In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.
We’ll start today’s Roundup with a quick piece of materials news. Stratasys has released a new material named ABS2 for its line of Object Connex AM systems. According to the company, the new material has been designed to improve rigidity, durability and functionality for 3D printed objects with fine details and thin walls. Stratasys also claims ABS2 is ideal for printing cores and cavities for use in low-volume injection molding applications using thermoplastics.
With the rapid growth of additive manufacturing (AM) it’s easy to forget the market is still relatively small when compared to big business. Even the largest AM manufacturers, 3D Systems and Stratasys, aren’t large when compared to giants of industry like Apple or GE. Industry analysts have long pondered exactly what might happen to the AM field if a large company decided to enter the fray.
Possibly the best contender to dominate the 3D printing market is HP. Already a known brand name for printers, HP has the resources to crank out AM systems in short order if it decided to become a manufacturer. Now it looks as though HP is preparing to take a bite out of the AM pie by entering the market in 2014. Continue reading
Modern societies increasingly associate ownership of material objects with success. It isn’t enough just to own a lot of stuff, either, you have to own the trendy or expensive items to be considered successful. That sort of lifestyle is really only obtainable by a small percentage of any population. The have-nots simply can’t afford to follow trends while working minimum wage or low-income jobs.
The programming that tells poor people they should have more and better stuff doesn’t go away just because they can’t afford the latest iPhone. Some people will overcome the materialistic culture, some will sacrifice necessities, and some will look for alternative methods of acquisition. In the digital age, one of the most common alternative methods of acquisition is internet piracy. Continue reading
The US Patent Office has become the source of considerable amounts of consternation in the last two decades. Corporate giants battle over what seem to many onlookers as commonsense innovations (such as the shape of a cell phone), and patent trolls squat on ideas in lieu of generating new designs. It can be enough to make people wonder if the entire patent system could do with an overhaul.
Stifling competition with cease and desist orders certainly wasn’t the original purpose of the patent office. Martin Galese, a New York patent lawyer, hopes he can resurrect some faith in the institution. Instead of searching for patent violations, Galese has begun to comb through the archives in search of patents that have fallen into the public domain and rework those designs as 3D models for modern additive manufacturing (AM) systems. Continue reading
I don’t really like covering the whole 3D printed guns fiasco. The whole thing seems to be begging for a knee-jerk reaction from lawmakers and is based more on fear than an actual threat. Low tech guns have been around for a while, and that’s pretty much the status of 3D printed guns.
No, if I’m going to cover the less than savory uses additive manufacturing (AM) has been put to, I’d much rather look at less dangerous aspects. Like printing keys, for example. A group of MIT students have developed a method to replicate high security keys using a 3D printer. Continue reading