3D Printing Heats Up

Curtis Franklin Jr., Executive Editor | 8/29/2013 | 81 comments

Curtis Franklin Jr.
Here at Enterprise Efficiency, we're no strangers to 3D printing. Thanks to NASA, though, 3D printing is really heating up.

This time last year, Enterprise Efficiency was bringing news of big 3D printing taking off in aerospace. Now, the engineers at NASA's Marshall Center have upped the ante by "hot-firing" a rocket engine created on a 3D printer. The critical thing here isn't the size of the parts, but the enormous stresses put on an operating rocket engine.

For manufacturers, the big news is only partially that a printed system can take the stress of hot-firing. No, the big news is what that fact means in manufacturing -- because it means that 3D-printed systems could be sold to customers rather than simply being used as part of the prototyping process.

It's not that prototyping isn't important -- the technology's potential has already been enough to get it mentioned in the President's State of the Union Address. It's that the ability to add 3D printing to the production process means that the world of manufacturing truly changes -- and it may never return to its old ways.

Of course, the advantage to "just in time" manufacturing and assembly line flexibility that 3D printing could bring must be weighed against potential risks of intellectual property theft and dramatically increased government scrutiny because of the almost unlimited variety of shapes and products that might be created. Where current manufacturing processes mean that shifting from agricultural implements to weapons parts means a weeks-long process of changing tools, dies, and processes, a fabrication line based on 3D printing could shift from product to product with little more than the upload of a new file.

How will your manufacturing process change if 3D printing continues to mature? Have you begun making plans for the shift? Let us know. The glare of the rocket engine in Huntsville is looking like the fireworks signaling the beginning of a whole new era in critical system manufacturing.

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SunitaT   3D Printing Heats Up   9/30/2013 12:25:40 AM
Re : 3D Printing Heats Up
Thanks to NASA, 3D printing, a technology that was in the pipelines, will get significant popularity in the future as companies would slowly integrate the technology in their manufacturing DNA. Which will help in a tight and fast product to market access.


SunitaT   3D Printing Heats Up   9/30/2013 12:25:40 AM
Re : 3D Printing Heats Up
Thanks to NASA, 3D printing, a technology that was in the pipelines, will get significant popularity in the future as companies would slowly integrate the technology in their manufacturing DNA. Which will help in a tight and fast product to market access.


SunitaT   3D Printing Heats Up   9/30/2013 12:25:19 AM
Re : 3D Printing Heats Up
@Keveend: 3D printing is an old concept which is now being realized. Through a 3D printing process one is able to create any shape of any kind.
The_Phil   3D Printing Heats Up   9/22/2013 8:05:32 PM
Re: zoom zoom
Try replacing all the high-priced consumer devices.
Susan Nunziata   3D Printing Heats Up   9/19/2013 3:30:21 PM
Re: zoom zoom
@Tecchnocrat: Quite true. Or, as Dire Straits so eleoquently put it in their song The Bug: 

"sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug."

A clip for your enjoyment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MIX9eKYJXo
Hayder   3D Printing Heats Up   9/15/2013 12:59:26 AM
Re: zoom zoom
@Susan let me get into the discussion. I have gone through few topics about 3D printing I generally have seen the tech being used in developing cheek bones, guitars, bicycles etc. I have not seen it being used in place where you need donors. I am not sure what you are pointing towards. But is kidney transplant is on the list and if so whether its functionalities will remain the same. If that so then really its going to help. ?
Susan Fourtané   3D Printing Heats Up   9/15/2013 12:52:55 AM
Re: zoom zoom
Nomi, 

3D printing has been used in the medical field for years now, including 3D printed body parts.  The next thing is 3D printed organ transplanation, ending with the problem of never ending waiting lists for an organ donor. 

-SusanF
User Ranking: Blogger
Nomi   3D Printing Heats Up   9/15/2013 12:14:55 AM
Re: zoom zoom
@The_Phil absolutely correct. I wonder what comes next in the line?
The_Phil   3D Printing Heats Up   9/14/2013 1:04:12 PM
Re: zoom zoom
They've been using it for years. Mainly for equipment fabrication and organ replacement testing.
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