Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Future Tech! Three Dimensional Printers...!

Future Tech! 3D Printing...!
3D printing used to construct houses and buildings!

Changing the Automotive Industry

Human Civilization is entering the newest phase of our technological evolution where our computer technology completely transforms the way think about the production process of the goods we buy.  Now a new manufacturing technology has emerged which uses Three-dimensional printing to create the actual item and can be used to create a potentially unlimited variety of items in the future. It may have as profound of an impact on the world as the creation of factories and assembly lines did during the industrial revolution in creating a mass production of goods and changing society in ways that nobody could have imagined at the time.
             The 3D printer works like this. First you upload the blueprint for the product you wish to make, (iPod, computer parts, car parts, even highly technical objects such as a Stradivarius violin!) pulling up a 3 dimensional version of it on your computer screen you can adjust the settings such as its shape, color, etc. Then boom! Press print. The 3D printer builds up the object gradually by depositing material from a nozzle making a thin layer of plastic or metal dust using tiny drops of glue or a tightly focused beam. Products are built up by progressively, adding material one layer at a time. Eventually your item solidifies and is ejected!
Seriously! A Violin, that plays just as well as the real thing!
          The obvious benefits of this technology are that manufacturing no longer needs to happen in a factory, the costs of production will drop off, and efficiency will increase greatly. Small items can be made by in a an office or shop while larger items such as bike frames, metal parts for transportation vehicles, even construction materials to build houses and  buildings, need a larger machine and more space.
             At the moment the 3D printing process is possible only with certain materials such as plastics, certain resins and metals but it is spreading fast as that drives the technology to improve and costs fall. A basic 3D printer, also known as a fabricator or “fabber”, now costs less than a laser printer did in 1985. And what’s Amazing is if you buy a “fabber” you can actually print the parts to build another 3D fabricator so you can give them to friends and print backup and replacement parts!
             3D Fabricators also will reduce waste enormously, requiring as little as one-tenth of the amount of material.(Imagine how much that adds up to when doing a job like building a house or large building, where there is sometimes hundreds of tons of waste.) It allows the creation of parts in shapes that conventional techniques cannot achieve, resulting in new, much more efficient designs for example in the area of aircraft wings or heat exchangers.3D printing will also promote innovation. If you can design a shape on a computer, you can turn it into an object. You can print a dozen, see if there is a market for them, and print 50 more if there is, modifying the design using immediate feedback from product users. This should be a boost for inventors and start-up companies because trying out new products will become less risky and costly.
The 3D printer, The Fabricator
        This new “Job-less” technological change is so profound that it will reset the economics of manufacturing. Think if every village has a fabricator that can produce items when needed how that will change how we do business. The technology will have implications not just for the distribution of money and jobs, but also for how we define someone’s intellectual-property. When the blueprints for a new video game, designer clothes, or any other creations are uploaded onto the internet how do we define the intellectual owner? (IP)
Nobody can fully predict the impact of this new technology but it seems that the long-term impact that 3D printing will bring will be a positive one. But one thing is clear, the technology is here, and it’s likely to influence every single area of industry it touches. It at the very least is forcing CEO, entrepreneurs, and inventors to start thinking about it now and with that 3D printing will most certainly expand the realms of innovation and imagination.
Household items including a Wrench!

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