Terry Wohlers of the consulting and research firm, Wohlers Associates, kicked off the second day of the RAPID 2013 Conference and Exhibition in Pittsburgh this morning. As he has in years past, Wohlers presented findings from his annual Wohlers Report, which tracks the additive manufacturing industry.
Wohlers took a global perspective of the technology and provided perspective on where the industry might go in the future. But first, he looked back to 1988 when 3D Systems first commercialized additive manufacturing. Continue reading
As the additive manufacturing (AM) industry continues to expand, more and more 3D designs are making their way on to the Internet. Sites like Thingiverse and Shapeways offer thousands of 3D model designs, and similar sites are popping up all the time. That doesn’t even take into account the private model libraries stored in the computer banks of manufacturers and service bureaus. Taken as a whole, we are awash in 3D models.
While having all that variety and potential floating around out there isn’t a bad thing, it can make finding a supplier that happens to have (and can produce) the same kind of model as the one you need something of a challenge. Naming is part of the problem. What I call a square, you might call a block. If I try Googling service bureaus that can print squares, I’m not as likely to find exactly what I need. 3D Industries (3DI) intends to solve this issue with its new part search service. Continue reading
3D printing isn’t just an amazing technology for rapid prototyping or manufacturing, it can also be fun. A number of companies are offering 3D printed figurines, some companies print in chocolate, and even Lego uses additive manufacturing (AM) to make the blocks you loved as a child.
Now Signal Snowboards is adding to the fun by designing the first 3D printed snowboard. To this point, snowboards have mainly been constructed from fiberglass and wood. With the help of AM service bureau GROWit, Signal Snowboards designed and printed out the pieces of a board built from graphite material. Continue reading
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.
Let’s begin today’s Roundup with a look at materials. Solid Concepts has released information about its new Polyjet Over-Mold process. Using an Objet Connex500, the over-mold combines PolyJet White with PolyJet Flex Black to create over-molded prototypes more quickly than is possible with the usual casting methods. A single object can incorporate shore hardness between Shore 27A to Shore 95A. Continue reading