As interesting as I find the development and potential expressed by each new additive manufacturing (AM) system, I enjoy writing about humanitarian applications of the technology. AM offers the possibility of changing the world in so many different ways, such as 3D printing projects developed to help the blind better experience the world around them.
Another example of how AM can help individuals can be seen at a hospital in Walga, Ethiopia. A defective turbine wheel resulted in the hospital’s loss of electricity, and the clinic was unable to afford to purchase a replacement part. An effort to aid the hospital, led by Turbal AG, and assisted by Voxeljet, among other companies, led to the gift of a new turbine wheel. Continue reading
When I started writing for Rapid Ready, I didn’t expect to talk about creating actual buildings. My knowledge of additive manufacturing (AM) was limited to rapid prototyping and the few toys (like cell phone covers) that were available at the time. Then I found Monolite UK. And then came Softkill and then ESA’s moon base plan.
All in all, I find the idea of AM construction to be fascinating. Hopefully, you find the idea of 3D printing a building just as interesting as I do, because I have more information on the subject to share. Contour Crafting is the brainchild of Behrokh Khoshnevis, professor of industrial and systems engineering, aerospace and mechanical engineering, and civil and environmental engineering at the University of Southern California. Continue reading
To quote a song you may remember from the early ’80s, “Everything counts in large amounts.” This sentiment certainly seems to be the case in additive manufacturing (AM). One dominant trend in new AM systems is that of size. We’ve covered a number of the emerging giants of 3D printing, and the build envelopes just continue to increase.
Sciaky’s Direct Manufacturing (DM) process has moved from being able to print large parts to printing out entire wing boxes of fighter jets. DM boasts a build area of 19 ft. x 4 ft. x 4 ft., and is flexible enough in design that the build area could be increased to tackle larger jobs. Continue reading
Some of the hoopla surrounding 3D printing has included the premise that it can reshore jobs in countries that have seen labor outsourced to places like China, Mexico and India. With additive manufacturing (AM), it doesn’t make sense to ship jobs around the globe, when the shortened supply chain could make up for wage disparity. Long trips by slow ships also negatively impacts the production speed offered by rapid prototyping and manufacturing.
Sure, most people understand that an AM factory isn’t going to employ the sheer number of workers as the good old days, but it’s one step up from the service industry grind. Building an infrastructure for the new supply chain will create additional jobs, and so on. iRobot may upset that budding paradigm if it delivers on a recent patent. Continue reading