Jump to content

3D Printing


Minion
 Share

Recommended Posts

A person can design something using a 3D CAD system, such as AutoCAD, FreeCAD or OpenSCAD, or find something already designed (e.g., something in ThingVerse) and have it printed by a service. Or, a person may purchase a 3D printer, such as a MakerBot or RepRap, and print your own. Although, RepRap printers are open source, which means you can either buy the plastic parts or print them if you have a 3D printer, buy the things you cannot print, and make more printers.

 

The idea behind the RepRap movement is for everyone to own their own printer and print things they want from inexpensive (perhaps recycled) plastic. Although MakerBot and RepRap make plastic things, other 3D printers make things from other materials. Scientists have already built a nanoscale 3D printer. There are also industrial grade 3D printers that make things from metal and other materials.

 

Whether it is less expensive to make something in a Chinese factory and ship it around the world or make it locally with a 3D printer may one day determine where things are made. Today, few things are made for consumers using 3D printing technology.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"3D printing" is unrelated to printing of any kind. It is just a name for a new type of manufacturing. It works with plastic. I saw them in operation and there is no doubt that low volume plastic parts in the future will be made by these machines. For higher volume plastic parts molds are made that often cost $50,000. and up. When prototypes or volumes less than maybe 10,000 parts are needed, the "3D printing" machinery/ process will probably be cheaper. Also great detail and precision can also be acheived with this equipment. It's certainly a technology of the future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

how would you make a use of it?

A friend of mine brought a prototype of a new design over to my house over the weekend. What we did with it: print shot glasses, bracelets, a bike derailer, and a fun little gear thing.

It works with plastic. I saw them in operation and there is no doubt that low volume plastic parts in the future will be made by these machines. For higher volume plastic parts molds are made that often cost $50,000. and up. When prototypes or volumes less than maybe 10,000 parts are needed, the "3D printing" machinery/ process will probably be cheaper. Also great detail and precision can also be acheived with this equipment. It's certainly a technology of the future.

Actually, the patent for laser 3-d printing expires this year or next year. With that method, you get higher density and can more easily print metal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Actually, the patent for laser 3-d printing expires this year or next year. With that method, you get higher density and can more easily print metal.

 

Yes, I just read about this — the laser sintering method of printing is free of patent come February, and is reportedly better than fused deposition. So the price for these printers should come down, just as they did with the FDM printers.

http://www.designboom.com/technology/3d-printing-patents-expiring-in-2014-will-see-market-erupt/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend of mine brought a prototype of a new design over to my house over the weekend. What we did with it: print shot glasses, bracelets, a bike derailer, and a fun little gear thing.

 

Actually, the patent for laser 3-d printing expires this year or next year. With that method, you get higher density and can more easily print metal.

 

I guess you could do the same thing with metal. I have not heard of the technology yet though. After the patent runs out the technology will be cheaper. But the machines are not too expensive right now. As I recall just a few thousand dollars for a small desk size model. One interesting facet of the technology is that such a machine can produce most of the parts for another machine like itself.

Edited by pantheory
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I guess you could do the same thing with metal. I have not heard of the technology yet though. After the patent runs out the technology will be cheaper. But the machines are not too expensive right now. As I recall just a few thousand dollars for a small desk size model. One interesting facet of the technology is that such a machine can produce most of the parts for another machine like itself.

There are commercial 3D printers that make things from almost any material, e.g., here for metal. I think the patent that is about to expire is for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) that can make things from many materials, including metal and ceramics. The open source world is working on a 3D printer using another technology that will print metal. These printers are additive; they add material to make parts.

 

There are also 3D printers that cut material from stock, they include laser cutting machines and even conventional computer controlled milling machines. Almost anything that makes a 3D part can be called a 3D printer now, it is a marketing buzzword. The original printers (e.g., Gutenberg's press) were not computer controlled, why should a 3D printer be computer controlled. One can only guess what marketeers will say and what will make its way into our language.

 

The important thing about 3D printing is not what they are called or the process they use; it is moving light manufacturing from an industrial complex into shopping malls and our homes. It is also the ability to print things with complex shapes that milling and molding cannot make or cannot economically make, The important thing about the open source movement is to empower individuals with the ability to make their own things rather than rely on businesses. Eventually, heavy manufacturing may similarly change.

 

Perhaps one day, our home may contain intelligent 3D printers and assemblers that recycle materials from broken things and remake them, including home maintenance, all run on solar power. In one sense it is a utopian idea, but it is also what nature does to maintain an environment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are commercial 3D printers that make things from almost any material, e.g., here for metal. I think the patent that is about to expire is for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) that can make things from many materials, including metal and ceramics. The open source world is working on a 3D printer using another technology that will print metal. These printers are additive; they add material to make parts.

 

There are also 3D printers that cut material from stock, they include laser cutting machines and even conventional computer controlled milling machines. Almost anything that makes a 3D part can be called a 3D printer now, it is a marketing buzzword. The original printers (e.g., Gutenberg's press) were not computer controlled, why should a 3D printer be computer controlled. One can only guess what marketeers will say and what will make its way into our language.

 

The important thing about 3D printing is not what they are called or the process they use; it is moving light manufacturing from an industrial complex into shopping malls and our homes. It is also the ability to print things with complex shapes that milling and molding cannot make or cannot economically make, The important thing about the open source movement is to empower individuals with the ability to make their own things rather than rely on businesses. Eventually, heavy manufacturing may similarly change.

 

Perhaps one day, our home may contain intelligent 3D printers and assemblers that recycle materials from broken things and remake them, including home maintenance, all run on solar power. In one sense it is a utopian idea, but it is also what nature does to maintain an environment.

 

3D printers are cool alright. That metal part you showd on your link seems like it could not have been manufactured any other way. Engineers can run wild designing square holes and other otherwise impossible to manufacture features. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

3D printers are cool alright. That metal part you showd on your link seems like it could not have been manufactured any other way. Engineers can run wild designing square holes and other otherwise impossible to manufacture features. smile.png

 

Actually the ability to cut square holes isn't that amazing. I can do it in a block of wood with a power drill and an odd little drill bit built around a Reuleaux triangle. As the bit cuts, it forms a square hole in the material.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

how would you make a use of it?

 

http://www.livescience.com/38294-3d-printing-in-china.html

 

 

"3D printing" is already beginning to produce very large amounts of manufactured goods. Sometimes very complicated designs that cannot be manufactured any other way, can be manufactured by these machines. Almost any kind of part, plastic or metal, can be made by this 3D manufacturing method. Only the most finely machined parts with very high dimensional tolerances, might require conventional machine. Remember 3D printing is just a very poor name given for what these CAD CAM machines are really doing. It's just a cool buz word.

 

We are already making great use of these machines. Maybe 10% of everything manufactured in our future all over the world, may be made by these kinds of machines. Manufacturing is much more economical with these machines, concerning low-volume parts (maybe less than a thousand parts).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.