The concept of "Design for AM' is intriguing. Fabricating parts using AM could change many of the traditional design and manufacturaiblity guidelines we used for parts creation. I would imagine that AM can now create many features we couldn't have previously made using traditional manufacturing methods. Conversely, additional design constraints will also need to be considered during the creation of a 3D part design.
Thanks, Nadine--I agree. There's a lot of dollars and effort going into R&D via this institute and its projects. Knowledge about those projects also gives us a window into where some of the most advanced technology is and where it's going.
The first round of projects funded targeted materials understanding and performance; qualification and certification; and process capability and characterization/process control. This second round also targets the first two topics, but adds design issues and knowledge base development. That tells me that materials remain a challenge, which is not surprising. But I think it also indicates that some initial process knowledge already exists and R&D can move forward with some much more in-depth projects. I also thought it significant that aerospace and metals AM dominate the discussion. I think aerospace will be one of the first areas where industrial-strength 3D printing/AM takes off.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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