Even if you never feel the need to own a 3D printer of your very own, the odds are fair you may want to take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) at some point for a special gift, hard to find item, or just for the novelty. Print-on-demand manufacturing is a growing business, already operating at enough volume for companies such as Shapeways to build their own dedicated factories.
Following the general modus operandi of, “If it’s sold online, we want a piece of the action,” Amazon has taken note of the potential for sales in the print-on-demand market. The result is a partnership with 3DLT to launch a pilot program offering both print-on-demand items and digital designs ready to be printed at home, or at the office if you are sneaky enough.
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 some patent news. Royal DSM has won a patent dispute in Europe concerning the development of materials for stereolithography. The patent in question, EP1232198, titled, UV Curable Compositions, was held by 3D Systems. The successful challenge allows DSM to expand its Somos brand of stereolithography materials, and opens the door for other companies to do the same. Continue reading
So you say you have no use for 3D printed cellphone covers, no desire for building statuettes in your own image, and see no practical value in owning a home additive manufacturing (AM) system? What if it could make your clothes? Real clothes, not like the crazy outfits you see on the catwalk.
Tamicare is well on its way to bringing 3D printed textiles to the public, but other companies are hard at work on the same project. San Francisco-based Electroloom is planning to bring together 3D printing and clothing design by the end of 2014, and to accomplish its goals in an environmentally friendly manner.
A shift is coming to additive manufacturing (AM). Where AM systems were previously used mainly for prototyping or small part run needs, more and more of the business of AM is turning to end-use products. Whether it’s printed aerospace parts by the thousands or print-on-demand services from service bureaus, expect to see more 3D printed products in the future.
Of course, not every end-use product has to be serious business. Plenty of the designs on display at Shapeways are little more than novelty items. It makes perfect sense that some companies would turn to AM to create custom products for smaller market segments. Hero Forge is looking to use 3D printing to custom build miniatures for tabletop gaming. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a powerful and versatile technology that can be used to build wonders in an ever-expanding number of materials. Parts of all kinds are manufactured, AM medical devices aid patients in new and amazing ways, and endless prototypes roll out of 3D printers. For the majority of the year, Siemens, like most companies, puts their AM to work on serious projects, but the holidays brings out a bit of the whimsical in everyone.
Siemens’ Olaf Rehme has used an AM process generally intended to repair turbines to produce some high tech Christmas trees with print files from grabcad.com. The alloy used in Rehme’s trees is heat resistant to 1,300°C and is often found in turbine fans. Used for Christmas ornaments, the metal produces an interesting strata line that is perfect for representing the lines of a tree. Continue reading