During a casual conversation at RAPID 2012 with several engineers and additive manufacturing (AM) professionals, it was generally agreed that one of the biggest hurdles standing in the way of a more widespread acceptance of the technology among businesses was the newness factor. People get used to doing something in one way and, as long as that method continues to produce results, are often loathe to try anything different.
This sort of reluctance is one of the reasons why many new ideas come from students or recent graduates. Rather than just accepting the reasoning of, “This is how we’ve always done it,” someone with a fresh perspective is better capable of thinking outside the box. Students at the University of Bayreuth have proven this idea with their novel use of a sand mold. Continue reading
Henry Ford is attributed with the creation of the assembly line, ushering in a new era of mass manufacturing. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of business or history knows this innovation allowed Ford to create products that were less expensive to manufacture and easier to maintain. To use a frequently overused phrase, the assembly line was a game changer.
Now it appears as though the wheel is turning back toward crafted products, or as crafted as an additive manufacturing (AM) part can get. In collaboration with Stratasys, inventor Jim Kor is building a car using AM to produce the parts. You may have heard of the Urbee a few years ago, when Kor first rolled out his prototype vision of what the car would look like (which was also made with AM), but now Kor claims he’s ready to begin production. Continue reading
All the parties have ended, the ball has dropped, and people have dragged themselves off to bed. 2013 is sure to be an interesting year for additive manufacturing (AM). Before I get started on the new, let’s take a quick look at some of the most important, or most interesting, stories of 2012 from Rapid Ready Tech.
In April, Stratasys (company profile) launched its desktop, professional 3D printer; the Mojo. With a price point of under $10,000, the Mojo offered small businesses a low-cost alternative to using service bureaus for rapid prototyping. This was only the beginning of a year of serious moves by Stratasys. Continue reading
While I enjoy breaking up all the tech heavy talk about additive manufacturing (AM) here at Rapid Ready with stories about how 3D printing is being used in unexpected ways, I haven’t forgotten that rapid prototyping is still the heart of the AM movement. Yes, on-demand manufacturing is growing by leaps and bounds, but, overall, most AM systems are still chugging away making prototypes.
The devil is in the details. I find snippets, here and there, from companies that mention they’ve begun using AM, but not much in the way of specifics. Until recently, it almost seemed like 3D printing was something businesses were trying to keep behind closed doors. That is beginning to change, and for the better. Continue reading