Clever assembly technique without the use of fastening devices. I agree with Jim about multiple 3D printing markets, as DN has reported various times. Actually, there are more than two already, probably about 5 or 6 general chunks, depending on various combinations of machines/materials and users: end-production for consumers, prototyping for large and small businesses, end-production for commercial /small business, end-production for large corporations. Aerospace, with its heavy use of metals, is probably its own separate space.
As an engineer I am obligated to try to have my efforts benefit humankind, while understanding that I also have an obligation to provide my customers with the value that they pay for. Mostly that happens without any conflicts because providing the best solutions does benefit everybody, at a minimum, by not wasting resources. ( I hope that explanation make sense).
Part of that is avoiding leading folks down the path of things that just will not work, which sometimes is met with accusations of being negative, as in "Why can't I make structural beams out of this regrind plastic", when it is clear that the materials just are not strong enough. And I did get a request for a proposal for a machine to extrude municiple garbage into landscaping beams. The problem was that the process did not do what the customer thought it was doing. If the claim was fraud or just lack of understanding I don't know, but pointing out that the process as described could not do what it claimed to be doing did not make any friends at all. But we were saved from our taxes purchasing a million dollar machine that did nothing useful.
My point being that a lack of knowledge, while it does not limit creativity, it certainly tends to limit success. How about that for a profound observation?
Very well said; especially the part about a monkey with a gun. William, I TOTALLY get it. But I have relieved myself of the staggering burden to attempt to guide humanity into the right behaviors. That's Jesus's job, and I trust He'll get it right, eventually. History is filled with countless examples of this same thing, where crowds of fools are running ahead of the leaders with the know-how. I get it. Best thing we can do, is accept it, and solidify our own fortresses against the looming collapse of the masses.
Jim, my complaint is more about those who don't understand what they are doing and wind up causing problems of all kinds, including making life unpleasant for those of us who do understand what the process is. Lack of understanding then leads to things being demanded that can't be delivered. Picture that same native in your example now demanding that a new crankshaft be produced for the pump in the same water system, and becoming very unhappy when the answer is no. That is the sort of problem that will appear.
And just consider what would be the outcome of a proliferation of reverse engineering programs that allowed people to make approximate copies of all kinds of things, and then get into a mess when the copy fails on them at a bad time. It will be a lot like teaching a monkey how to load a gun and fire it.
William, I share your opinion. But Nadine may have a point, and the ( 3D Printing) / (Additive Manufacturing ) arena might now have a natural division growing, because of it.
To William's point, 3D printing is born from a very complex and highly technical origin. 3D Systems, inc invented the first Stereo Lithography machines in the late 1980's, and sophisticated veteran end-users have been contributing to the improvements for years, as their ever-increasing end-user demands required tougher and more resilient materials, better step resolution, and new polymer options ranging from transparent to flexible rubber simulants. As a longtime design engineer, I need these advancements, and my customers are usually willing to pay for the high quality materials these advanced apparatuses can offer.
To Nadine's point, the pervasive nature of 3D printing is reaching into every aspect of humanity today; allowing capabilities to people who never before would have seen these technological benefits, and who may marvel at the ease of creation. Imagine the benefit of a mid-African country native, seeing an humanitarian worker print a new PVC elbow for a broken well pump. On the spot water fix. Amazing!
But the gap between these two avenues SHOULD widen, because the vision of the $5 PVC elbow fix is clear in the sight of the demanding industrial customer who really needs a $100 high resolution component housing for precision electronics. These are two very different use-cases. Just acknowledge the differences.
This article seems to describe a tiny Kickstarter entity who is focused on the "snap-together" aspect of the printer-stand, more than the printer itself (is it outsourced-?!) That point does seem to confuse the issue. A user ought not to concern themselves as much with the construction of the stand of the printer, as much as the quality and usability of the resulting manufactured good. There is a difference.
Very interesting Cabe. The first thought I had was--this 3-D printer is ideal for the classroom and for the purpose of demonstrating the benefits of "additive" manufacturing and component making. The principals could be demonstrated fully with a device such as this including possible accuracy with more robust systems. In short, I do feel this printer can fill a need. Excellent post.
Does it come with Ikea-like instructions for assembly? For a non-mechanical genius like me, I thnk I would need something better! An interesting idea and the price is right, but if putting together a printer on your own is what makes it affordable, I think I will still have to wait a bit before jumping into this market.
Nadine, the fact is that sometimes we would all be berrter off if the uneducated were not able to utilize some technologies. We wind up with all kinds of junk that contributes nothing to anybody's quality of life, but it still consumes resources in it's production.
And why in the world should those who refuse to learn be handed all of the benefits that we who took the effort to learn have? Why in the world should laziness be rewarded?
Making things so simple that "everybody can do it" is part of the reason that engineering no longer gets the respect that it once did. But there is still a big difference between being able to do something and being able to do it correctly.
Interesting idea to allow the customer to snap together the printer themselves. Reminds me of a furniture kit where 'some assembly is required'. Perhaps the next generation printer will be a mobile version that can easity be folded into a smaller volume and then quickly be set up at another location.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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