10 Principles of 3D Printing – Presentation by Melba Kurman

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Industry Analyst Presents Key Principles of 3D Printing

Melba Kurman is a former Microsoft product manager turned author and technology analyst who has been writing about 3D printing for the last 3 years. She co-authored Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing with Cornell professor Hod Lipson, which was published earlier this year.

At the Inside 3D Printing conference in San Jose, Ms. Kurman delivered a presentation called The 10 Principles of 3D Printing.

Melba Kurman Principles of 3D Printing

The overall theme of the talk is that 3D printing is an ecosystem that is disruptive to the limits of design, but not a technology that is going to take away jobs. Rather, 3D printing is going to open up the doors for revolutionizing design and manufacturing by making complexity free.

Below are the 10 Principles of 3D Printing by Melba Kurman:

1. One 3D printer makes many shapes - Just upload a file and the 3D printer will take over. The 3D printer can print whatever is defined by the file, in contrast to single-purpose machines of the industrial revolution era.

2. Small footprint manufacturing – Home 3D printers are small enough to sit on a desk but advanced enough to create truly functional objects. It doesn’t take a 3D printer the size of a showing printing an airplane wing with a small 3d printer
a man carrying the cube

3. No lead time from design to product – It used to take weeks for each step in the design and manufacturing process. Now just upload and 3D print.

4. Skill lies in the design, not the operator – While it’s still a skilled craft to 3D model and design, 3D printing now works with the push of a button. This ease of reproduction also comes with risks, such as 3D printed guns and IP infringement.

5. Less waste – The original trade name for 3D printing is “additive manufacturing,” because objects are created layer by layer rather than subtractive methods like milling. This process means that there is less waste as a by-product of production.

6. No assembly required – 3D printed objects are made in one single piece, even intricate designs with moving parts. This leads to more elegant products that are sturdier while relying less on an expansive supply chain and assembly.

3D printed bike chain Objet

7. Infinite blends of materials – New materials for 3D printing continue to become available, and even blending materials is now possible.

8. Duplicate, edit and copy physical objects – With advancements in 3D scanning technology like the MakerBot Digitizer, physical objects can be digitally captured and reproduced, physical copy-paste.

9. Unlimited design space – Traditional design constraints do not apply in 3D printing. Take for example, the 3D printed titanium jaw used as a personalized implant on a patient, or “biomimickry” art that takes inspiration from nature.

Dr. Ivo Lambrichts Displays 3D Printed Jaw

10. Manufacturing complexity is free – Historically, cost is correlated to complexity; more complex objects are more expensive. But with 3D printing, a complex structure (like the one pictured below) is equivalent in cost to physical block of material of the same volume. This has profound implications on pricing and the cost of personalization.

Melba Kurman Complexity is Free


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2 Responses to 10 Principles of 3D Printing – Presentation by Melba Kurman

  1. Mohammed George says:

    This is so informative and revolutionary, I am truly amazed to learn about these remarkable advancement of technology.
    Reading this presentation and others about potentials of 3d printing makes me feel as if I am in a fictional futuristic movie..wow !!

  2. Zubair Amin Agha says:

    Additive manufacturing is transforming the world of manufacturing. Need of the world is to learn and implement more so for under developed countries that have sparsity of capital for hugh projects. Thanks and keep educating.

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