Skip to comments.3D Printing Revolution: the Complex Reality
Posted on 02/21/2013 8:45:17 PM PST by JerseyanExile
This miniature, high-precision assembly started with a CAD model and not much more. It cost about $10 to make it at home with no 3D printer required.
In the past couple of years, the concept of low-cost 3D printing has captured the hearts and minds of millions of geeks. The allure of an upcoming manufacturing revolution has seeped into the mainstream, too: take The Economist, which ran about two dozen articles about this technology within the last year alone. Something must be in the air!
The charm of 3D printing is easy to understand, especially as it coincides with the renaissance of the DIY movement on the Internet. But all this positive buzz also has an interesting downside: it makes it easy to overlook that the most significant barriers to home manufacturing run very deep, and probably wont be affected just by the arrival of a new generation of tools.
After all, affordable and hobbyist-friendly manufacturing tools that convert polygons into physical objects have been available for more than a decade. Take desktop CNC mills, for example: home- or office-friendly and costing about as much as a 3D printer, they have revolutionized the lives of many jewelers and dentists; they have shaken up quite a few other niche industries, too. But spare for a small community of hobbyists, these self-contained and tidy mills have not brought on-demand manufacturing into our garages or living rooms.
CNC mills and 3D printers are different in many ways, but they also have a lot in common; and looking at the parallels, its reasonable to suspect that the prospects of home manufacturing may have relatively little to do with the choice of a particular tool.
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.makezine.com ...
There = Their (ugh)
Having spent untol hours ‘drawing’, I would have to say this new system is no longer drawing, it’s ‘virtualizing’. When you take the X and Y axes and add the Z, that’s vitualizing ... IMHO.
Having spent untold hours ‘drawing’, I would have to say this new system is no longer drawing, it’s ‘virtualizing’. When you take the X and Y axes and add the Z, that’s vitualizing ... IMHO.
SolidWorks is more like running a virtual machine shop. It's a process of building up and then cutting away, until my part is sitting in in virtual space.
You're right; it's an entirely different way of designing.
I'm a huge fan of it.
I can't "draw" anything except stick figures. With CAD...anything is possible to me.
And to think...I beta tested AutoCad R13 when it was released with solid modeling and now my skills have languished over the years to the point that I would have to relearn just to keep up with the latest version.
Family before self has a price.
In prior years I designed and built a few houses (living in the last one I built). I had a CAD program and learned to use it well. But 3D virtual design is a whole nother animal. I like it because it fits the mental imagery process I already used in designing & building houses.
I have one more house I’ve designed (I always draw up vellums with pencil and rule before starting a building project), but it isn’t likely I’ll ever build it. Maybe I’ll build it with a 3D printer at drawing scale! I had incorporated neat stuff that I learned I would like to have in a home, like the master bedroom closet has a doorway to the laundry room. Oh well, we can’t have everything we dream of ...
I question the liability aspect of this. If you replicate a product and it fails causing injury... who is liable? The maker of the replicator or the original manufacturer? Courtroom nightmares ahead...
I do know understand the point he is trying to make however about people not understanding the limitations of the 3D printing process. I do remember the excitement I felt when a friend of mine first showed me products he was able to produce on a $60,000 machine he purchased several years ago. I thought it was absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, he misjudged the market and lost his shirt, he had to sell nearly everything he owned and eventually declared bankruptcy.
I come from a manufacturing background. For many years I ran a small lumber re-manufacturing business. We made mostly siding, paneling, flooring, and other specialty products. As an example of how the wood re-manufacturing business worked we could run our customer's wood through certain machines at 120 feet per minute and get paid approximately 2 cents per lineal foot. That comes out to $2.40 per minute or $144 per hour while the machine is running.
It sounds pretty good, but there is a lot more downtime than anyone ever figures. The machine is frequently idled while product is moved to and from it, and there are frequent break downs and constant maintenance and sharpening or changing of blades that must be performed. My point is that you hardly ever make even half how one might think that it should pencil out. With a newer technology people tend to overestimate how much they will be able to produce to an even greater extent. This kind of unrealistic expectation is what caused my friend to fail at his new business.
He already had a business that he was making a decent living at, but when he tried to expand into this new area, he was unable to make it work the way he thought. I think he actually was swindled by the people who sold him the machinery. He was dazzled by the products that could be produced. Unfortunately, even if he could have successfully marketed the output, the amount of production necessary to make a profit was far beyond his capabilities.
what the heck is it?
It’s a little room at the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that’s not important now.
So do small CNC mills. See the Roland line of MDX machines. My firm bought a Roland MDX-40 some years back for ~$10K, and it has paid for itself over and over and is still in use. Right now, I'm drooling over their MDX-50, designed for the dental market. FIVE-AXIS, sits on the table like a printer.......$30K. Just about perfect for the scale and volume of parts my company produces.
Also of interest is the QU-BD "open source" printer. Does both "additive" (thermal plastic deposition) AND "subtractive" (CNC milling) ON THE SAME MACHINE......fully assemble......$1700......"put it together yourself".....even less.
Man, that is a profound comment. I learned mechanical drafting in the "t-square and triangles" era, and have been doing 2D designs for almost forty years now. I've been using 2D CAD for about 15 years (couldn't afford Autocad), and am working to make the shift to the solid model route....but I've been doing 2D for SO LONG that I am finding it a hard slog. I use Turbocad Pro and have been for a long time. Solidworks it is not....but then it only costs about 1/4 as much (less if you buy when they are coming out with an upgrade).
I have Autocad, an old version, but I went thru these tutorial videos and Sketchup looks impressive for ease of learning.
Also uses a LOT less raw material and generates a lot less waste.
Think about it, in standard machining, you start off with this big chunk (of sometimes very expensive) material, and then THROW MOST OF IT IN THE TRASH. When you're talking Hastelly C or titanium, that can become a HUGE factor.
Saw a blurb on uncrate yesterday for an inexpensive 3D printer pen. I works just like a 3D printer except you draw the object of your desire freehand, laying down a layer at a time. The promoters seem to think it'll revolutionize 3D printing. But I kind of doubt it. If most people are like me, they can't draw worth a hoot in 2-space, much less 3-space.
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