Skip to comments.What Works And What Doesn't In 3D Printing: A Talk With Terry Wohlers
Posted on 09/13/2013 9:36:02 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The hype around 3D Printing bothers Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates, a research consultancy focused on additive manufacturing and 3D printing. Its unsettling to read this oversimplification (of 3D printing technology) where you push a button and out pops a shiny new thing, he says.
The reality, of course, is different.
3D printed objects pop out only after a long design and (depending on object size) printing process. This disconnect bothered Wohlers so much that he wrote a post about it.
Wohlers knows what he is talking about.
The fifty-five-year-old former Colorado State University faculty member has been working with additive manufacturing systems and 3D printers for over 25 years. He first encountered 3D printers back in 1987. After reading about 3D systems 3D printer, he wrote to them. They sent him a videotape and a 3D printed part. That was enough for Wohlers to get hooked onto the promise of 3D printing.
Over the years, Wohlers industry report on 3D printing has become the definitive book about the industry. Inspite of its 297 pages, the report is a fascinating read and assimilates multiple perspectives, including historical ones, betweens its covers.
For example, I learned that 1994 and 2004 were breakout years for 3D printing. The latter year, Wohlers explains, was especially important because it released pent up demand and restored business confidence after the dot com bust and 9/11 attacks.....
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
This is the more practical article on 3D printing, that I have been waiting for.
Political power grows out of the nozzle of a 3-D Printer.
Good article. It kind of puts some of the hurdles of 3D printing in perspective. I don’t think they will ever be so ubiquitous that the average person just prints out what they need instead of going to the hardware store. Heck most VCRs blinked 12:00 the entire time people owned them. I have a friend who doesn’t have a clue how to retrieve his messages out of his cell phone. There is however a lot of untapped creativity out in the hinterlands. People that had a really good idea but never had a way of producing a working prototype. This could change that. They might have a hobbyist friend or they may pay some entrepreneur that started up a small business to print their dream.
Maybe not yet, but it’s heading that way. Replicators...
Speed is one problem with 3D printing.
If you make a single item then 3D printing a complex shape is faster than other methods.
But there is no reason why an industrial 3D printer could not create molds for making parts when a large number of the same item is required. One part of the machine could make the molds and another part could use the mold to crank out a large number of parts very quickly.
An advanced 3D printer would combine the best of the old methods and the new methods. There is no reason why a 3D printer could not do injection molding from molds it has created from a design file.
The magic of 3D printing is that it replaces human labor. People are too valuable, to have them make products by hand is just such a waste.
It would take a lot of energy but a 3D printer that used sand as it’s main raw material could make items for almost no cost...think smooth glass with selectable tensile strength...lightweight items containing many internal empty spaces.
Low-cost energy is what will really enable cheap automated production.
Exactly. I looked into creating a stainless steel mold for plastic injection mfg and it costs about $20-25K. Ouch!
I could print one in high def stainless steel for a lot less. Accuracy continues to get better and depending on the design of the mold (e.g 2 piece), it could be touched up by hand for final production.
Two outsourcers that I've looked at with a wide range of materials are:
i.materialise materials (best selection e.g. titanium, high def stainless)
That's the way I see things progressing. There are many sites now with design files that can be downloaded and printed. Like music libraries, it wouldn't be hard to make selection as easy as filling a shopping basket or drag-and-drop printing of the desired object. Viola - replication for the masses...
See this, found it posted to HackADay today.