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Future Of 3D Printing?  
User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7931 posts, RR: 52
Posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1183 times:

I'm bored today so I was reading up on 3D printing and am surprised by what they already have done... basically, as the name suggests, you print 3D objects from a printer, layer by layer using powder (or something like that.) Doesn't sound impressive, and my friends weren't as I was talking to them (they weren't too interested) but it isn't just some shoddy stuff you can print out, they've actually printed out some crazy model airplanes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRDg4UB9Ajg

That thing would probably cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, but after getting the printer, the materials needed to print it from the computer files isn't much at all, and the price will only go down. People are even working on projects where you can print almost all of a 3D printer from a 3D printer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RepRap

Maybe it's all just a flop, but I really see this becoming a household item in the near future, maybe 10 years or so. The crude ones now are only a couple thousand USD, the good ones (ones that can print metal IIRC) are up to a million USD, but I think one day you can simply download the blueprints for an Ipod or something and print it out... they are already working (or have already invented) ways to print actual circuit boards from 3D printers.

None of my friends seem to care, but I know there are enough tech geeks on this forum to at least get 1 response   What do yall think??


Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19954 posts, RR: 59
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1158 times:

I think that as they figure out new materials with new properties, 3-D printing is going to take off. Right now, it can just make interesting shapes and the material isn't terribly strong. Nor does it have variable properties.

But if you had a machine that had the raw materials to 3-D print a decent metal car with rubber tires...

The place I think 3-D printing will get really interesting is in medicine.


User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7931 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1149 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1):
The place I think 3-D printing will get really interesting is in medicine.

How so? Actual medicine or devices doctors use?

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1):
I think that as they figure out new materials with new properties, 3-D printing is going to take off. Right now, it can just make interesting shapes and the material isn't terribly strong. Nor does it have variable properties.

I believe they have some heavy duty stuff (very expensive) but yeah, I think new materials would fuel 3D printing. Getting from powdered form to whatever shape it needs to be is probably easier said than done



Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
User currently offlineokie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3103 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1145 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1):
I think that as they figure out new materials with new properties, 3-D printing is going to take off. Right now, it can just make interesting shapes and the material isn't terribly strong. Nor does it have variable properties

The different material properties is the part where I have trouble. I am not sure how you would gain the strength of say wood where you are relying on grain of the wood to provide strength or the crystalline molecular structure of steel.

I caught a program the other day where they were talking about future applications.
Several interesting ideas from printing a house or a pair of shoes to a new car or a hand gun with ammunition.

Print a human next I guess, just print "angel in the centerfold" comes to mind from and old song.

Okie


User currently offlinefrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3790 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1119 times:

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Thread starter):
Maybe it's all just a flop, but I really see this becoming a household item in the near future,

There are a few companies out there which will happily 3D print any CAD model you send them. They're mostly destined for smaller businesses as a cheap and quick way to get some prototypes, but anybody can send be a customer.

The main limitation, as said above, is the material. As long as the object's physical constraints fall within that material's physical properties, then you're good. Anything that needs a little strength, or that needs several different materials in it with different mechanical properties, and we're back into science fiction territory.

There are still lots of uses as it is, and it is pretty cool tech.



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19954 posts, RR: 59
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1104 times:

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 2):
How so? Actual medicine or devices doctors use?

Devices. I can see some complex robotic surgical instruments being made this way.

Quoting okie (Reply 3):
The different material properties is the part where I have trouble. I am not sure how you would gain the strength of say wood where you are relying on grain of the wood to provide strength or the crystalline molecular structure of steel.

Nor am I. But perhaps someone can come up with a solution. Equally important is different materials with different physical and/or electrical properties. For example, imagine being to 3D print electrical circuits made of differing sorts of semiconductors into a block of insulating material? I wonder if such a technology would ever possibly be useful?  

I think that when the issues of materials variation (and throughput/speed) is solved, 3D printing will turn into something pretty cool.


User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8329 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1102 times:

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 2):
Actual medicine or devices doctors use?

Dentists have been making crowns our of computer generated (printed) systems. go in, get the prep, generate the crown and it's in when you leave the Dentists. My guy (a prosthodontist) is pretty much against them as they can't get the precision for the margins that can be obtained by traditional methods. He's also replaced enough because of the margin problems (allows bacteria in which develops decay under the crown).

Looking at medicine, I can see computer generated arteries - scan the area (probably an aneurism), "print" a replacement and let it "cure" overnight before surgery. After having Di Vinci surgery last month I can also see a lot of those arteries (at least abdominal ones) replaced with the Di Vinci approach.

The real challenge I think will be bone. I believe that they are already using computers to craft metallic cranial plates. Bone would simply be an improvements. But other areas of computer based bone replacements hold far greater hope for many. I'm thinking of patients with a diagnosis of bone cancer facing an amputation. Ted Kennedy's son lost a leg that way. And I can remember my wife talking about a 6 year old girl in Australia she had to treat - get her up walking on the day of the amputation. The doctor put on an immediate prosthetic so she could get up that afternoon. Replacing that leg bone with a computer generated one is a far better option - even if it has to be replaced multiple times as kids grow.

When I look at those potentials I could care less about 3D printing in the home. There are more important places to focus on.


User currently offlinescrubbsywg From Canada, joined Mar 2007, 1495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 1088 times:

We have a stratasys FDM machine in my office. It can be quite useful for us in R&D and engineering but also pretty limited as well. Right now, with our machine(and ones similar to it where a thermoplastic is extruded layer by layer) we are limited due to materials and anisotropic properties(meaning properties that vary in direction). Ours only prints ABS(and there are ones that print other materials as well, but NOWHERE near the range of what you can, say, injection mold).

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 2):
How so? Actual medicine or devices doctors use?

There is a hip and knee clinic here that actually printed out a kneecap bone for a dog and implanted it in as an experiment after the dog's was broken somehow. I have no idea how well it worked.

here's one time where they made a jawbone http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16907104

We'll see where the future takes it.


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