Tag Archives: aerospace
3D printing has hype and controversy, but what about adoption?
This is a guest post by UK-based Laser Lines Ltd, whose bio is at the end of the article.
Earlier this year it was announced that Maplin Electronics would be the first UK retailer to stock a home 3D printer. With all the hype and controversy surrounding this technology, it’s left many wondering if 3D printers will be the next big gadget to make their way into every home.
3D printing is the process of printing layers of material, usually plastic, on-top of one another to build up a 3D object. The Velleman K8200, which retails at £700, allows customers to 3D print any object they want from the comfort of their home, from a chess piece to mobile phone case. The plastics come in red, black, white, orange, green, yellow and pink, costing £30 for 1kg of the resin. Certainly an interesting addition to any home office but isn’t this a rather expensive way of reproducing items that would ordinarily cost just a few pounds?
The idea of everyday consumers being able to access 3D printers has already caused controversy in the US following the announcement of printable handgun blueprints online. The handgun, which would have been made from plastic if successfully produced in this way, could have gone undetected by standard security scanner.
Another widespread concern about 3D printers in the home is the likelihood of copyright infringement through the reproduction of products. Users would potentially be able to produce a 3D scan of a product and then using this scan blueprint re-create the object precisely at home.
Outside of the home however, 3D printing technology has been having far greater success. Manufacturers are able to benefit from quick prototype production, enabling sketched concepts to be swiftly tried and tested. The aerospace industry has already started producing fully functional parts via 3D print technology too, with NASA known for their frequent use of the procedure to make lightweight engine and shuttle parts. 3D printing has the potential to completely transform production supply chains, particularly when it comes to producing small parts that would have usually been shipped from one manufacturer to another.
There are incredible medical implications of this printing process too. Professionals believe that, ultimately, 3D printers could be produced to print living materials in place of plastics. Layering cells alongside a medical scaffolding substance called hydrogel, it should be possible to print the basis of human organs such as a liver or kidney, before leaving them to grown into the fully formed structure. Soon it will also be possible to print sophisticated human tissue specifically for pharmaceutical testing – which means risk free clinical testing and trials (though again a hugely controversial idea).
In conclusion, perhaps 3D printers will see their way into the homes of those who can afford such a novelty, but for the time being the real advantages will be found in manufacturing on professional scale machines. Even then 3D printing has a long way to go before it’s embraced by everyone.
About the author: This article is written by UK-based Laser Lines Ltd, a bespoke 3D printing company that have been providing 3D printing solutions for over 20 years. Visit their website to browse through their collection.
More than just a tool, 3D printing is an emerging ecosystem.
– Paul Brody, IBM on the exponential growth of the 3D printing industry
At the Siemens Global Innovation Summit in Phoenix, IBM’s Paul Brody gave a look at how manufacturing transformation is changing the traditional rules of product design and development.
Brody highlighted 3 technologies: 3D printing, intelligent robotics, and open-source engineering.
On 3D printing, he discussed key trends:
- 3D printing is rapidly achieving levels of performance required to be production-ready
- 3D printing is already used in production for medical devices and aerospace
- Performance is improving year on year
- At lower volumes, unit costs are competitive with machining and plastic injection molding
He also dove into trends on open-source and crowdsourcing, asserting that 80% of consumers told IBM they are willing to help enterprises develop their products. Brody claimed, “Accept their help or see them build your competition on Kickstarter.”
IBM had partnered with The Economist to analyze the growth rate of open-source design repositories, namely Thingiverse, and found that the number of 3D printable items is on an exponential upwards path while complexity as measured by number of parts is on a steady increase.
Paul Brody’s full talk is embedded below and more research from IBM is available here.
American iconic magazine The Atlantic invited Hugh Evans, vice president at T. Rowe Price Associates to publish an article about a technology or trend changing the markets. His topic: 3D Printing is a Game Changer.
From my vantage point, 3D printing is right up there as one of the most exciting innovations I’ve seen in the 20 years I’ve been around here. I think it’s going to change the way goods are manufactured across many industries.
Evans starts with the back story on 3D printing, how the technology evolved from producing wax-like prototypes to durable goods.
The revolution took place when companies like 3D Systems started designing radically new materials. They came up with nanocomposites, different blends of plastics, and different blends of powdered metals. They were then able to create a part that, if you held it in your hand, you’d think it was steel. You can throw it down on the ground against cement, and it looks and acts just like steel.
Later Evans mentions various industries that are embracing 3D printing.
These new materials allow this 3D printing to be adopted by aerospace, automotive. Jaguar is using the technology for rapid product development. So is the Bell Helicopter division of Textron.
One company I’m excited about is using 3D printing to make prostheses. It’s a venture-backed company in San Francisco called Bespoke Innovations. There are a large number of amputees in America and around the world–I believe something like two million people have some sort of prosthetic limb or device.
Finally, Evans talks about falling 3D printer prices, enabling consumer adoption.
Six years ago the cheapest machine out there was $30,000, but most were $100,000. Today you can get a capable 3D printer for around $1,299, which launched at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.
That’s why 3D printing is so interesting. It’s not just tied up in the engineering world anymore. It’s impacting a large number of industries, and becoming more relevant to consumers. I’m seeing that even high schools now have 3D printers. I just ran into a high school teacher the other day who teaches software classes, and he was telling me, “Oh, I just bought my first 3D printer.”
It’s exciting to see this technology begin to reach its full potential. A few years ago it was a little ahead of its time, but not anymore. It’s here today.
Read the full article at The Atlantic.
Deck of cards photo by aftab used under Creative Commons license.
In Dayton, Ohio, local industry leaders are working on plans to introduce new jobs thanks to advancements in 3D printing.
3D printing is rapidly becoming an integral part of the prototyping and production process for industries such as aerospace, jewelry, and dentistry. Now there is increased interest from the defense and energy sectors. SelectTech Services Corp, whose Executive Director is pictured above, is one such company that provides engineering services to the Department of Defense, and is incorporating 3D printing into its production process.
Here are details on the federal funding that is enabling this job creation.
The University of Dayton Research Institute is part of a statewide consortium of Ohio companies and organizations that are vying to win a federal pilot institute on additive manufacturing, said Brian Rice, head of UDRI’s Multi-Scale Composites and Polymers division. UDRI operates a reverse engineering and rapid prototyping facility with 3-D part scanning and printing capabilities.
President Obama announced the pilot institute in March as part of a $1 billion plan for a network of 15 “Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation” around the nation, serving as hubs that help manufacturers and encourage domestic investment.
Up to $45 million in federal funding has been made available for the pilot institute, which will support the Departments of Defense, Energy and other federal agencies, according to the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office.
Via Dayton Daily News.
Top 3D Printing Headlines from Last Week: $1.4 Billion Merger, The Economist, GWiz Fab Lab, 3D Design Software
A roundup of the top news On 3D Printing brought you from April 16 to April 22.
Monday, April 16
- Stratasys Merges with Objet to Create 3D Printing Powerhouse in $1.4 Billion Deal
- How Big Can 3D Printing Go?
Tuesday, April 17
- Stratasys and Objet Merger: Analysis and Key Takeaways
- 3D Printing Changes the Game for Scientific Experiments [Video]
Wednesday, April 18
- 3D Systems Acquires Paramount Industries to Advance Aerospace and Medical Device 3D Printing
- Rebuild (or Clone) the Forbidden City with 3D Printing
Thursday, April 19
- A Look Back at the History of MakerBot, 3D Printing Pioneer [Video]
- 3D Printing Earns Top 10 Fastest Growing Industries, Beats Hot Sauce Production
Friday, April 20