Uidea Rapid Prototype, thanks for the clarification. I can see how 3D printing techniques might look like a threat. Some companies that do rapid prototyping and small volume manufacturing are using several different methodologies including 3D printing, depending on which works best in a given component.
Hi, I think the subtractive manufacturing itself and the techniques which use subtractive manufacturing processes are traditional manufacturing, like injection molding, die casting, CNC milling, CNC turning, sheet metal fabrication, extrusion, etc, while additive manufacturing should be the future manufacturing such as the 3D printing we are talking here, SLS, FDM, SLA and so on.
The popular rapid prototyping techniques we have been using in China include CNC machining, vacuum casting/silicone casting, sheet metal prototyping, rapid tooling, reaction injection molding, extrusion prototyping and so on, all of them are subtractive manufacturing or need use subtractive manufacturing processes. Also, more and more prototype parts are being or will be made by 3D printing. So 3D printing would be big threaten to traditional rapid prototyping company like us.
Uidea Rapid Prototype, "traditional manufacturing" usually refers to methods such as injection molding for making high volumes. I'm not sure how a rapid prototype company such as yourselves would be threatened by the topics discussed here. Can you clarify your question?
bobjengr, I think you're right about the materials angle, which is why Lux addressed that issue. OTOH, there are a lot more 3D/AM techniques for metal than has been apparent, which we're continued to report on. For instance, Monday's article on the Pratt & Whitney lab at the U of Connecticut: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=262205
I think right now one impediment to "additative manufacturing" is the limited number of materials available for the process. That number increases at an ever-growing rate due to the probablility of success for the technology. I work with a machine shop that has made the investment in 3D printing to provide answers relative to "form, fit and function". Solid modeling can only go so far and most engineers like to kick the tires. Another great benefit is being able to provide marketing and sales a prototype to show customers. I have attended several focus groups in which models were presented to get consumers' opinions relative to design and limited function. These models were definitely preferable to on-screen presentations and demonstrated the part could be manufactured. Also, a model is great when you are designing tooling and fixtures for in-plant use. Excellent post Ann.
Ann , according to me you are absolutely correct . Usage of 3D Printers will have a boost in professional industry but for consumer usage it wont be that usefull because of certain limitations out of which cost is the most important one .Production of specified item will be very costly as compared to manually printed item.Secondly printing process is very slow no doubt the results are out class but because of speed and cost it wont be considered as a necessity for consumer ,However commercialy these printers will be on the top .
Elizabeth, I think here the idea is that volumes of consumer 3D-printed objects will never get close to commercial volumes because usage will be so different. Consumers are expected to buy a printer and only use it occasionally, compared to the much higher usage rate of businesses who need to maximize their ROI. For example, the dental labs producing 60 to 70 models per day we wrote about here http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=261369
Jim, having participated in market research, I know how specific the data that goes into the numbers can be. Is it hypothetical? Well, of course: any predictions are. But some are obviously based on much more and better data and a better understanding of how markets work than others. So no, the good ones, like Lux, do not do SWAGs. If they did, no one would bother to pay for it. And two decimal places make a very big difference indeed when we're talking about millions of dollars.
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