One of the original purposes of Supercharg3d is to bring pragmatism and balance to what is all-too-often a hyped technology (not that it isn’t disruptive and already changing supply chains!). This is a good summary of some of the key issues preventing it’s wider adoption.
You’re probably groaning by now, but hear me out. Yes, prices for the maker/desktop/DIY category of machines have dropped, the quality of their output has increased, and promotional materials abound with printers creating beautiful and delicate objets d’art.
But like the movie montage where the kids clean up the house before their parents get home, they are glossing over the details. What isn’t shown is the effort, the sweat, the tinkering, the trial and error, and the screaming to the gods themselves to please, please let it work this time.
A lot of words are commonly thrown around when talking about 3D printers and their capabilities. Two of those words are accuracy and resolution, which are often treated as interchangeable – but they’re really not. There’s a difference, and it’s important to understand what that difference is if you’re going to find the right 3D printer for your specific application – especially regarding applications like dental 3D printing, where precision is of the utmost importance.
EnvisionTEC recently published a white paper entitled “Understanding 3D Printer Accuracy: Cutting Through the Smoke and Mirrors,” which will be circulated at the ADA 2017 show in Atlanta later this month. You can also read the full paper here.
Manufacturers are increasingly facing new challenges as they look to stay competitive in the global market place. From changing market forces to the need for increased production efficiency, the issues are broad. And all whilst trying to ensure that the quality of their goods is exceptional and customer response times are kept to a minimum.
It’s clear that manufacturers must innovate in order to tackle these difficulties, and while many are keen to change the way their businesses run for the better, they are also concerned about the mounting pressures around cost and volume of materials used. Today, 3D printing can help tackle some of these challenges, offering transformative advantages at every phase of creation, from initial concept design to production of final products and the steps in between.
Already a $4 billion industry, and projected to reach $18 billion by 2020, 3D printing appears to be the next disruptive technology. It’s a disruption because 3D printing is replacing manufacturing practices that have been around ever since humankind started using tools.
As to what makes 3D printing different, read this excerpt from 3DPrinting.com:
‘The creation of a 3D-printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process, an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.”
Many 3D printers lack cybersecurity features, which presents opportunities to introduce defects as components are being built, a new study shows.
The study, performed by a team of cybersecurity and materials engineers at New York University, concluded that with the growth of cloud-based and decentralized 3D printer production supply chains, there can be “significant risk to the reliability of the product.”
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is creating a globally distributed manufacturing process and supply chain spanning multiple services, and therefore raises concerns about the reliability of the manufactured product, the study stated.
It’s not unreasonable to expect that 3D printers will become a staple on factory and job shop floors in the near future. But will they ever replace factories and job shops entirely?
Ten or twenty years ago, many engineers would have answered enthusiastically in the affirmative. Nowadays, this possibility seems much less likely.
To be sure, additive manufacturing is still an exciting prospect for many engineers—especially the latest generation. However, several factors have conspired to restrain the once unbridled enthusiasm surrounding this technology, including cost, speed and quality of 3D-printed parts.
These barriers could be overcome as additive manufacturing technology improves. However, even if this becomes the case, efficiency might still dictate that the best way to use 3D printing is as a starting point.
The anxiety that 3D printing could lead to a new front in the war against counterfeiting and trademark infringement has increased exponentially this year, thanks to a predicted ‘explosion’ in the new technology due to the expiration of some key patents. Welcome new innovations could ease those worries but there is still much to be done.
3D printing and additive manufacturing technology is advancing at a startling rate, meaning more companies are introducing it as a means of cheaper and more efficient manufacturing. It also means much easier pirating of protected designs, as it requires just a digital 3D blueprint to be downloaded and printed to create an identical-looking copy. Gartner predicted earlier in the year that the emergence of 3D printing will create “major challenges” in relations to IP theft, predicting a loss “of at least $100 billion per year in IP globally” by 2018.