By now most businesses understand that there is value in additive manufacturing (a/k/a 3D printing) technologies but still might be puzzled as to how this technology can have an immediate impact on their business. The book, Fabricated by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman, takes a look at a broad range of industries and how these businesses have harnessed the power of 3D printing to reduce costs, time and design complexity challenges. These authors found that across an array of diverse industries there were ten distinct “rules” pertaining to additive manufacturing technologies that kept reoccurring.
Below are the 10 Principals shared in Fabricated that can help businesses take full advantage of 3D printing technologies. While some of these principals can be seen today others are still in infancy.
- Manufacturing complexity is free. On a 3D printer, complexity costs the same as simplicity.
- Variety is free. A single 3D printer can make many shapes with minimal human intervention.
- No assembly required. Interlocking parts can be created with a 3D printer, thus reducing assembly time.
- Zero lead time. A 3D printer can print on demand when an object is needed.
- Unlimited design space. A printer can fabricate shapes that until now have been possible only in nature.
- Zero skill manufacturing. A 3D printer gets most of its guidance from a design file. To make an object of equal complexity, a 3D printer requires less operator skill than does an injection molding machine.
- Compact, portable manufacturing. Per volume of production space, a 3D printer has more manufacturing capacity than a traditional manufacturing machine.
- Less waste by-product. Less material waste ends up on the factory floor.
- Infinite shades of materials. As multi-material 3D printing develops, we will gain the capacity to blend and mix different raw materials.
- Precise physical replication. We will scan, edit, and duplicate physical objects to create exact replicas or to improve on the original.
- Industry Week: The Ten Principles of 3-D Printing. Article originally published: March 7, 2013.
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