If machine tool consumption is any indication, an economic recovery isn't going to happen anytime soon. Most recent stats indicate a drop-off of nearly 30% compared to 2001, which itself was down from 2000. Year-to-date (through September 2002) total was $1.5 billion. Numbers come from the Association for Manufacturing Technology and the American Machine Tool Distributors Association.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Engineers at the University of San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have designed biobatteries on commercial tattoo paper, with an anode and cathode screen-printed on and modified to harvest energy from lactate in a person’s sweat.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.