Excellent post Lauren. This technology is not a fad and the companies providing equipment; i.e. printers, materials, finishing products, etc will be around for a long time. The slide show that Lauren has provided represents the "tip of the iceberg" relative to items that can be manufactured. As I have mentioned before, I feel future advancement will be determined by materials available for "additative manufacturing", improving speed in printing and the size of equipment that can handle large components. It's a technology that will be with us from here on out.
I don't think that the people that monitor these comments are going to appreciate it, if I get any more graphic in order to explain the comedic tension that exists between showing a woman's empty brassiere and the headline "The Best Things to Come Out of a 3D Printer," so I'm going to leave it here.
Back in the very early 1990's I saw a plastic part produced using the photo-hardening process with some clear plastic liquid. This machine was being touted by the Detroit Center Tool company, DCT, which eventually failed due to managenet integrity problems. But I remember that the part was quite fragile but very intricate.
My question is why is there no mention of the 3D printed eyewear created by Protos Eyewear in this list. They had crazy traction at CES and well is much more difficult to create then some of the other products showcased here.
I assume that the efficiencies of the near-net-shape welding process are most evident on large parts (like may be used on aircraft) that would otherwise require the purchase of a very large volume, expensive billet of Titanium (for instance) and then 80+% of the material would have to be removed with conventional milling process. By using the near-net-shape process, the expensive billet would not have to be purchased and I imagine that the total machine time would be reduced considerably.
Concerning the paper cut-out lamination process.... I believe the commonly used term for this process is LOM (Laminated Object Manufacturing). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminated_object_manufacturing . Someone told me that this may be the oldest of the rapid prototyping methods. I'm not sure if that is true, but it seems reasonable to me. I used LOM for a client's project about 14-15 years ago. The client needed a production manufactured, custom designed, ceramic water bowl for a new line of indoor, table-top water fountains. I created the bowl (approximate dimensions 15" x 11" x 5") with the LOM process, then sanded, sealed and varnished it just like a piece of wood. We used the LOM prototype as the master for making the ceramic bowls. It worked great. I chose LOM because we needed a prototype that was very dimensionally stable with such large overall dimensions. I would use it again if there was an appropriate project.
I was going to include the welder-type of buildup process, but it is sort of obvious, I think. Besides, making parts that way is really not very efficient. At least not yet. But the robotic extrusion method ceratainly does have a bright future. But they are far different processes from the original 3D printing concept.
Of course, the paper-cutout lamination process is also different, I can see some interesting developments in that area. Shades of the replicators in that TV show. But possibly possible presently.
It does seem that now the limitations are software and immagination.
The ear actually seems like an ideal application for 3D printing, Rich. If it doesn't fit just right, if the material seems too soft or hard, it's easy enough to keep printing new ones until it's perfect.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.