“Rapid Manufacturing was the subject of the second talk in our 2017 Fall Industrial Design Speaker Series.”
By Zach Samalonis
The discussion focused on how designers are no longer limited to using 3D printing as a prototyping tool. 3D Printing is emerging as a viable source for manufacturing of an ever-widening range of parts and assemblies. Stratasys opened the discussion, by sharing with students how industrial designers at General Electric were able to create a new aerospace fueling nozzle out of a single part, one that once was comprised of 20 individual parts. The story drove the conversation in the direction of new printers and the wide range of possibilities they provide. New printers, such as the HP Jet Fusion, are shaking up the field, with quicker print times and higher quality prints. “Printing at this scale also allows for mass customization. Once you have the power, you can see the benefits” stated professor Eric Schneider who led the panel discussion.
Great emphasis was placed on the fact that in just a few short years, designer won’t be limited to injection molding as the only way to manufacture on a large scale. Some designs, that were previously limited due to technical details such as draft angle, will soon be possible to print for the mass market. In fact, ProtoCAM mentioned that they are already printing hundreds of custom parts a week, showing that the future is already beginning to happen.
The discussion ended with time for students to ask questions and come down to the floor and see parts that had been printed using the methods discussed. Students had the opportunity to see first-hand how 3D printing is becoming something that will play a large role in their professional practices.