for the post.

Can you elaborate more about what pre-processing is necessary?  You had mentioned changes in CAD modelling...

Charles Murray
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Re: pre-processing for 3D Printing
Charles Murray   11/6/2013 9:23:39 PM
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This is definitely not my strength, RogeMoon, so we'll see if we can get an expert can help us out here. But as I understand it, a lot of the pre-processing is on the model side. You need to create an STL (steroelithography) file and, from that, a CGM (computer graphics metafile) file after your CAD file. I'm told this is still a big area of learning for most engineers. There's also a matter of matching your design to your materials and to the right process beforehand -- whether it's fused depostion modeling, selective laser sintering, or another 3D printing method. I'll see if we can get someone from Stratasys to jump in here.

Plastics Engineer
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Iron
Re: pre-processing for 3D Printing
Plastics Engineer   11/7/2013 9:47:42 AM
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Depending on the software you use to creat your CAD model, the pre-processing can be relatively simple. If you are using a solid modeling program like Solid Works or Pro/E, once you have created your model it is a simple "save as" command to create the .STL file.  If not, you need to make sure the part you modeled is "solid".  By that I mean all surfaces are connected so you have a solid cross section.  Imagine if your design was hollow.  If you were to "fill" all of the walls, there would be no openings or gaps that the water could drain out.  There are programs out there that can check and do some repairs, but I'm not an expert on that.  Once you have the .STL file, you import that into the machine's interface.  Stratasys has a very easy to use program.  Once you import your .STL file you can orient it and add it to the build.  The software automatically generates the .CMB file the machine uses to build the part with.  Once you have your build set, you click on the print button and you're off and running.  The process, interface, and file creation has gotten significantly more user friendly over the last several years.

Charles Murray
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Re: pre-processing for 3D Printing
Charles Murray   11/11/2013 7:09:10 PM
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Thanks for weighing in on that, Plastics Engineer.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: pre-processing for 3D Printing
Ann R. Thryft   12/11/2013 12:48:39 PM
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Thanks for covering this summit conference, Chuck. It's especially valuable to see what end-users have to say. Aerospace is definitely one of the major areas where end-production volumes are ramping, especially with metal parts. And much--degree of post-processing, volumes, rates--depends on the 3D printing technology being used.

ramjet@metrocast.net
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Gold
Re: 3D Printing
ramjet@metrocast.net   11/6/2013 8:58:54 AM
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While I'm itching to acquire a 3D printer for my hobbies, It will be a while.

And I am just looking in from the outside, so to speak.

I understand that objects with overhangs are still difficult to produce. Perhaps they can be created with snap off supports or such but you lose the smoothness of the finish in that spot.

Am I correct in my understanding?

Still, Printing my own custom nosecones for my amatuer rockets would be a massive game changer.

ramjet@metrocast.net
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Re: 3D Printing
ramjet@metrocast.net   11/6/2013 8:58:58 AM
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While I'm itching to acquire a 3D printer for my hobbies, It will be a while.

And I am just looking in from the outside, so to speak.

I understand that objects with overhangs are still difficult to produce. Perhaps they can be created with snap off supports or such but you lose the smoothness of the finish in that spot.

Am I correct in my understanding?

Still, Printing my own custom nosecones for my amatuer rockets would be a massive game changer.

Mydesign
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Platinum
Re: 3D Printing
Mydesign   11/9/2013 1:45:40 AM
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"the Stratasys executives made a point of letting journalists know that the popular conception of 3D printing is inconsistent with the realities of using it in manufacturing settings. As you point out, there are a lot of applications that don't lend themselves to 3D printing."

Charles, what I meant is about clarity. What can be print and not; rather than populating unpromising things.

Habib Tariq
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Iron
Print your own Dinner
Habib Tariq   11/10/2013 9:14:17 PM
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Recently i was reading an article about applications of 3D printer, and actually came across a startup "Natural Machines" that combines technology, art and food to create something unique. They actually printed an edible cheeseburger using 3D food printer. They printed the bean burger, cheese sauce and the roll using real food.

You can check their facebook page for further details.


The applications of 3D printers is really beyond one's imagination and would play a very key role in the rapid advancement of technology.

Debera Harward
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Silver
Re: Print your own Dinner
Debera Harward   11/11/2013 8:10:19 AM
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Yes Habib I agree with you this technology of printing is just beyond ones imagination I have also across some articles saying that different meals and food items are being made by 3d printers. Just imagine the food you eat will be  3D printed isint it exciting from all these technologies we come to know that development is just going beyond our minds.

Debera Harward
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Silver
Re: Print your own Dinner
Debera Harward   11/11/2013 12:11:10 PM
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3D printers used for food and meal look more like machines rather than printers. They consist of syringes and in those syringes instead of filling the ink liquid edible raw material is being added like chocolate syrup, sugar syrup and so on . Later these materials are collected layer on top of layer to complete the final output . It is also use to print icing on the top of the pan cakes . In future all restaurants will be using these printers in order to make their lives easier.

Charles Murray
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Re: Print your own Dinner
Charles Murray   11/11/2013 7:08:24 PM
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Definitely true, Debera. Most 3D printers don't look like printers -- at least as mocst of us imagine printers. That's why I think the moniker "3D printer" is a bit of genius.

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