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3d Printing, The Next Revolution?

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#1 Guest_vittos_*

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 12:52 PM

Last week was the Euromold fair for prototyping, engineering and design in Frankfurt. I was responsible for the workshop, where new design tools were presented (Autodesk Studio Case, Hitachi Starboard, Roland Plotter and the "OBJET EDEN 250" 3D printer).

The most visitors on our workshop asked about the 3D printer. As 3D software revolutionized the form finding, the 3D printer will change the produced results, because almost everything is possible. But the vision of a 3D printer in every household will remain a vision for a long time, see why:

The results are not durable like many other heavy stressed materials, and the machine is too complex to be cheap enough (the price today: about 60.000,-€ for the OBJET EDEN 250) and it takes a lot of time to print out (about 8 hours for an object).

There are also many advantages: The prints are relatively cheap, the result is good, the handling is easy and even broken 3D data can be imported (and used after a filter process). And this is enough to make to change the design process; in a few years (when the price will be lower) I'm sure that the model making will be made almost only with 3D prints and even this will be a revolution.

See the video:

#2 engio


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Posted 12 December 2007 - 02:16 PM

Yes 3D printing is quite exiting

Some month ago I saw a printer from Z-corporation that could output CMYK color to different parts of your model, you could even print a texture like an onscreen menu - all in one go, straight from your model. According to the vendor it was also cheaper and faster than usual SLA, SLS etc. Have you seen/used those?



edit: found a video

#3 Guest_csven_*

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 10:29 PM

There are already consumer-level businesses based on this technology; the latest of which I'm aware are FigurePrints and Fabidoo. And apparently there's a push within the fashion industry to basically leapfrog over 3D CAD (in its general, widespread usage for low-level design) and move straight to virtual world PLM (combining immersive 3D and design and production).

The combination of rapid prototyping/manufacturing tech and virtual world-based 3D modeling (as well as innovative business practices and solution aimed at indy designers serving niche communities) has been the focus of my blog for almost three years now. What's surprising to me is that I get the feeling there aren't many other IDers seriously discussing these things. Which leads me to believe that the community is, in general, so intent on details (e.g. Questions like: "What is the best CAD program for me to learn?") that it's developed serious myopia.

The result? The profession is likely to miss an opportunity to shatter the glass ceiling keeping it generally out of C-level positions. Unbelievably, I see more marketing people interested in all this stuff - which potentially changes how businesses will operate in the future - than I see industrial designers. Can't understand how that's possible, but it's what I'm seeing. Go figure.

#4 Guest_Lilith_*

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Posted 13 December 2007 - 01:19 PM

we have 3d printer at uni, but most of the time its under construction :) i got few models printed on it, didnt like the material, i still prefer modeling with hands

#5 Guest_vittos_*

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 01:02 PM

I saw also an Objet 3D printer with two materials on the Objet stand, it works similar to the EDEN 250 we had on our workshop. I'm not a buyer and only a user, so I don't know about the market situation. A visitor said that the success of Objet came from the lower prices, in comparison of some American competitors, an other produced acoustic hearing apparatus on his EDEN 260.

To Lilith:
We had some CNC-machines at university but I prefered also to do them by hand, because difficult machines had there an carer who was most time only available only for his friends or the professors. So I preferred to do them by also by hand. Now in the company I prefer the CNC-machine. Wait until you are in business, there you don't will miss the advances of rapid prototyping, and it's not difficult to handle.

#6 Guest_Milo_*

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 10:42 PM

At our school we use a SLS rapid protomachine. Smooth surfaces aren't possible because of the seperate layers beeing way to thick.

#7 Guest_bagaudae_*

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 10:55 PM

That`s weird... I thought SLS was one of the R.P. processes wich allows a better surface finish, as well as FDM.

Rapid prototyping, :lmao:

(English is not my first language, so excuse any mistake, please)

#8 Guest_csven_*

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 09:28 PM

At our school we use a SLS rapid protomachine. Smooth surfaces aren't possible because of the seperate layers beeing way to thick.

I'm aware the older ones created relatively rough surfaces. Of course all additive RP processes (esp. FDM) are still inferior to molded parts as far as smoothness, but I'm hearing the new SLS machines are pretty good. So knowing which machine you're discussing would be helpful.

#9 Guest_Yusi_*

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 03:37 AM

what bother me is that 3d-printed model is always fragile and almost impossible to do any surface process.

#10 Guest_csven_*

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 08:47 PM

The original post doesn't provide a distinction between other additive rapid-prototyping methods and 3D printing, but it's an important one to make when discussing these things, imo; especially since not everyone considers the Objet technology to be "3D printing", in the strict sense of the definition (aka: 3DPTM). As a consequence, comments such as "3d-printed model is always fragile" are confusing and potentially misleading.


The Objet mentioned in the first post is considered by some people to be a "3D printer"; however, it does not, afaik, use the 3D printing technology developed at MIT that gave that method its name. The technology used by the Objet is called "Polyjet". I was surprised when they first started using the term "3D printing" to define their process, but I now think of it as a savvy marketing move since their process is arguably similar to the patented MIT method (they replace binding a powder with a photopolymer and instant curing) and it's easier for average people unfamiliar with this technology to understand the concept of rapidly fabricating parts from 3D files (how many of you have explained to friends or family "it's an SLA, which stands for stereolithography; the part is grown in a vat..." and watched their eyes glaze over?).

The ZCorp machines are more appropriately considered "3D printers" because, in fact, they both license the MIT technology that gave it that name and they use HP's inkjet printer hardware right off the shelf. However, their process is very different from other RP processes such as SLA, SLS, DMLS, FDM, EBM, SLM, aso.

The problem is that the term "3D printing" is growing to include all those other processes (just look at how Wikipedia defines the term - Link; the entire Wikipedia entry is a mess afaic)

Now, while some properly defined 3D printing and polyjet solutions may not provide robust parts at this time, those other additive RP processes most certainly can:

- Some RP parts are being used inside turbine engines (metal turbine blades are being RP'd using a laser melting process).

- Other RP parts are making their way into the human body as replacements for shattered bones or worn joints.

- And other RP parts are being used on the international space station; most are nylon-based, iirc.

- And still other RP parts are being used for custom medical equipment (e.g. hearing aids).

Are these parts "3D printed"? According to the Wikipedia entry they are. I don't believe they are because I have a very specific idea of what that term means. But they are all additive rapidly fabricated parts. And they are not always fragile or impossible to post-process.

#11 Guest_andol_*

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 01:09 PM

in my opinion, the future technology will push 3D printer as the main model manufacturing tool, because of its convenience and quick result.
So, i back up it.

#12 Guest_csven_*

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 02:58 PM

It was interesting to listen to the Low-volume Manufacturing Assoc podcast and hear them talk about additive fab to the degree they did. Even more interesting was one guy suggesting they set up a business fabbing game characters... as if no one was already doing this (there are several businesses already offering the service). He may have been a little behind, but the fact he was even thinking it was significant to me.

Surprisingly, I don't see nearly as much fab'd jewelry as I'd expect; especially with Etsy being such a great way to market it. Perhaps I'm not plugged into the correct channels. Anyone have any links to people selling fab'd items like jewelry (indie stuff; not medical prosthetics and the like)?

#13 Guest_tombuttigieg_*

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 06:22 PM

I've printed a model on Brighton Universities 3D printer and I agree with Yusi, my model was too fragile and broke, however I am still amazed by the process, it is still relatively new process right? But I had a tour around Ford research centre and most of their engineering prototyping starts out with a 3D printed piece and then I think it is CNC with metal. It could have been a metal 3D printer but i don't think they are developed yet are they? maybe someone can help me out here.

I'm excited about 3D printing because I am the generation which i think will see the most work done with 3D printers once I start my career. I still enjoy hand modeling, however with this technology all big car makers and other companies will be using this. My product design teacher thinks it will get to the stage where they have 3D printers in new-agents, which means you can download a file form the company for a spare part of a washing machine for example, take it to the new-agents and get it printed, I think that is a bit mad but we will see. Remind me of the fact that you could get spare parts for the original fiat 500 from new-agents!

#14 Guest_tom_j_owen_*

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 06:40 PM

ok but how about this!

saw it at the design museum the otherday...it been out for a while...still makes me smile every time i see it...the finished furniture great...i sat on the chair...much to the disgust of the guard!

by the way the chaps who did this were called 'front' design...google them..nice stuff.


#15 Guest_csven_*

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 08:57 PM

It could have been a metal 3D printer but i don't think they are developed yet are they? maybe someone can help me out here.

Of course they are.

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