Archive for the '3D Printing' Category

How 3D Printing Will Change the World

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Printer3D printers have been called a “disruptive technology”, and I’m not the only one who thinks they’ll change the world. So this post is a collection of related articles that I’ve found over the last 6 months or so. Before you read further, however, check out this Dilbert cartoon about 3D printers.

For all the copyright problems with digital music, videos, and books, 3D printing is going to be even worse. Say you need a new part for your car. Do you buy it from an auto parts store, or do you print it yourself at home? Or will the mechanic print it out at the garage? Will we have a reasonable system where we pay to download original designs to our printer, or will there be rampant piracy like we have now with digital entertainment? I hope lawmakers will be proactive in this area, rather than reactive.

3D printing will make some existing laws unenforceable, much like what the Internet has done to anti-pornography laws. Michael Guslick, an amateur gunsmith, created the lower receiver of an AR-15 assault rifle with a 3D printer. He used a non-printed “upper”, barrel, etc., all legally available for purchase, and made a working .22 rifle. How effective will gun laws be when you can print one at home, especially once we get the ability to easily print the metal parts?

With recent news about creating drugs with 3D printers, I suspect it won’t be long before we can use a printer to dial up some cocaine. All that crime associated with drug creation and distribution… gone.

And what about the manufacturing sector? My uncle owns a steel fabrication company. Right now that means lots of cutting, welding, and machining. Much of the operation is computerized, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see 3D printers take over a big part of what they do. One article goes even further, speculating on the engineering possibilities now that 3D printers can print using both biological and traditional (metal, ceramic, plastic) materials.

Think about logistics. Many businesses have gone to a “just in time” supply model where they keep a minimal supply of parts on hand and order them right before they need them. With 3D printing, they could go to an “exactly when needed” model. Military operations wouldn’t need to be so heavy on logistics either—front line troops could print what they need, provided the printers and raw materials were supplied via conventional means.

3D printers have come down in price to where the average person can afford them (I have a coworker who owns one). And they’re also getting smaller. Will we soon see the day where there’s one in every home? I believe so.

Thanks to Josh, Slashdot (1,2), and Kim Komando for these articles.

Update (1/12/2013): Did I call it or what?

3D Printer Used to Make a Transplant Jaw

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

PrinterHere at Chad’s News, we really like 3D printers and think they have the ability to transform the world. Now one has been used to create a custom lower jaw that was subsequently transplanted into an 83-year-old woman. From the article: “The implant was made out of titanium powder – heated and fused together by a laser, one layer at a time.”

(via Kim Komando)

Building a Car with a 3D Printer

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

PrinterHere at Chad’s News, we’ve been keeping an eye on 3D printers and the interesting things they can do. The linked article shows the results of a car (the Urbee) with a body completely created by 3D printers from Stratasys. This is the stuff of science fiction come true.

(via Kim Komando)

…and the World is Consumed By Self-replicating Machines

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

PrinterChad’s News has previously discussed 3D “printers,” but a team of engineers is designing one that will be inexpensive, open-source, and capable of replicating itself. This makes me wonder how long it will be until we have functioning Von Neumann machines

(via Slashdot)

3D Printers Almost Ready For The Mainstream

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

PrinterThree-dimensional “printers” are getting down in price to the point where they may become ubiquitous. They don’t print to paper like traditional printers; rather, they create a 3D object out of nylon, plastic, or polymers by “writing” successive layers until the object is finished. There are some drawbacks (gray color, graininess), but expect this technology to quickly improve.