Certainly not everything has gone the way President Obama might have wished during his presidency, but one move that seems to be working just fine is the foundation of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), which was recently branded “America Makes.” The program has thus far managed to connect partners from both the private and public sectors, handing out nearly $30 million in funding meant to advance AM in the US.
“We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs,” said President Obama in his State of the Union address. “My administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in Raleigh and Youngstown, where we’ve connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies.” Continue reading
This year was an interesting one for additive manufacturing (AM), with plenty of big moves inside the industry and hints of upcoming changes to the landscape from without. Medical uses for 3D printing really started to gather steam, with prosthetics being one of the largest areas of development. In 2013, we also saw a general shift in AM from a pure prototyping tool to an increase in end-use production.
Stratasys moved into the home 3D printer arena with its acquisition of MakerBot in June. That particular move, along with the merger with Objet in 2012, helped Stratasys to diversify its portfolio, branching out into areas of AM in which the company previously had little or no presence. Continue reading
Most of the hype around “democratization” as applied to additive manufacturing (AM) is based on the idea that people can design and manufacture unique products that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Of course, designing your own unique product requires you understand the basics of CAD design. It could be possible that interest in AM is building a pool of semi-qualified CAD users that could be put to work to produce specific parts or products if businesses have some way to motivate the masses.
Money is a pretty good motivator for most people. GE Aviation and GrabCAD are testing the waters of crowd sourced design by offering a cash prize to the top entries in an engineering challenge to produce a new loading bracket for jet engines. The new design should be optimized for AM and, while sponsored in part by GrabCAD, can be created in any CAD program.
By now it’s no secret that aerospace manufacturers are very interested in 3D printing. Additive manufacturing (AM) has begun to make its presence known at airshows, was already at work in the prototyping process and has become a key part of building a few, small aircraft and UAVs.
GE is just one company that has taken notice of AM and, late last year, made a significant investment in the technology when it acquired Morris Technologies, and its 3D printing service, Rapid Quality Manufacturing. Now GE is getting ready to flex its AM muscle with a large scale industrial test of 3D printing. Continue reading
Rapid Ready Roundup: 3D Systems, Mcor Partners with Staples, GE Aviation and the Evolution of the 3D Printed Wrench
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 with a look at the newest versions of 3D Systems’ ProJet line of AM systems: the ProJet 3500 HDMax and CPXMax. Both printers have the same basic specs of the older models, but offer tablet and smartphone connectivity. Additionally, the HDMax has a new high speed setting (at a slight cost in potential resolution) and the CPXMax offers an improved net build volume at higher resolutions for its RealWax casting capability. Continue reading