Excellent post Bill. I have been involved with AM for quite some time and the greatest benefit I see in my daily work is "proof of concept". The time spent in providing a DG (design guidance) model is remarkably short compared to traditional methods; i.e. machining, casting, forming, etc. One area gaining additional "respect" is the production of jigs and fixtures to hold components during assembly operations. This is proving to be equally time-saving and allows us to do a great deal of additional "what-if" at minimal expense.
Thanks for this informative report from the front lines about the fact that 3D printing and AM have gone way beyond prototyping. We've heard a lot about medical and dental apps, but it's important to know the extent that fixtures and tooling, as well as automotive, are being affected by AM for production parts. I also think the stats on injection molding costs and time are valuable. There seems to be a perception that 3D printing is slow, but it depends on what you're making with it. Compared to traditional methods for some end-use parts, it's really fast.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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