3D Printing

3D Printing, also known as rapid prototyping, allows everyone to create almost anything. Its quick, inexpensive, and precise using materials such  plastics, metals, or even living cells. Its revolutionary.

Traditionally everything was mass produced : Plastic bowls, ceramic cups, or cell phone cases. They are available cheaply because they are designed once and produced many times. 3D printing changes that, now you can design once, manufacture once.

English: Example of replication of a real obje...

English: Example of replication of a real object with 3D scanning and 3D printing. The gargoyle model on the left was digitally acquired by using a 3D scanner and the produced 3D data was processed using MeshLab. The resulting digital 3D model, shown in the screen of the laptop, was used by a rapid prototyping machine to create a real resin replica of original object. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thinking Exponentially, this is going to turn the world of products on its head. First, 3D printing it is extremely precise and precision is improving every year. Second, its quick, most things can be printed in an hour or two. Third, you can print things with moving parts, such as a wrench. Four, there are many materials and the list is growing quickly. Fifth, 3D printing is an additive process, there is little wasted material.

Imagine, getting anything you want, when you want, regardless of where you are if you have a) 3D printer and b) raw materials and c) the design.

Thinking Exponentially, how can you use this? If you are a farmer in a remote part of the world, a part breaks and needs to be replaced. You simply download the blueprint and print it. You could be a custom jeweler, printing one of a kind product unique to each customer. Today, if you need a custom fitted prosthetic limb (video) or tooth, chances are it was 3D printed.

Today the costs of producing a 3D printed object versus buying something mass produced are almost identical. The implications to an online store are profound, now they don’t have to carry inventory, they just print on demand. For Christmas, I 3D printed almost all my gifts from Shapeways. Seriously – from necklaces to coffee cups to tree ornaments.

[youtube http://youtu.be/8aghzpO_UZE&w=560]

Thinking Exponentially
, it’s not what we can replace today that is amazing. It’s what has not been imagined is the real potential. Need parts for the space station while in orbit, simply print them.  A large-scale printer can produce large scale physical structure. Medical implants can be created that fit perfectly.

Wired magazine just announced that the 3D printed car is nearing production.

3D printing brings exponential scaling to manufacturing. It shifts the power of manufacturing from the factories to the individual. Nor longer will the production plant what is most important, it be the design and specifications of a product.


Categories: 3d Printing, Video

Author:Geoffrey Shmigelsky

Technology Entrepreneur, Angel Investor


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