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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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