3D Printing Promise-21Mar2013

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  • 7/28/2019 3D Printing Promise-21Mar2013



  • 7/28/2019 3D Printing Promise-21Mar2013


    Google offers a free high-end program that canmodel anything from a toy car to a skyscraper. Or,using a 3-D scanner, you can scan any widget andthe digital blueprint thus created can be transferredto a 3-D printer to replicate the widget. Or, youcould use the innumerable 3-D models downloada-ble at the open-source design website Thingi-verse.com - the go-to database for free user-gener-ated 3-D printer files.On Sept 20, 2011, Defense Distributed. an onlinecollective that has set out to make the first printedgun, uploaded to Thingiverse the digitd blueprintfor a crucial component of the AR-15 assault rifle.After an animated online debate, Thingiverse pulledthe blueprint for the "receiver", the frame of a gunthat houses or holds together all the moving parts -

  • 7/28/2019 3D Printing Promise-21Mar2013


    SDAY, MARCH 2I,2O13 OPIIIION I nztof down promise of 3-D printing

    technology augurs is not also snuffed out.Such printing is much more efficient than tradi-tional manufacturing because it makes an object ;rre-cise layer by precise layer. There is much less wast-age compared with current manufacturing, which ba-

    sically involves cutting a widget from a block of met-al or plastic that leaves lots of shavings all over theshopfloor. Also, because parts can be printed out asand when they are required, inventories can be nearzelo.

    Thus, 3-D printing is likely to restructure manufac-turing in ways we cannot imagine yet - if fear ofprinted guns does not cause the revolution to be still-born.i- [email protected]