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
The majority of what we cover here at Rapid Ready is based on additive manufacturing (AM) technology, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try to keep an eye on the subtractive field as well. We covered one possible contender in the subtractive field here and today we present another possibility.
The name of the game in prototyping these days is speed. It’s no accident that we include the “rapid” half of rapid prototyping in our name. Working in collaboration with colleagues Stefanie Mueller and Pedro Lopes, Patrick Baudisch from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany has created a freehand laser cutter technique that can quickly produce prototypes.
Not all rapid prototyping is done with additive manufacturing (AM). One area that is still just outside the AM realm is printed circuit boards (though maybe not for long). In the meantime, though, we’ll look at another method of creating printed circuit boards (PCB) rapidly.
LPKF is a German company with a line of PBS prototype machines. The Protomat S-Series are bench sized machines designed to be used in-house. Features include automatic tool change, solder paste dispensing and automatic milling depth adjustment. Each machine comes pre-loaded with software to assist with the prototyping process.
Here at Rapid Ready, we like to keep you up to date with the current state of rapid technologies, which include more than just additive manufacturing. In this case, we’d like to share a piece of subtractive technology that shows promise for industry and hobbyists alike.
The creative folks at MIT’s Responsive Environments Group have created a smart milling device they’ve dubbed the FreeD. The FreeD is a handheld tool that uses CAD files to assist in the creation of milled objects.