• April 18, 2014

3D Printing: A Cautiously Optimistic Revolution in Manufacturing

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 10:18 am | Updated: 2:32 am, Thu Dec 5, 2013.

(NewsUSA) - Amid excitement over 3D printing, there is caution.

According to experts, safety and reliability standards and mandates will need to be developed and implemented for products that can be churned out on a whim. Technical education and training will likely be impacted. Legal issues pertaining to ownership, patent protection, trademarks and copyrights and credentials for individuals using the technology will need to be resolved before 3D printing reaches new levels and new frontiers.

In the U.S. and elsewhere, the 3D printer is enabling a "maker movement," as an increasing number of people apply the technology to their daily lives.

In the business world, 3D printers are used at dental labs to make custom crowns in less than one hour and at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to fabricate a new type of fuel injector. Future industrial applications include food production and the printing of human bone and tissue.

What's more, 3D printers are showing up in basements and garages of U.S. households as the do-it-yourself community embraces the powerful tool to make everything from model trains and translucent chess pieces to circuitry and musical instruments.

Three-dimensional printers make products by following instructions from a computer and stacking raw material -- plastic, metal or other substance -- into layers. Whereas, in conventional design and manufacturing, computer-based models are developed and then adapted to machining.

"Among the many advantages of 3D printing is the capability of the system to print on demand when an object is needed," said Hod Lipson, co-author (with Melba Kurman) of the book "Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing," who recently addressed a special session on advanced manufacturing arranged by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Many of the consumer 3D printers on the market are "selective deposition" types that squirt, squeeze or spray liquid, paste or powdered raw material through a nozzle. Found today in many homes and schools, the selective deposition models are also a favorite of food-loving enthusiasts, who use the printers to create dough, frosting and other culinary treats.

At its recent 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress, ASME brought together the manufacturing community to discuss these issues, and the experts concurred that 3D printing will enjoy a promising future. For more information, visit www.asme.org.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Belton library will offer e-books
Posted: April 15, 2014

BELTON — Belton’s Lena Armstrong Public Library will soon offer virtual books. The library received a $5,000 J. Frank Dobie Library Trust Award, which is given each spring to chosen applicants. Kim Kroll, the library’s director, said all the money will be spent only on e-books.

more »
Pentagon releases estimated impact of sequestration-level funding
Posted: April 15, 2014

The Defense Department on Tuesday released a report documenting the damaging cuts to military forces, modernization and readiness that will be required if defense budgets are held at sequester-levels in the years beyond fiscal 2015.

more »

Featured Events