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Sat Mar 31, 2012, 10:04 AM

article about 3D printing

http://www.businessinsider.com/3d-printing-2011-2

To hear enthusiasts tell it, the technique of additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing, has the potential to change not just manufacturing, but the world.

3D printing today makes prototyping and manufacturing complex, custom objects simpler but tomorrow, everyone will have a 3D printer on their desk and make their own sneakers and hats.

3D printing is getting hyped right now, with a front page story in The Economist and a long article in the Times, but we actually think it is underhyped.

Even if it fails to meet some of the expectations of its boosters (and that's not a foregone conclusion), 3D printing will still probably become an enormous industry and have a tremendous impact on how we buy, sell and produce things

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Reply article about 3D printing (Original post)
steve2470 Mar 2012 OP
onehandle Mar 2012 #1
dipsydoodle Mar 2012 #2
liberal N proud Mar 2012 #3
tibbiit Mar 2012 #4
saras Mar 2012 #5
tibbiit Mar 2012 #6
provis99 Mar 2012 #7
3dscanman Apr 2012 #8

Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 10:18 AM

1. It's going to take some serious material upgrades to make sneakers.

Anything that needs to take a beating.

But, yes. Eventually it will be just another appliance in our lives.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 10:28 AM

2. Sounds good to me

the world needs more Pork Pie hats.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 10:50 AM

3. Materials available for this process have come a long way

But they have far to go to be a real manufacturing option.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 12:21 PM

4. We already are using models from 3d printing on a daily basis in my work space

Models for the fabrication of crowns and bridges in a Dental Lab are printed at a large printing facility and sent to us. The dentist cuts the tooth down (preps... a prep) then scans the mouth with this wand. The scanner records exact measurements of the prep, the adjacent teeth, and the opposing, emails the measurements to the 3d printer, and a few days later we get the printed models to make the crown.
It is very cool and very accurate. No gross impressions with trays and goo made.. so easy on the patient.

tib

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 12:25 PM

5. Nice fantasy, sucky reality

 

The raw materials problem has not been addressed at all. We have no infrastructure to ship needed raw materials to construct anything of use, unless they are deliberately planning vast reductions in quality also (i.e. no one gets to wear anything better than cheapass plastic shoes.) But precious metals? Toxic precursor chemicals? Solvents and acids? Semiconductors? Or have they figured out how to transmute elements as well?

Aside from prototypes and molds, where the process is immensely useful, it's hard to see a use for it except to replace "cheap plastic crap from China", which can more easily be replaced with better substitutes than plastic, or often simply not replaced - it's just cheap plastic crap, after all.

Back in the real world, I can look all through my house and not find anything - ANYTHING - of value that could POSSIBLY be produced by a 3D plastic printer, except for a broken plastic part on my OLD printer. Is their idea of the future that everyone is condemned to (probably identical, right?) plastic shoes and hats? The shoes I have now have about twenty different materials in them, and need them all (i.e. you can do it simpler, but they will be inferior). The only "plastic" hats I've ever seen or worn, besides hardhats and bike helmets (which people will NOT make at home for safety and insurance reasons), have required aesthetically skilled knitters or crocheters - neither generic commercial patterns nor incompetent amateurism suffice.

I just don't get what people are supposed to want this for. I know that back when I was building electronic prototypes, I might have wanted one to make custom cases for my gear, but I had to make the GEAR first, and it WASN'T all plastic. And that's hardly a normal use anyways - that's someone who fancies owning their own mini-factory.

Personally I think it's VASTLY overhyped, which is the reason it hasn't developed faster in the twenty years it's been around. It's just not that useful outside of mold-making departments in manufacturing enterprises.

But technology is ALWAYS over-hyped. The good information about the negatives typically follows a decade later, when it's too late to change course.

As Jerry Mander puts it, the question is NOT whether a particular technology benefits YOU. The question is who benefits MOST from the introduction of a new technology. And, does giving that group this much benefit tend to separate them from the rest of the people or does it tend to bring the people who benefit most and those who benefit least closer together?

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Response to saras (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 01:50 PM

6. imo you will be proven off in your assesment

Why not wait and see instead of auto-condem? There are real applications for this in medicine. (Custom body/bone replacement parts, ceramics as hard as steel etc) Not just replace crap from china lol.
tib

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Response to saras (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 07:47 PM

7. 3D Printers are being used to make human organs.

 

by using a patient's own tissues as the building material, they can circumvent organ rejection and organ translant waiting lists
http://www.ted.com/talks/anthony_atala_printing_a_human_kidney.html

It's pretty exciting technology.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 09:09 AM

8. The 2012 3D Printing Media Darling

Last edited Sun Apr 1, 2012, 09:55 AM - Edit history (1)

Saras is not that far off in a previous reply, because of recent acquisitions and some rather lame tech/geek media appearances by entrepreneurs - 3D printing has made it to the spotlight in 2012, mostly on fumes and false pretense.

3D printing in it's current "portable" form has been around since the early 90's, SLA (stereo-lithography) has been around since the mid 80's. SLA machines which use liquid resin have not changed very much at all in the last 25 years. Walter Reed Army Medical Center has been using SLA technology to "print" prosthetic's for injured war-fighters for years - they also use that technology to create visual surgical aids and mocks for implants, this is nothing new.

Now referred to as "additive" manufacturing, 3D printing holds promise in several areas, particularly as earlier noted - in the medical and mold industries. The latter though, will call into question the entire legal/copyright infringement process as items with creative content are "3D printed". But lets get real as it applies to the everyday consumer... which is why this technology is making the headlines recently - low cost 3D printing for the "household".

Low end 3D printing devices ($500 to $5000) are crap, aside from the techno geek spendthrift who wants to tinker with a glorified glue gun to make an ambiguous facsimile in 3D plastic goop that only they may be able to recognize - 3D printing is a long way from any useful insertion into the modern consumer household. Printing a pair of 3D Shoes will cost you upwards of $300 in semi-durable material stock and be completely useless when it comes to wearing them - shelf objects only.

Machines that are capable of producing truly durable items with any degree of accuracy start at $50K and rise to over $1M (that's million) dollars - higher degree's of accuracy in reproduction and ascending material capabilities drive the cost of these machines so high that only the elite of the elite corporations can afford these machines. This has not changed in the last ten years and is unlikely to change anytime in the immediate future.

What has changed; really good stepper motor/controller electronic technology, bound with decent open source g-code processing software has made it to the land of the common man. All of which means... if you want spend a $1000 on something that melts ABS plastic in to a semi-recognizable pile of goo, then consider yourself an official geek. Practical application for the consumer is not here - yet. Someday? Maybe 10-15 years..? To be sure, higher visibility in this technology will escalate it's maturation for the consumer market - but don't believe that you can print apparel or that replacement widget anytime soon in your own home at any degree of sane price or cost investment. Online services are the ones to watch, they do volume printing and have high end equipment to produce decent parts/objects - but initially, you will have to supply them with a 3D model.

That process alone - of supplying a digital model for 3D printing - is fraught with an entanglement of legal implications and the lines for litigation regarding 3D digital copyright infringement are being drawn in industry as we speak.

But the low end stuff is what is making all the headlines these days - as all of the current news articles are churned out about 3D printing they talk about items produced with high end hardware, not the low end junk that has been seen on TV and trade shows as of late. There is a distinct "gap" in this 3D printing news of the day that people who are unfamiliar with the technology don't seem to recognize. The exciting "new" 3D printing technology articles - are half truth's, propagandized media phenomenon promoted largely by the news-wire and uninformed writers in this area of technology.

It is nice to know that the genre of 3D printing technology is making it to the lay person - but at the lay level, for all the stories running out there, it is still more fantasy than fact for the common consumer.

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