Some things just seem to go together. Peanut butter and jelly, Oreos and milk, and, quite possibly, printed electronics and additive manufacturing (AM). I’m hardly the only one to notice this particular combo. Disney, and a team effort by Stratasys and Optomec, have worked with the idea of combining the two technologies to create a greater whole.
3D printing is already capable of producing complex parts, but hasn’t really moved forward with creating products with advanced functionality. Printed electronics are becoming a hotter commodity, to the point of being recognized as part of the greater printing community, as can be seen with the attention the technology is receiving at the SGIA Expo. Printed electronics are cool all on their own, but, metaphorically speaking, need a place to live in order to realize their full potential. Continue reading
Kind of like the Force (and duct tape), technology has a light side and a dark side. This is true for even the most basic tech. Fire can cook your meal or burn down a house. It’s tempting to focus on the bad and overlook the good. Just like in school, the bad kids got more attention than the good kids, but a smart teacher doesn’t paint all children with the same brush.
The rise of 3D printing will bring out the good and bad in people, just like every other technology. For every 100 people that print out a doorstop, you’ll have a couple using the technology to pirate objects and designs. I’ve covered some of this ground in earlier posts, but I thought it might be worthwhile examining the issue from a different angle.
Slowly but surely additive manufacturing (AM) is insinuating itself into industry. Maybe not even so slowly. The basic strengths of AM (complex internal geometries, the capability to create strong, lightweight objects) are of particular interest to aerospace companies to help reduce fuel costs and lower manufacturing expenditures.
We first looked at AM and aerospace all the way back here and more recently here. In 2011, the University of Southampton demonstrated a 3D printed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Part of what made the UAV of interest to the aerospace community was that it was printed as one piece, rather than as a number of different parts that required additional construction. This offered the possibility of speeding up production.
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing, 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.
Lots of additive manufacturing (AM) folks are on the road lately, bringing the gospel of 3D printing to a workshop near you. Optomec will be visiting the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, for SEMICON West. The conference runs from July 10-12.