@bobjengr: That's what makes the furniture application so interesting to me. It's not where you would expect 3D printing to be applied, but as the technology advances and a wider swath of people are exposed, it is being put to novel uses in all kinds of areas. At the same time, it's delivering benefits from the ability to effectively do one-off manufacturing to serving as a way for people to bring ideas to life more quicker. So many different possibilities.
Charles, I certainly agree with you on this one. I think technology enhances creativty instead of stifling creativity. Then again, we are always looking for better methods to design a more functioal "mouse trap". The ability to produce on-of-a-kind is intriguing also. I would never have thought of using additative manufacturing to produce furniture but if it works it works.
@CLMcDade: You raise a good point that the 3D printing around prescriptions could have been done in a separate article. The point of combining the two was to take a look at really offbeat applications for 3D printing to showcase the versatility of the technology.
I agree with all that $1K is a bit pricey for a chair, but I'm thinking it's positioned more as art and less about functional furniture.
The real advantage of using an industrial robot to do the 3D printing is the scale of items that can be produced. Making prototypes or one-offs will be possible for larger items without the need to purchase a very large 3D printing machine.
A one-off might be steep at $1,000 but if you use it for a mold to make endless duplicates, that's pretty cheap. Some engineering could go into it to make it structurally sound while using less material.
I missed the mention of $1,000 a pop in the article. What is priced at $1,000 and is thus a "feel good product like EVs"? It can't be the chairs themselves because $1,000 for a stylish, ergonomic and comfortable chair is a bargain. Add in the possibility mentioned of customizing it to an individual customer and the value skyrockets.
Utilizing a robot to apply the layer-by-layer build-up takes 3D printing to another level by removing it from the limitations of a fixed sized enclosure. As a prototype process, the ability to iterate in full size to dial in comfort without shaving blue foam, shaping plywood or laying out resin is an incredible step forward.
The home medicine aspect of the article was interesting, but could have been a separate article as it addresses a totally different application and industry and raises ethical and legality concerns separate from the cool possibilities opened up by Kooij's creation.
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