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 start today’s Roundup on the right foot. Nike is using AM not only for prototyping, but to manufacture new shoes, specifically the brand new Vapor Laser Talon (VLT). The VLT (sounds like a sandwich) is a football cleat that has been optimized for the 40-yard dash, with selective laser sintered soles designed to help athletes keep the proper stride. Continue reading
You can usually find a number of stories about additive manufacturing (AM) floating around that have the same theme. Most of them are of the, “How does 3D printing work?” variety, but there are a couple other popular ones as well. One of them is 3D printed guns, and following closely on that topic’s heels is the potential for piracy with AM.
A number of companies have come up with their own ideas for digital IP protection, most of them based on DRM-like technology, or continuing with the ever-popular DMCA takedown notice. Fabulonia, an upcoming clearinghouse for 3D designs, claims to have a solution to piracy that doesn’t involve either of those old chestnuts. Continue reading
I spend nearly every day reading and writing about additive manufacturing (AM). I know the terminology, the players, the processes, and the industries involved. In short, I know plenty about AM. Compared to the encyclopedia of AM knowledge contained in Terry Wohlers’ mind, though, I might have just heard about this whole 3D printing thing for the first time today.
We talk a lot about Wohlers (and his consulting firm, Wohlers Associates) here at Rapid Ready. We’ve asked him about the Stratasys/Objet merger, we frequently quote him, and we (particularly, me) give thanks to your deity of preference that his yearly report exists. It seemed only proper that we ask for a bit of his time to sit down and have a conversation with him. He very graciously accepted. Continue reading
Every year thousands of designers, engineers and manufacturers gather in Frankfurt, Germany for the EuroMold conference. Last year’s attendance tallied to nearly 60,000, including attendees from 97 different nations. With those numbers and the diversity of attendees, EuroMold is one of the premiere events around the world for manufacturing of every sort, including additive manufacturing (AM).
Any conference of this size is made up of multiple, smaller themes and events. Rapid Ready already covered the International Wohlers Conference, run, not coincidentally, by Wohlers Associates. That is only the tip of the iceberg for what is to be available for this year’s EuroMold. Continue reading
One of the few criticisms I hear about additive manufacturing (AM) is that it isn’t “practical” for creating end-use products. “It’ll never beat injection molding” or “It isn’t like they’re making cars with it.” I think this is the wrong attitude to take about any upcoming technology. Why does AM need to replace anything in order to be a viable part of the manufacturing industry as a whole?
Those statements are obviously opinion and aren’t entirely accurate. AM is already being used to create vehicle parts and speeds up the development cycle for more traditionally machined parts. The technology has been embraced by aerospace and defense for its adaptability. So while it’s true AM isn’t printing whole cars, what if it could?