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3D Printing Trends From PWC Report

In 3-D printing, hundreds or thousands of layers of material are “printed” layer upon layer using various materials, or “inks,”2 most commonly plastic polymers and metals. The many different printing technologies are generally material dependent. (See the sidebar “3-D printing technologies.”) For instance, fused filament fabrication (FFF) is used with plastics, stereolithography with photosensitive polymers, laser sintering with metals, and so on.

3-D printing technologies
The printers must be improved in three areas to seize the opportunities that exist beyond today’s predominant use case of rapid prototyping:

Performance: Improve key performance characteristics, such as speed, resolution, autonomous operation, ease of use, reliability, and repeatability.

Multi-material capability and diversity: Incorporate multiple types of materials, including the ability to mix materials while printing a single object.

Finished products: Provide the ability to print fully functional and active systems that incorporate many modules, such as embedded sensors, batteries, electronics, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and others.

Today’s 3-D printers are concentrated at two ends of a spectrum: high cost–high capability and low cost–low capability. (See Figure 2.) High-end printers are generally targeted at enterprises and 3-D printing service bureaus; low-end printers, which are often derivatives of open source RepRap3 printers, are targeted at consumers and hobbyists.

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Posted in Education

3D Printing Book Debunks Five Myths Of 3D Printing

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Let’s 3D bunk these myths. Most new technologies get pushback. The resistance comes from people who are afraid of it, who can’t grasp the relevance, who don’t understand new technology in general, or those who have entrenched interests in keeping the status quo. Many radio stations fought television’s market entrance. The survivors grasped the new technology (TV) and added it to their portfolios. NBC has radio stations AND TV stations.
So let’s 3D bunk these myths one by one.

Myth #1: 3D printing will not catch on because it is too technical. The interesting question is, too technical for who? Engineers and manufacturing technicians have always been technical people. These practitioners have been dealing with design drawings and specifications and blueprints (print and electronic) for decades, so they will clearly grasp new technologies quickly. However, the consumer will also. The “how” of 3D printing won’t be interesting to many of us; we will be interested in the benefits of it. What will it do for my business, my brand, or my needs?

As 3D printing applications mature, so does their ease of use. Right now there are even iPhone and iPad apps that allow consumers to create, augment, design, and order 3D-printed specialty products by tracing their fingers over a tablet computer. The apps get easier to use and cost less and less over time. My nine-year-old can design and print her own tea cups. Too technical? Not true.

Myth #2: Most people won’t do any 3D printing because they aren’t manufacturing people. The best part about myths is that there can be some truth to them. In this case, the statement is true; most people are not manufacturing people. But most people are not plumbers either! Does this mean the entire field of plumbing hasn’t gotten more advanced, more accessible to the consumer (look at all the plumbing parts available in Home Depot) and more user friendly? Since we as people are still going to need “stuff,” we are still going to need “stuff” made. 3D printing is another way to make “stuff.” Even if everyone doesn’t become a home manufacturer, we are still consumers.

Myth #3: 3D printing will never replace traditional assembly line manufacturing. There is truth to this as well. Assembly lines with large economies of scale will not go away. Those assembly lines may move from country to country, but won’t disappear as a methodology. But who says 3D printing has to replace it? Can’t it augment it? Just as TV did not replace radio, this rapid prototyping and incredible customization will add to assembly line’s capabilities. And once the small runs available through 3D printing are utilized, we can go back to the large runs to get the per unit cost down.

Myth #4: 3D printers are very slow and take a long time to make one product, so who can wait? If the 13,000 audiologists (people who fit patients with hearing aids) service clients one at a time and can manufacture on demand for each patient, then the wait is even less than ordering a hearing aid. Over and over again we hear of one-off needs for people that are satisfied by 3D printing. Let’s also not forget that early computers were slow. Early Internet access was dial-up. Early cars went 15 miles/hour. This technology will get faster and faster.

Myth #5: You can only make plastic junk from 3D printers. Not true. While some experts are fighting to make 3D printers faster, others are working on using different materials to feed into the 3D printer. Currently 3D printers can work with glass, metal alloys, stem cells (to make kidneys and other body parts) food, pharmaceuticals, plastics, dental materials, photo-polymers, resins, bacteria, and the list goes on and on.

Read How to 3D Print Money for the next five 3D printing Myths.

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3D Printing Online Learning Course – Available For 3D Printing Enthusiasts

This course focusses on running the business of 3D Printing. A no-nonsence approach to sales, marketing, advertising and finance in the 3D Printing world. The learning model works well in the fragmented 3D Printing learning space.

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Big Data And 3D Printing – 5 Reasons People Fear Big Data Analytics

So, with 3D Printing and the Internet of Things happening, it takes us to one key place: data analytics.

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Posted in Business

Will Big Data Enhance 3D Printing?

Here are 4 Ways Big Data and 3D Printing Go Hand In Hand

1. Data Enables Custom Manufacturing. The efficiency and customization power of 3D printing could turn production inside out. Instead of mass producing goods and trying to sell as many as possible, companies can now build products on request.

The data implication? Huge backlogs of CAD (computer-aided design) files corresponding to the items they create. Imagine a catalog, but on a much larger scale. These files can be massive and complex, which inevitably means they’ll require more server space, stringent security, and keen archival methods.

2. Data Feeds Quality Assurance. GE Aviation says it will be building more than 100,000 engine components with 3D printing by 2020. This method is faster and more efficient in terms of labor, but it also requires more advanced quality control. Countless factors can affect the outcome of the final product, including temperature, alignment, deflection, shrinkage, expansion, structural integrity, and more.

3. 3D Printing and Data Visualization. As the global data pool multiplies, companies in all sectors are searching for innovative ways to make sense of their data.

Two researchers at MIT proved 3D printing’s utility as a data visualization tool when they fabricated a 3D scale model of the MIT campus and used colored lights from a projector to display various data about the school, such as building height and Twitter posts by location.

The advantage of the model, they said, is that it provides a fixed framework for displaying variable data inputs.

4. Printing Data Storage. There has been some speculation about the possibility of 3D printing storage drives, server components, circuit boards, and other technology. In theory, these printed drives could host the data used for printing other tangible goods.

Big Data will be used everywhere.

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Posted in Engineering, Ideas

3D Printing Slideshow and Big Data Trends – What Is The Connection?

Where does Big Data and 3D Printing Meet?

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Posted in Business

3D Printing And Big Data – More And More Big Things Coming

big data

3D Printing Industry growth leads to Big Data use. What many people don’t know about 3D Printing is that the technology is data driven. CAD drawings are created and and used. Many are purchase or downloaded for free off the internet.
Once a product is built, it is easy to embed the Internet of Things (IOT) into it: tracking devices, GPS, temperature regulators, calculators, calorie counters and the list goes on.

What does this mean for Big Data? Well, the very definition is that Big Data takes information from many different sources and makes sense of them. For more information see the slideshow below.

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Posted in Business

3D Printing Ups and Downs – Where Will The 3D Printing Industry Go?

There have been some meteoric rises in the 3d Printing Industry. But a couple of problems persist:
Lack of a Single Defining Application

Historically, personal computers became ubiquitous through their productivity applications. Investment in personal computers became a tangible benefit due to the presence of productivity applications, such as VisiCalc and Word. 2D paper-based printers enabled similar efficiencies. Such applications are conspicuously absent in 3D printers. Their use has remained confined to a niche audience of hobbyists enthralled by the future possibilities of the technology.

Within the mainstream market, 3D printers are mainly used to prototype models for designers and body parts for medical students. The materials commonly used for 3D printing—PLA and ABS, both plastics—and imperfections of the technology make it difficult for average consumers to print useful or complex objects. But that is all changing…

Quality and Material Issues in Manufacturing

3D printing holds much promise in manufacturing. For starters, it can enable crafting of custom products in an easy and cost-effective manner. Secondly, it can shorten supply chain cycles by collapsing multiple product manufacturing processes into a fewer number of steps. But, 3D printing’s limited consumer use is mirrored in the manufacturing sector. According to a report by consulting firm PriceWaterhouse Cooper, only 0.9% of surveyed companies used 3D printing for production of final products or components.

A majority of organizations surveyed for the report said they were either not planning to use the technology or were still researching it. Part of the skepticism around 3D printing in the manufacturing sector related to the final quality of the finished product. Roughly half of the surveyed manufacturers stated that the final quality of products made with 3D printers was uncertain. Almost half of the respondents also pointed to expensive prices and the technology’s limitations in terms of materials for their lack of enthusiasm for the technology. Taken together, these reasons are a succinct (and quantitative) summary of problems with 3D printing.

According to the report, the sweet spot for 3D printing lies in low-volume and highly-specialized products. However, mass manufacturing depends on high volumes to enable cheap prices. Thus, this translates to less demand for 3D printers with manufacturers focused on consumer markets.

Read more: How To 3D Print Money

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Can 3D Printing Use Big Data For Easier Displays?

MIT researchers feel that 3D Printing makes Big Data displays easier to understand. They make their argument using the example of a 3-D printed model of the MIT campus, which they created using a laser ranging device to measure the buildings. They used this data to build a 3-D model of the campus which they printed out in translucent plastic using standard 3-D printing techniques.

One advantage of the translucent plastic is that it can be illuminated from beneath with different colors. Indeed, the team used a projector connected to a laptop computer to beam an image on the model from below. The image above shows the campus colored according to the height of the buildings.

But that’s only the beginning of what they say is possible. To demonstrate, Weber and Gadepally filtered a portion of the Twitter stream to pick out tweets that were geolocated at the MIT campus. They can then use their model to show what kind of content is being generated in different locations on the campus and allow users to cut and dice the data using an interactive screen. “Other demonstrations may include animating twitter traffic volume as a function of time and space to provide insight into campus patterns or life,” they say.

Weber and Gadepally say their approach is particularly useful when groups of people have to access the data at the same time. They give the example of city planners studying the patterns of traffic that occur in cities. That kind of data is difficult to reason about at a group level without a display that everyone can see and interact with. And the big advantage is that a key part of the data set, the model, is fixed—set in stone, almost. That allows complete flexibility with the data that needs to be crunched but complete inflexibility with the data that doesn’t need to be touched. That can simplify matters considerably. And a 3D Printed picture speaks a thousand words…

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Posted in Business

3D Printing From An iPhone?

Can We Use Our Iphones for 3D Printing?

Professor Jeng Ywan Jeng, Dean of the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, has invented a 3D Printer that uses light from a cell phone to create a three dimensional object.

Professor Jeng recently announced his new invention at the Inside 3D Printing Convention held in Shanghai this month. Several of Professor Jeng’s prints made by his cell phone printer were on hand and the resolution looked good. Professor Jeng made his announcement during the “Future of 3D Printing in Asia and Beyond,” panel discussion held on December 9th.

This process is made possible by a specially engineered plastic reservoir containing liquid resin that is placed above your cell phone. The light from the cell phone permeates the bottom of the plastic reservoir and polymerizes the resin in successive layers to create a three dimensional object. The underside of your design (support material) is attached to a metal Z-Axis that rises from the resin pool with the exposure of each successive layer. It is unclear how long a print will take to build with this method but Professor Jeng stated he is working on increasing the speed of the process. As we all know, the speed problem, once fixed will change the 3D Printing game again.

The resin being used for this cell phone polymerization process is working but is also still in the design stage to improve performance. The plastic liner of the reservoir has a special coating that keeps the resin from polymerizing and sticking to the inside surface of the plastic liner.

Will an iPad printer will be seen in the near future? Well, if read our last post, Apple is getting into the game.

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