Once the hype around desktop 3D printers wore off, the public learned that additive manufacturing (AM) machines require much more work than simply pushing the “print” button. This is particularly true of industrial machines. As impressive as they may be—producing complex shapes out of metal, plastic, ceramic and more—there is significant data prep and post-processing required just to ensure that parts come out as intended.
Take a look at our article on the issues related to metal AM—ranging from warped parts to cracks and microscopic pores—and you’ll get an idea for just how nuanced the technology can be in the preparation stage. That doesn’t even begin to cover things like the need for wire cutting or CNC milling metal parts to remove them from their print platform.
It’s no surprise, then, that before machines can automatically do everything for us, we’ll have to automate the machines even further. And this is exactly what a number of AM systems manufacturers are working on. To learn just how companies like 3D Systems, GE Additive subsidiary Concept Laser, Stratasys and Voodoo Manufacturing are automating their 3D printing technology, we spoke to representatives at the companies themselves.
New manufacturing technologies are making the production of models and prototypes more accessible than ever before,” writes Antifaev in the report. “While additive manufacturing (commonly known as 3D printing) has been around since the 1980s, the last few years have seen an accelerating proliferation of technologies, services and business models that give designers greater choice than ever before.”
He adds, “IDSA states that the industrial design process contains 32 possible steps, of which 15 involve the creation of models or prototypes. Thanks to 3D printing, all of these potential steps can now be performed with higher fidelity, greater speed and at lower cost than previously possible. Due to the pace of change, however, many designers are still learning about the potential for these new approaches.”
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Sign up here to download the full, 25-page report (link is external). For more information, contact James Antifaev, CEO, Made for Me, +1 604.762.1178 or firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail).
Made for Me helps designers procure rapid prototypes and end use parts from a global network of 3D print suppliers, offering 40 materials and a wide range of commercial grade 3D printers. Designers are able to quickly compare quotes from multiple suppliers and order 3D printed parts online. Made for Me vets all suppliers and provides a quality guarantee on all orders. Previously, Antifaev spent nearly 10 years in the aerospace industry, where he worked on projects for NASA and the Canadian Space Agency; contributed to the development of the Vega rocket vehicle at the European Space Agency; and led the development and sale of new technology products at MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates.
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