It could be said that one way to measure how much a new technology has caught on is by the amount of support offered. Additive manufacturing (AM) might not be exactly new, but it has been propelled into the spotlight fairly recently. Companies like Autodesk have offered support for 3D printing for years, but only recently have companies immediately recognizable to the general public, such as Microsoft, begun to offer similar support intended for a more general audience.
Now Adobe, provider of the most well-known image and design software on the planet, has added 3D printing support to Photoshop Creative Cloud (CC). Not only does Photoshop now allow users to work with 3D images, it also directly supports a number of 3D printers, including the MakerBot Replicator and 3D Systems’ Cube, along with built-in service bureau access in the form of Shapeways. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a powerful and versatile technology that can be used to build wonders in an ever-expanding number of materials. Parts of all kinds are manufactured, AM medical devices aid patients in new and amazing ways, and endless prototypes roll out of 3D printers. For the majority of the year, Siemens, like most companies, puts their AM to work on serious projects, but the holidays brings out a bit of the whimsical in everyone.
Siemens’ Olaf Rehme has used an AM process generally intended to repair turbines to produce some high tech Christmas trees with print files from grabcad.com. The alloy used in Rehme’s trees is heat resistant to 1,300°C and is often found in turbine fans. Used for Christmas ornaments, the metal produces an interesting strata line that is perfect for representing the lines of a tree. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry by offering increased customization for consumers. Sites like Shapeways exist to provide customers with unique 3D printed products that can be tweaked to suit the customer’s desires. Only AM could offer the sort of end-use products sold on Shapeways, thanks to the technology’s design and material flexibility.
Following its acquisition by Google, Motorola has also been focusing on customization. The early steps were similar to those taken by Nokia, offering variously colored cases and different configurations of the Moto X. Perhaps unsatisfied by mainly cosmetic options, Motorola has moved on to Project Ara, and the goal of developing a modular smartphone with the assistance of 3D Systems. Continue reading
Regardless of its focus, a museum offers more to society than a place where people can gaze at carefully prepared displays. Museums are really centers for education and research, and the displays are as much a side effect of learning as they are the main point. Even if you are just a visitor, a good trip to a museum should leave you enlightened, it should teach you something about the world around you.
As additive manufacturing (AM) enters the mainstream of public consciousness, much work remains in educating the public on how the technology works and what it is capable of producing. Museums are natural partners for this kind of education. The Science Museum in London, England and the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York City have set up exhibits featuring 3D printing. Continue reading