3d printing and the future of manufacturing

3d printing and the future of manufacturing
3D printing and the
future of manufacturing
Remaking Manufacturing
The Rise of 3D Printing
3D Printing at Work
3D Printing at Home
Democratization of Manufacturing
Impact on Commercial Manufacturing
Technology Advances On the Horizon
Platform for Innovation
Appendix: Further Reading
Access this report via the LEF RSS feed (csc.com/lefpodcast)
or the LEF website (csc.com/3dprinting)
Who would have thought that modern manufacturing
manufacturing as we know it. The Economist calls 3D
could be done without a factory? Since the Industrial
printing the third Industrial Revolution, following mecha-
Revolution, manufacturing has been synonymous with
nization in the 19th century and assembly-line mass pro-
factories, machine tools, production lines and economies
duction in the 20th century.1
of scale. So it is startling to think about manufacturing
without tooling, assembly lines or supply chains. However,
Classic Disruption
this is exactly what is happening as 3D printing reaches
3D printing is a classic disruptive technology accord-
individuals, small businesses and corporate departments.
ing to the disruption pattern identified by Harvard BusiToday you can make parts, appliances and tools in a wide
ness School professor Clayton Christensen.2 It is simpler,
variety of materials right from your home or workplace.
cheaper, smaller and more convenient to use than tradi-
Using a computer, simply create, modify or download a
tional manufacturing technology. Current 3D printing tech-
digital 3D model of an object. Click “print,” just as you
nology is “good enough” to serve markets that previously
would for a document, and watch your physical 3D
had no manufacturing capability at all (e.g., small busi-
object take shape. No longer the stuff of science fiction,
nesses, hospitals, schools, DIYers). However, the technol-
3D printing is a new reality.
ogy is not expected to flourish in traditional manufacturing
markets for a number of years, so it is unlikely that an entire
While this new reality is exciting, it also poses significant
commercial passenger airplane will be 3D–printed any time
questions for the future of how we manufacture goods.
soon. Still, traditional manufacturers need to take notice;
Factories will not disappear, but the face of the manufac-
there are many examples of “good enough” technologies
turing industry will change as new entrants, new prod-
that eventually disrupted and dominated their industry,
ucts and new materials emerge, and mainstay processes
including transistor radios and personal computers.
like distribution may no longer be needed. Today’s consumers clamor for customized products and services and
3D printing changes the
calculus of manufacturing by
optimizing for batches of one.
for speed of delivery. Yet customization and immediacy
— right here, right now — are not economical with traditional manufacturing processes, which are optimized for
large volumes of consistent output in a factory far away.
3D printing changes the calculus of manufacturing by
optimizing for batches of one. 3D printers are being used
to economically create custom, improved and sometimes
All disruptive technologies start out inferior to the domi-
even impossible-to-manufacture products right where
nant technology of the time. When the first experimental
they will be used. A single printer can produce a vast
3D printers emerged 20 years ago, they were nowhere
range of products, sometimes already assembled. It’s a
near the production quality of traditional manufactur-
factory without a factory floor and it has created a plat-
ing processes. However, as Christensen observed in his
form for innovation, enabling manufacturing to flourish in
research, the new technologies find a market that is
uncommon areas and spawning a new generation of do-
underserved by the current technology (which is often
it-yourself (DIY) manufacturers. The new players, with
focused on the higher end of the market). 3D printing
their innovative processes and technology, will disrupt
found rapid prototyping, which was an extremely costly
and labor-intensive process using traditional manufactur-
relationships through collaboration with customers to
ing techniques. 3D printing enabled cheap, high-quality,
create products (“co-creation”).
one-off prototypes that sped product development.
It is easy to dismiss the impact of 3D printing if you focus
As 3D printing technology evolved, it started to be used
only on the capabilities of today’s 3D printers compared
to directly manufacture niche or custom goods in low
to the capabilities of modern, highly automated facto-
volumes. According to Christensen, a disruptive technol-
ries. Today, and for the near future, 3D printing cannot
ogy continues to evolve to the point where it can serve
produce entirely finished products on an industrial scale.
the needs of the higher-end market at a lower cost, at
However, to dismiss 3D printing’s impact is to ignore the
which point it takes over the dominant players.
impending disruption, just like the minicomputer makers
did when personal computers appeared.
This is the path 3D printing is on today. 3D printing is
evolving rapidly, with practical examples in numerous
Flexibility to build a wide
range of products, coupled
with the fact that 3D printing
can be done near the point
of consumption, implies a
serious change to supply
chains and business models.
industries including defense, aerospace, automotive and
healthcare. Although 3D printing has been applied mainly
to low-volume production, the products can be far superior (lighter, stronger, customized, already assembled)
and cheaper than if created with traditional manufacturing processes. That is because 3D printing can control
exactly how materials are deposited (built up), making
it possible to create structures that cannot be produced
using conventional means.
Another disruptive element of 3D printing is the fact that a
single machine can create vastly different products. Compare this to traditional manufacturing methods, where the
production line must be customized and tailored if the
That said, like the personal computer, the first transistor
product line is changed, requiring expensive investment
radios and other disruptive technologies, 3D printing will
in tooling and long factory down-time. It is not hard to
take time to evolve and challenge the incumbents. Today’s
imagine a future factory that can manufacture tea cups,
technical barriers such as materials cost, quality, size limita-
automotive components and bespoke medical products
tions and throughput capacity will need to be overcome.
all in the same facility via rows of 3D printers.
As well, business and economic barriers such as retooling
an entire industry and redesigning business strategies, processes and roles will need to be addressed. (See Figure 1.)
Flexibility to build a wide range of products, coupled
with the fact that 3D printing can be done near the
point of consumption, implies a serious change to sup-
Initially, then, 3D printing will focus on new rather than
ply chains and business models. Many steps in the sup-
established markets. There are already many examples
ply chain can potentially be eliminated, including distri-
of this, such as prosthetic limb coverings and vintage
bution, warehousing and retail.
replacement parts. Over time, opportunities to complement existing manufacturing will emerge. This may be
The economics of manufacturing also change. Manu-
through leaner methods, hybrid machines, or changes to
facturing is less labor intensive, uses less material,
the supply chain or design process.
produces less waste, and can use new materials that
are light and strong. Depending on the material used,
As the history of disruptive technologies has shown, 3D
products made with 3D printing techniques can be up
printing will not be stopped. Competition will drive the
to 65 percent lighter but just as strong as traditionally
market forward, and over time barriers will come down.
manufactured products. Customization becomes very
History has also shown that once a disruption starts, adop-
easy, triggering new product strategies and customer
tion occurs much faster than anyone imagines possible.
Figure 1. 3d printing at a glance
Unique Advantages
Areas of Further Development
• Affordable customization
• Printing large volumes economically
• Allows manufacture of
• Expanding the range of printable materials
more efficient designs
• Reducing the cost of printable materials
— lighter, stronger, less
• Using multiple materials in the same printer,
assembly required
including those for printing electronics
• One machine, unlimited
• Printing very large objects
product lines
• Improving durability and quality
• Very small objects (nano)
• Efficient use of raw materials (less waste)
• Pay by weight — complexity is free
• Batches of one, created on demand
• Print at point of assembly/consumption
• Manufacturing accessible to all — lower entry barriers
• New supply chain and retail opportunities
Source: CSC
3D printing is providing a platform for collaboration that
ing’ technologies, from 3-D printers to laser cutters, is
is accelerating innovation and disruption in the material
democratizing innovation in atoms. You think the last two
world, just as the Internet fostered collaboration, innova-
decades were amazing? Just wait.”4
tion and disruption in the digital world.
This report focuses on the opportunities and potential of
In Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, Chris Anderson,
3D printing. Traditional markets may not yet recognize or
author and editor in chief of Wired, writes: “The idea of a
require the benefits of 3D printing, but that is expected to
‘factory’ is, in a word, changing. Just as the Web democ-
change as the manufacturing sector feels the impact of
ratized innovation in bits, a new class of ‘rapid prototyp-
this radically different production method.
The Rise of
3D Printing
While experiments occurred as far back as the 1960s, it was
nothing else, are required. Almost all everyday objects are
not until the mid 1980s when pioneers such as Charles Hull
created in a similar (but usually even more complex) manner.
(founder of 3D Systems) and Scott Crump (founder of Stratasys) developed a range of technologies now known as 3D
By contrast, a 3D printer can produce an adjustable wrench
printing. Their work was based on additive processes that
in a single operation, layer by layer. The wrench comes out
created solid objects layer by layer.
of the printer fully assembled, including all its moving parts.
(See Figure 3.) After some post-production work such as
As the processes evolved, they became known as additive
cleaning and baking, depending on the material, the wrench
manufacturing (AM). Because many AM methods were
is ready for use (though currently it is not as strong as its
based on ink-jet printing technology, the term “3D printing”
drop-forged metal counterpart).
(while sometimes misleading) has been broadly adopted by
the industry and mass media to refer to any AM process. For
simplicity this report uses the term “3D printing” to describe
the creation of physical objects, layer by layer, from data
delivered to a 3D printer. (See Figure 2).
The difference between traditional manufacturing and 3D
printing is how the objects are formed. Traditional manufacturing processes generally use a subtractive approach that
includes a combination of grinding, forging, bending, molding, cutting, welding, gluing and assembling. Take the production of a seemingly simple object such as an adjustable
wrench. Production involves forging components, grinding,
milling and assembling. Some of the raw material is wasted
Figure 3. This 3D-printed adjustable wrench does
along the way, and vast quantities of energy are expended
not require assembly.
in heating and reheating the metal. Specialist tools and
machines, optimized to produce wrenches of one size and
Source: CSC
Figure 2. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, builds objects layer by layer. Traditional manufacturing
typically uses a subtractive process, whereby materials are cut, ground or molded to create an object.
Source: Stratasys
Admittedly, 3D printing isn’t going to take over the creation
and optimize objects that cannot be built with traditional
of wrenches — at least not any time soon. The industry is
processes. This is opening the door to creativity, including
in its infancy and the technology rarely supports volumes
beautiful works of art such as Geoff Mann’s “Attracted to
larger than 1,000 units. However, as the technology evolves,
Light,” a piece that traces a moth’s erratic flight around a
volumes will increase.
light source.7 Such an object is simply not possible using a
traditional manufacturing technique.
In the meantime, for low volumes, 3D printing already provides significant value. Development cost and time can be
Chocolate, Cells, Concrete:
Extraordinary Properties from Ordinary
and Not-So-Ordinary Materials
cut by eliminating the need for tooling used in traditional
manufacturing. Because 3D printing enables precise control
of the material being used, the designer can recreate the
internal structure of a product for optimal effect. For exam-
3D printing started with plastics, but today there is an
ple, creating a lattice or honeycomb interior instead of a
astounding and growing range of printable materials that
solid block lightens the product without sacrificing strength.
includes ceramics, food, glass and even human tissue.
Being able to 3D print the internal structure is a key feature.
Commercially available machines print in a range of plastics
There is also reduced waste compared to some traditional
or metals. These printers generally work in one of two ways:
manufacturing processes, which can leave up to 90 percent
a material (e.g., various plastics) is melted and extruded
of the raw material on the factory floor. Thogus Products, a
through a tiny nozzle onto the build area, where the mate-
custom plastic injection molder, found that for a particular spe-
rial solidifies and builds the object up layer by layer; or a
cialty part, 3D printing (the Fused Deposition Modeling or FDM
bed of powdered material (e.g., plastic, various metals) is
method) reduced the cost of manufacturing from $10,000 to
laid down, layer by layer, and selectively fused solid. Usually
$600, the build time from 4 weeks to 24 hours, and the weight
some post-production work is required, such as cleaning
of the object by 70-90 percent.6 (See Figure 4.)
the excess powder, baking to achieve strength or hardness,
or dissolving support structures in a solution.
Furthermore, as the wrench example shows, objects can
be printed with a high degree of spatial control. This
Researchers, organizations and hobbyists have modified
allows movable components and intricate internal struc-
the underlying methods to dramatically broaden the range
tures to be created in a single print. However, more signifi-
of possibilities. For example, researchers at the University
cantly, the added control frees designers from the limits
of Exeter modified a 3D printer to print chocolate.8 (See
of traditional manufacturing, allowing people to create
Figure 5.) Cornell University, working with the French Culinary Institute in New York, took the idea further by creating
how does FDM compare to alternative
a range of 3D-printed food items such as miniature space
methods at thogus?
shuttles made of ground scallops and cheese.9
The principles have even been applied to biological
End of arm
of health applications:
24 hours
substances, opening the door to research on a range
4 weeks
• Washington State University has developed a bone-like
Automated$8,800 $50,000
2 weeks
8 weeks
material that provides support for new bone to grow.10
2 hours
2 weeks
• Researchers from the University of Glasgow have developed a system that creates organic compounds and
inorganic clusters, which they believe could have long-
Figure 4. This table shows the benefits of Fused
term potential for creating customized medicines.11
Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing compared
to traditional manufacturing methods.
• Organovo has created a range of human tissue using human
Source: Stratasys
cells as material and has even printed a human vein.12
rial. Two examples of this are 3D–printed wood that does
not warp,13 and the work underway to use living cells to 3D
print organs needed for transplants. (More on that later.)
Researchers are working on a range of techniques that
can control the exact material properties of printed com-
ponents, even down to the microscopic crystalline struc-
tures of metals,14 essentially changing how the material’s
underlying atoms and molecules are arranged. For example, 3D printing of metal can result in more uniform microstructures due to rapid solidification, in contrast to the
traditional metal casting and forging that require metal to
cool from the outer surface to the core.15 This allows engiFigure 5. 3D-printed chocolate from researchers at
neers to control the object’s strength, hardness, springi-
the University of Exeter illustrates custom shapes.
ness, flexibility and ability to support stress. The result
of this research will be products exhibiting combinations
Source: David Martin
of physical, electrical and mechanical properties that are
only dreamed about today.
Most fascinating is research that shows how 3D printing can revolutionize the properties of products. Just
The University of Illinois Lewis Research Group has created a
like laminated wood (plywood) has long been used as
number of custom “inks” (printing materials) with extremely
a lighter, stronger and more flexible alternative to solid
small feature sizes. (See Figure 6.) The researchers have dem-
timber, 3D–printed components can exhibit properties
onstrated many functional materials for improved conductiv-
that exceed the capabilities of traditionally manufactured
ity, lighter-weight structures and even self-healing polymers.
components, even if they are made from the same mate-
For example, the team has created a reactive silver ink for
Figure 6. Custom “Inks” Designed for 3D Printing
Colloidal Inks
fugitive Inks
nanoparticle Inks
polyelectrolyte Inks
sol-gel Inks
decreasing feature size
Sample Applications
250 nm
Printing advanced
Printing fugitive inks
Printing silver nanopar-
Printing polyelectro-
Printing sol-gel inks
ceramic, metallic and
for 3D microvascular
ticle ink that conducts
lyte, silk and hydrogel
for sensor, photonics,
polymer materials under
networks for tissue
electricity for wearable
inks for drug delivery,
catalyst supports and
ambient conditions using
engineering, light-
electronics, improved
photonics, membranes,
novel electrodes for
commercial 3D printers
weight structures,
solar cells and transpar-
tissue engineering and
dye-sensitized solar
for prototyping and
self–healing materials
ent conductive devices
3D cell culture
cells, batteries and
digital manufacturing
and soft robotics
Source: Lewis Research Group, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (http://colloids.matse.illinois.edu), and CSC
high-performance electronics that is faster to make (minutes
and specially formulated concrete.19 The social implications
to mix versus hours using particle-based inks) and can be
of using automated construction to replace dilapidated or
printed in small amounts. The ink can be stored longer than
destroyed dwellings are significant.
traditional ink and has a lower processing temperature, allowing electronics to be printed on low-cost materials such as
Still, the price of materials is a significant barrier to 3D print-
flexible plastic, paper or fabric substrates.16 In another appli-
ing. For example, the cost of plastic feed material used in
cation, the silver ink has been printed onto three-dimensional
3D printing ranges from $60-$425/kilogram (2.2 pounds),
surfaces to create small electrical antennas that perform an
while the equivalent amount of material used in traditional
order-of-magnitude better than traditional antenna designs.
injection molding is only $2.40-$3.30.20 Although the higher
These antennas show potential for implantable or wearable
cost is not a problem for prototyping or small volumes, it is
antennas, sensors and electronics.
not economical for large volumes.
Also conducting research into 3D printing and materials is
For some materials, 3D printing is more than just a niche alter-
the MIT Media Lab, which is experimenting with printing
native — it is actually the ideal production method. Titanium
large molds for concrete structures using a spray poly-
is one example; it is light, stronger than steel (for its density)
urethane foam. (See Figure 7.) Printing with polyurethane
and more corrosion resistant than stainless steel. In fact, it
offers benefits in weight, cure time, control and stability
is a near-perfect metal for many applications. Aside from its
compared to concrete. It also serves as thermal insula-
current cost, the main drawback of titanium (and the reason
tion. Once printed, the mold can be filled with concrete or
its use is limited to specialist applications in aerospace, medi-
another castable building material. MIT has printed several
cal implants, jewelry and performance cars) is that it is diffi-
prototype wall molds that are 5-6 feet tall as it explores the
cult to work with. It has a tendency to harden during cutting,
benefits of large-scale 3D–printed molds including design,
which results in high tool wear, and when being welded it is
cost, efficiency and safety.
susceptible to contamination that weakens the welds if the
proper precautions are not adhered to strictly.
Contour Crafting proposes 3D printing an entire house,
targeting low-cost and emergency housing (after a natu-
This is where 3D printing comes in. Directly printing in titanium
ral disaster, for example). The company claims an entire
is attractive because it eliminates the problems of machining.
2,500-square-foot home can be built in 20 hours (doors
Further, as the printing machines get bigger, entire assemblies
and windows added later) with extremely large 3D printers
can be printed, eliminating the need for welding.
To address the current high cost of
titanium metal (it is as much as 50
times more expensive than steel),
researchers are developing processes
to create powdered titanium at much
lower costs. Currently the printing
powders are produced by reducing
titanium ingots into fine, uniform
powders (in a highly energy-intensive
process). But just as the Bayer process reduced the cost of aluminum
from $1,200/kilogram to $0.60/kilogram at the end of the 19th century,
Figure 7. MIT is experimenting with 3D printing large forms made from
today’s research is looking at indus-
polyurethane (like the one seen in this rendering). The forms would be
trial processes for producing titanium
filled with concrete and used in building construction.
printing powders at a fraction of the
current cost.21
Source: Mediated Matter Group, MIT Media Lab
3D Printing
at work
Prototyping new products is the largest commercial
Today 3D printing is being used in many areas for both
application for 3D printing today, estimated to be 70
prototyping and direct digital manufacturing. Follow-
Prototyping gives
ing are examples from defense, aerospace, automotive
percent of the 3D printing market.
designers (and their customers) a way to touch and test
and healthcare.
products as concepts or functional objects early in the
design cycle. This avoids expensive changes later in the
process, saving significant time and money when bring-
Components used in military equipment must be strong,
ing new products to market.
durable and, above all, reliable, as failure can put lives at
By rapidly printing prototypes, manufacturers can signif-
risk. Consider the mount for camera gun sights on the
icantly shorten the development lifecycle. One example
M1 Abrams tank and Bradley fighting vehicles. These
comes from Akaishi, a Japanese manufacturer of cor-
high-precision components are mounted on the exter-
rectional footwear and massage devices. The company
nal body of the tanks, where they must survive incred-
found that by 3D printing prototypes in-house, it could
ibly harsh shock, vibration and environmental conditions.
reduce lead time of new products by 90 percent com-
EOIR Technology, a leading defense system design and
pared to its previously outsourced prototyping service.
development company, was able to manufacture mounts
This allows its designers to have 100 percent confidence
durable enough for use on the tanks using a 3D printer.
in a product’s functionality before it ever reaches the
What’s more, by switching to 3D printing technology, the
Prototyping also facilitates experimentation
company reduced the manufacturing costs from over
and innovation. For example, using 3D printing, Bell Heli-
$100,000 per unit to under $40,000.26
copter can test new designs in days versus weeks using
In the future, it may be possible for the military to print
traditional methods.24
replacement parts on the battlefield instead of relying on
In some industries, 3D printing has shifted from proto-
limited spares or the supply chain. While this is still some
types to direct part production, also known as direct
time away, there are developments that suggest movement
digital manufacturing. The technology is being applied
in the right direction. For example, the Trainer Develop-
to short production runs and does not require tooling,
ment Flight (TDF) facility at Sheppard Air Force Base in
thus allowing flexibility, adaptability and speed to market.
Texas is using 3D printing to develop training aids for the
This is enabling countries with strong intellectual capital
but high manufacturing costs to once again compete in
In the future, it may be
possible for the military to
print replacement parts on
the battlefield instead of
relying on limited spares or
the supply chain.
manufacturing. As Scott Hay, founder of 3De, a small rapid
product development company based in Florida, told
IndustryWeek, 3D printing “is a terrific win for American
manufacturing.”25 3De designs specialized high-precision
surgical systems, which are then printed by a U.S.-based
3D printing service, GPI. There is no cost advantage in
off-shoring the production of 3D components, unlike traditional manufactured components that are cheaper to
manufacture overseas.
Air Force and other U.S. Department of Defense branches.27
lons of fuel annually.32 Boeing, as well as other aerospace
Given the highly specialized nature of the equipment, such
giants GE and the European Aeronautic Defence and
as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and the low volumes
Space group (EADS), maker of the Airbus, are conducting
required, using original parts or even manufacturing rep-
further research to optimize parts such as wing brackets.
licas is a lengthy and expensive exercise. However, using
(See Figure 8.) Ferra Engineering, an Australian aerospace
3D printing in combination with traditional manufacturing
contractor (that supplies Boeing and Airbus), has a con-
techniques has enabled the government to save over $3.8
tract to 3D print large two-meter-long titanium parts for
million from 2004-2009, not to mention provide improved
the F-35 joint strike fighter, reducing machining time and
and timely training in areas including avionics, weapons
materials waste.33 Boeing even envisions 3D printing an
systems, medical readiness and telecommunications sys-
entire airplane wing in the future.34
tems. More recently, student interns working on a U.S. Army
research project created and flew a 6.5-foot-wingspan
plane (a UAV) made entirely of 3D–printed parts to help
study the feasibility of using such planes.28
A quite different military application of 3D printing is the
creation of topographical models to provide better intelligence. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used this technique when responding to Hurricane Katrina. The Corps
generated and regenerated models of New Orleans as the
situation evolved. The models, which could be created in
about two hours, showed changing floodwater levels, buildings and other features of the area. This aided in situational
understanding and helped guide the relief effort as soldiers
and civil authorities worked to save people and property.29
The 3D mapping was critical for its visualization and speed;
one can imagine it being applied in other fields that require
knowing the lay of the land, from mining to archeology.
Like many industries, aerospace is leveraging 3D printing
Figure 8. This 3D–printed metal Airbus
to improve the performance of assets, reducing mainte-
wing bracket is lighter and stronger than the
nance requirements, consolidating components and sav-
conventional wing bracket in the background
ing fuel costs with lighter parts.
that it could potentially replace.
Boeing, a pioneer in 3D printing, has printed 22,000 com-
Source: EADS
ponents that are used in a variety of aircraft.30 For example,
Boeing has used 3D printing to produce environmental
control ducting (ECD) for its new 787 aircraft. With tradi-
Another benefit is the use of distributed manufacturing to
tional techniques, the ECD is created from up to 20 parts
address supply chain issues. Components mass-produced
due to its complex internal structure. However, with 3D
in one part of the world can take weeks to arrive at an
printing, Boeing produces the ECD as one piece. The new
assembly factory. But 3D printing components on site
component reduces inventory, does not require assem-
eliminates shipping time, reduces friction in the supply
bly and improves inspection and maintenance times. As
chain and reduces inventory levels at the factory.
the 3D–printed parts weigh less, the aircraft’s operating
weight decreases, resulting in fuel savings. According to
An extreme example of a long supply chain is space explo-
American Airlines, for every pound of weight removed
ration. Imagine if it were possible to print products, tools
from its aircraft, the company saves more than 11,000 gal-
or replacement parts on the International Space Station
or even on Mars. That is exactly what groups like Made in
Today, NASA’s next space exploration vehicle (rover)
Space and Lunar Buildings are investigating. Both organi-
includes about 70 3D–printed parts; NASA engineers also
zations are developing tools, processes and systems for
3D print prototypes to test parts before production.36
directly manufacturing in space, avoiding the costly and
decade-long planning cycles required to send a rocket
Looking ahead, NASA is exploring 3D printing as a ser-
into space with the necessary replacement parts and tools.
vice (3DPaaS) for rapid pre-prototype work. “We are
Made in Space has a contract with NASA and is currently
bullish on 3D printing,” says Tom Soderstrom, IT chief
conducting zero gravity tests, with plans to trial 3D print-
technology officer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
ing on the International Space Station. This would allow
“3D printing makes it easier to capture the imagination of
astronauts to print tools and parts in space exactly when
the mission concepts. We can see what others are imag-
(See Figure 9.)
ining.” Engineers could use 3DPaaS to rapidly obtain
peer reviews, additional design concepts and approval
to prototype. Initial prototyping and iterations would be
done using low-cost, fast-turnaround open source CAD
tools and 3D printers. “We like the open source, open
design approach. It would allow us to get outside ideas
about the designs more easily and to get started much
sooner,” Soderstrom adds.
Once the design is deemed ready for full-scale prototyping,
it would go to large-scale 3D printers to build a version 1.0
object. The result would be faster build times, lower costs
and more confidence in the version 1.0 design.
Figure 9. This Made in Space team is conducting 3D
Space is not the only extreme environment for 3D print-
printing zero gravity tests for 3D printing in space.
ing. Industrial designer Markus Kayser has demonstrated
a solar-powered 3D printer creating crude glass out
of sand in the Sahara desert.37 (See Figure 10.) It isn’t
Source: Made in Space
space, but it does show that 3D printing can be done
with basic resources in extremely
remote environments.
For years, major automotive manufacturers have been using 3D printing
for prototyping. However, the automotive industry is poised to begin
applying the process to more than
just prototypes of small custom parts.
Take, for example, the Urbee, billed as
the world’s first printed car. The twopassenger Urbee, created by KOR
Figure 10. Glass is printed in the Sahara desert with sand “ink” and a
EcoLogic, dismisses preconceptions
solar powered 3D printer.
about limits to 3D printing sizes. To be
clear, not all parts are 3D–printed —
just the shell of this hybrid prototype
Source: Markus Kayser
car — though interior components are
Figure 11. The Urbee (“urban electric”) boasts the world’s first 3D–printed car body, an ultra aerodynamic design
and high energy efficiency. The hybrid car uses renewable energy (wind, solar, hydro) and ethanol (for long
distances). The car could be in low-volume production by 2014. Future plans include 3D printing the interior (right).
Source: KOR EcoLogic
planned to be 3D printed.38 (See Figure 11.) The Urbee, which
could be in low-volume production by 2014,
has planted
the seed for mass customization of large-scale car compo-
The most inspiring use of 3D printing is in the healthcare
nents. Watch for unique car styles, designs and shapes to
industry, where 3D printing has the potential to save lives
appear in the near future.
or dramatically improve them. 3D printing in healthcare still
has some years to go before mass adoption, but early devel-
Indeed, the world’s first race car created largely with 3D
opments to create tissue, organs, bones and prosthetic
printing competed on the track in the Formula Student 2012
devices provide a glimpse of how lives may be improved.
challenge in July 2012.40 The car was created using a 3D
printing technique called mammoth stereolithography (SL)
Using a patient’s own cultured cells or stem cells, the
from Materialise, a rapid prototyping company.41 Mammoth
Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has
SL is designed for printing large objects and has a build area
developed a 3D printing technique for engineering tis-
of over 6.5 feet (two meters).42
sue and organs. The ultimate goal is to help solve the
shortage of donated organs available for transplant. Sci-
Engineers at BMW have leveraged 3D printing to create
entists are working on a variety of projects including ear,
ergonomic, lighter versions of their assembly tools to
muscle and a long-term effort to print a human kidney.
increase worker productivity. By improving the design,
(See Figure 12.) The printer is designed to print organ
workers are carrying 2.9 pounds (1.3 kilograms) less and
and tissue structures using data from medical scans,
have improved handling and balance. As BMW engineer
such as CT or MRI. The basic idea is to print living cells
Günter Schmid says, “This may not seem like much, but
— and the biomaterials that hold cells together — into
when a worker uses the tool hundreds of times in a shift, it
a 3D shape. This organ or tissue structure would then
makes a big difference.”
be implanted into the body, where it would continue to
develop. The kidney project is based on earlier work that
In addition to ergonomics, another area where 3D printing
used cells and biomaterials to engineer a “miniature”
can make a big difference is marketing. Imagine showing a
kidney that was able to produce a urine-like substance
full-scale 3D model instead of a CAD drawing as part of a
when implanted in a steer.
bid proposal. One company has done that with car interiors, showing front and back with all the attachment points
In addition, there are a growing number of applications for
as part of its presentation. Pictures may tell a thousand
3D printing in surgery. For example, the Walter Reed Army
words, but touch and feel make it real.
Medical Center has created and successfully implanted
over 60 titanium cranial plates.44 In June 2011 the first
3D–printed jaw, also made of titanium, was successfully
implanted in an 83-year-old woman by Dr. Jules Poukens
of Hasselt University.45 These implants perfectly match
a patient’s body and provide better fixation, which can
reduce surgery time and infection.46
Perfectly matching a person’s body is key for prosthetic
devices too. 3D printing is ideal for these highly customized, small production runs (quantities of one) that demand
strong but light-weight materials. 3D printing would enable
those with limb loss to get exactly what they want for look,
feel, size and weight, all for a fraction of the cost of a traditionally-made prosthetic. Bespoke Innovations, now owned
by 3D Systems, uses 3D printing to make custom coverings
for artificial limbs and aims to 3D print the entire prosthesis
in the future.47 (See Figure 13.) A related example is 2-yearold Emma, born with a rare disease called arthrogrypoFigure 12. These 3D–printed structures — kidney
sis, who wears 3D–printed “magic arms” that give her the
(top left), ear (top right) and finger — could one day
strength to lift her real arms — and a whole new lease on
help address the organ shortage and the need to
life.48 The “magic arms” can be reprinted as she grows and
repair if not replace damaged body parts.
are light enough for her 25-pound body. Another example
are 3D-printed hearing aids that, though pricey, provide
excellent sound quality due to their custom fit.
Source: Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Figure 13. The 3D-printed metal lace cover on this prosthetic leg is delicate yet strong
and reflects the wearer’s individuality.
Source: Bespoke Innovations
3D Printing
at Home
3D printers have created a new generation of DIY manufacturers. These individuals are using 3D printing services online or their own low-cost 3D printers to create
custom products that address unmet needs.
Growing Services Market
3D printers make it economical to create highly unique
products that quench the rising thirst for personalization.
Whether it is a smartphone case personalized with your
name (see Figure 14), an avatar from World of Warcraft or
a self-designed robot toy, there are a range of services like
Freshfiber, FigurePrints, My Robot Nation and Sculpteo
Figure 14. 3D printing services make personalized
at one’s disposal. The consumer market is buzzing with
products like this smartphone case affordable.
affordable custom products, all available through the
Internet using “as a service” techniques. Expect to see 3D
Source: Sculpteo
printing stores in a shopping mall near you soon!
,. .
A growing population of DIY designers
is using these services to create and
upload products and ideas to websites
like Shapeways, a start-up “working to
democratize creation by making production more accessible, personal, and
inspiring.”49 (See Figure 15.)
~ ~~
Low-Cost Printing in
Unexpected Places
In 2008-09 the 3D printing market
took a major turn with the availability of open source manufacturing kits
priced under $1,000, including various
derivatives of the RepRap open source
. /"'""'\
~ ~
, ,~
• .11M! slfp tg ¥1111
Yoi.r lila l11ldt ruU
project (discussed later) and the CupCake CNC from MakerBot Industries.
Figure 15. The Shapeways 3D printing marketplace removes barriers
These devices ushered in a new group,
to manufacturing by providing 3D printing services via the web and
hobbyists, who previously couldn’t
enabling people to share their designs.
afford their own personal machines.
And like all technologies, prices have
Source: Shapeways
continued to fall; for example, the
Figure 16. The Long-Term Opportunity for Individuals
Low-cost 3D printing enables anyone with a digital design to bypass the traditional supply chain and manufacture
a product themselves. What are the implications for companies operating in the supply chain?
Source: CSC
Printrbot LC launched in 2012 for $549.50 The availability of
What’s more, with their roots in open source, many 3D
low-cost 3D printers has spurred many to manufacture at
printers are evolving rapidly and can now compete with
home, bypassing numerous steps. (See Figure 16.)
some commercial printers. (See Figure 17.) For those that
need higher quality products, a variety of online printing bureaus allow
prints in different materials (metals,
plastics and glass).
To get an idea of what these DIY manufacturers are printing, take a look at
Thingiverse.com, a website with selfcreated files for 3D printing. Created
by MakerBot Industries, the website
has a large community of individuals
who have shared over 25,000 models ranging from toys and gadgets to
replacement parts.51 All are available for
downloading and printing by anyone.
Recently, one of our researchers faced
the prospect of a 14-hour flight holding
an ebook reader, with no time to buy
a reader stand before leaving for the
flight. After a few minutes searching on
Thingiverse.com, he was able to download a foldable stand design, print it in
45 minutes, and use it on the flight that
Figure 17. The MakerBot Replicator 2 comes fully assembled, unlike its
night. (See Figure 18.)
predecessor, and is designed for high-quality DIY manufacturing.
In addition to homes, low-cost printers have made their way into other
Source: MakerBot Industries
unexpected places. For example, at
Outside of ordinary replacements, there are some parts
and objects that are simply no longer in stock. For example, due to the scarcity of replacement dials for a vintage
boombox, someone created a printable alternative.55
That is the beauty of 3D printing: creating functional, if not
obscure, parts. One of the most high-profile examples comes
from American comedian Jay Leno. In an article in Popular
Mechanics, Leno discusses his use of 3D printing to re-manufacture parts for his rare and vintage vehicle collection: “Any
antique car part can be reproduced with these machines
— pieces of trim, elaborately etched and even scrolled door
handles. If you have an original, you can copy it. Or you can
design a replacement on the computer, and the 3D printer
makes it for you.”56 He goes on to explain how his 1907 White
Figure 18. This e-reader stand was 3D–printed
Steamer is back on the street due to the use of 3D printing to
by our researcher in less than an hour. The design
recreate an incredibly rare slide valve (D-valve).
is available on Thingiverse by designer Billy Carr
(“uni stand” by codemanusa).
Using 3D printing, Leno can create functional parts for testing (i.e., to see if the part is the right size and shape before
Source: CSC
using a traditional CNC milling process), create molds to
cast a part in aluminum, and even replace metal parts with
Southview Middle School in Edina, Minnesota, the indus-
plastic. He explains: “My EcoJet supercar needed air-condi-
trial technology teacher uses a 3D printer so students can
tioning ducts. We used plastic parts we designed, right out
experience their designs and concepts as physical mod-
of the 3D copier. We didn’t have to make these scoops out
els. In Australia, a local municipality has created a 3D
of aluminum — plastic is what they use in a real car. And the
printing lab in a library so the community can play with
finished ones look like factory production pieces.”57
and understand the technology.
Although it is hard to predict
where 3D printing at home
will lead, it is a safe bet that
consumers won’t use these
printers to recreate what they
can already buy in stores.
It is important to note that libraries, schools and homes
have different quality requirements than factories. Consumers, who have never had such manufacturing powers
before, are quite forgiving of faults in 3D-printed objects
they have created themselves, as long as the object
serves its required function. Consumers may not be so
forgiving of such flaws in products they purchase.
Making Things Work
While not for everyone, 3D printers allow the Mr. or Ms. FixIt to take control of their appliances. Examples of replace-
3D printing is breaking down barriers to manufactur-
ment parts emerging in the Thingiverse library include a
ing. Although it is hard to predict where 3D printing
wheel for a dishwasher, a keyboard support stand and a
at home will lead, it is a safe bet that consumers won’t
portable camera battery door. Some of these parts have
use these printers to recreate what they can already
had significant downloads. For example, a touch screen sty-
buy in stores. They will be creating things you simply
can’t buy, such as irreplaceable parts and personalized
lus for the Nintendo DS has over 300 downloads;
a lost stylus is a common problem with a simple solution.
objects and gadgets.
of ManufacturinG
3D printing at work or at home signifies the democrati-
Bypassing the modeling effort altogether, a range of
zation of manufacturing. (The very name “3D printing”
affordable 3D scanners enables physical objects to
instead of “additive manufacturing” is a nod to a broader
be digitized, modified (within limits) and reproduced
audience.) Until now, the creation of high-quality physical
directly by a 3D printer. Interestingly, several software
products or prototypes required very expensive machin-
products are blurring the distinction between scanning
ery and investments in tooling and sophisticated CAD/
and modeling. By automating much of the 3D modeling
CAM software. This posed a barrier, preventing many good
experience, they allow almost anyone to rapidly gener-
ideas from ever being built (even to a prototype stage), as
ate sophisticated models. Check out Continuum Fash-
most people lacked the skills and financial resources to
ion58 and FaceGen.59 Both services — one for fashion,
design, let alone manufacture or distribute, a product.
the other for facial modeling — hide the back-end 3D
modeling effort from the individual, who simply wants
However, in the last decade these traditional barriers have
the output. More recently, Autodesk launched a cloud
been stripped away.
service that allows people to create 3D models with a
few swipes on their iPad or by uploading photos of an
object from multiple angles.60
While 3D printing is at the heart of the DIY production
process, there have been developments in all elements
of the DIY manufacturing lifecycle including free or low-
Another example of the democratization of design comes
cost 3D modeling and scanning tools (for design), shar-
from 3D software house Digital Forming, which provides
ing websites (for marketing and distribution), investment
software that enables companies to share product design
websites (for funding), and a new open design ethos
with their customers. The software lets consumers tweak
(industry collaboration). These elements now allow almost
dimensions of the desired product, whether it is the per-
anyone to become a manufacturer or contribute to the
fect lamp or a custom cuff link. Consumers can adjust
manufacturing process.
shape, surface design, color and material (within limits).
This closer relationship between consumer and manufac-
Sophisticated Modeling Made Simple
turer will spur a greater expectation for customization.
3D modeling and visualization play a crucial role in the
Although 3D printing makes one think of the hardware
early phases of product development. However, in the past,
and objects produced, a key part of the magic of 3D print-
software was often expensive and required extremely pow-
ing is the software. Formlabs made software ease-of-use
erful machines, making personal use impractical. Today
a cornerstone of its sophisticated 3D printer (discussed
this has changed. Now, most home PCs can run some of
later). Elsewhere, a team of researchers has created soft-
the world’s most sophisticated software such as Creo 2.0
ware that examines the geometry of the CAD model and
or SolidWorks. What’s more, there are a number of free
determines where to add joints, so elbows and knees
or low-cost modeling tools, such as 3DTin, SketchUp and
get hinges, for example.61 The software optimizes for full
Blender, that contain powerful design capabilities but are
movement and no collisions with other joints or possible
simple enough for anyone to use. For something even sim-
movements. 3D printing then allows the whole model,
pler, there is Tinkercad, which is free and let’s people play
including its joints and moving parts, to be materialized all
with the basics of 3D modeling.
at once. Sophisticated modeling made simple.
Déjà Vu: The Intellectual Property Debate
Despite the allure of 3D printing and
over the world. Previously, manufactur-
begun to appear. Intellectual Ventures,
the democratization of manufactur-
ing posed a barrier because the model
run by former Microsoft CTO Nathan
ing, 3D printing poses serious ques-
could not be created and distributed
Myhrvold, has been granted a pat-
tions about intellectual property. To
readily like this; if you wanted that toy,
ent for managing “object production
be clear, this issue is not unique to
you had to purchase it. However, with
rights” for 3D printing specifically
3D printing; patent and copyright
3D printers it is possible to simply print
(though not exclusively); it remains to
infringement has been debated for
the toy yourself. While the individual
be seen to what extent this patented
decades, stoked more recently by the
benefits, the manufacturer loses out
technique for preventing unauthor-
advent of Internet piracy, and will con-
on its significant investment in design,
ized object copying will be used.62
tinue to be fought for years to come.
manufacturing and marketing.
In his paper “It Will Be Awesome if They
Nonetheless, 3D printing and sup-
Some are fearful that 3D printing will
Don’t Screw it Up: 3D Printing, Intel-
porting tools allow almost anyone to
cripple traditional manufacturers, lik-
lectual Property, and the Fight Over
intentionally or unintentionally recre-
ening it to Internet piracy in the music
the Next Great Disruptive Technology,”
ate an existing product design, distrib-
and movie industries. While those in
Michael Weinberg, a staff attorney at
ute that design, and manufacture the
the music industry argue that illegal
advocacy group Public Knowledge,
product. Although technically this was
downloads have hurt it severely, oth-
agrees with concerns but also compre-
possible decades ago, today’s digital
ers believe the industry was already
hensively breaks down arguments and
designs and 3D printers, linked by the
in trouble and needed to reinvent its
current legislative issues across multiple
Internet, make it significantly easier.
dated business model. Either way,
intellectual property dimensions.63 He
piracy is a heated issue.
highlights both the threats and opportunities of 3D printing. An important
Armed with a low-cost 3D scanner and
3D printer, you can buy a product off
As with music and movies, digital
reminder from Weinberg is that prog-
the shelf such as a toy, scan that object
rights management (DRM) discus-
ress, and those who are inspired, should
or its parts, and distribute the design all
sions for manufacturing designs have
not be stopped by those who fear.
Share the Design, Ship the Design
The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has been a
leader for some time in connecting consumers and
After producing a product on a 3D printer, creators turn
small businesses to large-scale manufacturers, break-
to marketing and distribution. Several years ago, if fund-
ing down barriers to manufacturing. This consumer-to-
ing was scarce, the creator would initially manufacture and
business model encourages small, custom transactions
market a low volume of product for a specialist application.
and is “ideally suited for the micro-entrepreneur of the
Over time, if the product was successful, further investment
DIY movement.”65
would be made so larger volumes could be marketed and
distributed around the world. It was only at this point that
But Alibaba was about shipping products, whereas 3D
the product could reach a broader customer base.
printing is about shipping designs, continuing the evolution of the digitization of things. Being able to ship and
Now, thanks to online marketplaces like Thingiverse,
print the design means that printing can be done on
Shapeways and Sculpteo, the marketing and distribution
demand, whether through a service bureau, a company’s
problem has been significantly reduced. As of August
own 3D printing capability or even the end consumer.
2012, Shapeways had nearly 7,000 shops and over
These innovative printing options will drive the next gen-
160,000 members who had printed over one million prod-
eration of distribution and pose major upheaval for tra-
ucts.64 Shapeways enables designers to get paid for their
ditional manufacturers, whose businesses revolve around
products and also handles distribution, so products can
shipping products, not designs.
be purchased and delivered anywhere in the world.
Open Design
Although low-cost 3D printers and accessible CAD software
“Open source” is best known as the term associated with
lower barriers to entry for bringing new products to market,
freely-available software like Linux, Android and Apache.
some capital is still required. This is where pioneering initia-
The philosophy behind open source is that information
tives like Kickstarter come in. Kickstarter, a crowd-funding
should be shared freely by a community of contributors,
website for creative projects, allows anyone with a good idea
who work to improve the product and contribute their work
to advertise for seed funding, usually provided by large num-
back to the community for free use. The power of this phi-
bers of small investors. The rewards for the investor are set by
losophy is demonstrated by Wikipedia, which, through the
the entrepreneur and typically range from thank-you certifi-
contributions of millions of people, has become the premier
cates for small donations to free copies of the product being
reference encyclopedia in dozens of languages and is freely
sponsored. Most projects raise less than $10,000 though the
available, while its “closed” competitors (like Encyclopedia
highest funding to date for a single project was $10 million.
Britannica) have become obsolete.
Formlabs, an MIT Media Lab spin-off, achieved its 30-day
Similarly, the term “open design” has come to be applied to
funding goal of $100,000 in less than three hours66 and
the design of physical products, machines and components
reached over $1.5 million in one week. What’s all the
through public sharing and contribution. Low-cost 3D print-
excitement about? Formlabs provides an affordable high-
ers and availability of software for creating and sharing print-
resolution 3D printer (still in testing) for designers, engi-
able designs are enabling the necessary conditions for sharing
neers and serious hobbyists. The Form 1 printer uses ste-
designs of physical components. The concept of open design
reolithography, the method used in high-end printers, thus
is starting to take off with products like VIA OpenBook (an
bringing professional-quality printing to individuals. The
open source laptop) and RepRap (an open source 3D printer).
democratization of manufacturing and the democratization of investing go hand-in-hand.
The RepRap Story — Open Source Manufacturing
The year 2008 was a turning point
One of the aims of the RepRap is
Because the design is freely available,
for DIY manufacturing because a
to enable individuals or small enter-
anyone can download, manufacture
new product called the RepRap was
prises, especially in poorer parts of
and sell the RepRap. In this way,
released. The RepRap is a low-cost 3D
the world, to be able to build complex
many individuals and small compa-
printer, but what is truly unique about
products for themselves with virtually
nies manufacture and sell RepRaps
the RepRap is how it is designed,
no capital investment (a RepRap kit
online, either in kit form or as fully
manufactured and distributed.
costs about $500).
assembled and tested models.
In May 2008, the second RepRap
Inspired by open source software
As a result, the rate of innovation
printer was assembled. Within min-
models, the RepRap design is also
of the RepRap and its derivatives is
utes of being turned on, it had started
open source. This means the entire
accelerating faster than equivalent
printing the components to build the
design (hardware, electronics and
commercial 3D printers. In the future,
third RepRap, and so on. Today, it is
software) is not protected by any
open source approaches may be
estimated that over 20,000 RepRaps
patents and anyone can modify and
applied to all sorts of manufactured
exist, most of them using components
contribute improvements (provided
products, leading to superior prod-
manufactured by other RepRaps67 —
they make them freely available). A
ucts that are more reliable and func-
a neat example that gets closer to the
tional because a global community
vision of self-replicating machines.
users actively participates to innovate
and improve the design.
continually improves them.
As well as fostering small-scale DIY product innovation by
issued the Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support
interested communities, open design can provide a frame-
Vehicle (XC2V) Design Challenge, conducted in partner-
work for developing advanced technology projects that are
ship with open design automobile manufacturer Local
beyond the resources of any single company or even country.
Motors.68 In a stunning display of the power and enthusiasm of the open design community, Local Motors turned
In 2011, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects
the winning design into a working prototype in just 14
Agency (DARPA) turned to the public for inspiration
weeks — about one-fifth the time of the automobile
to design a replacement for the iconic Humvee. DARPA
industry average.69 (See Figure 19.)
Figure 19. This potential Humvee replacement was created by an open design community, which built a working
prototype in just 14 weeks.
Source: Local Motors
Impact on Commercial
While it is difficult to say with certainty how 3D printing in
be challenged by 3D printers providing just-in-time manu-
its various forms (e.g., desktop, large-scale) will impact tra-
facturing near the point of sale or point of assembly. Sup-
ditional manufacturing, emerging trends indicate that a fun-
ply chains will be re-optimized to factor in the advantages
damental paradigm shift has already started. As 3D printing
of just-in-time, particularly for low-volume or highly spe-
evolves, the new world of manufacturing looks like this:
cialized components. Conversely, designers will be able
to minimize costs by using low-cost, high-volume compo-
• Time-to-market for products shrinks. This will be due,
nents wherever possible, connected with specialized just-
in part, to faster design and prototyping cycles as a
in-time components produced at the point of assembly.
result of 3D printing, but also to the elimination of tooling and factory setup times for new products. Being
Amidst this new world of manufacturing, traditional manu-
“agile” will no longer be a competitive advantage but a
facturing processes must evolve or die. (See sidebar.) In a
basic necessity to stay in business.
recent report, LEF researcher Simon Wardley noted that
when an activity, in this case manufacturing, becomes a
• Products have superior capabilities. The barriers for
commodity, traditional practices must evolve to embrace
manufacturing will be lowered, bringing new competi-
the new, though highly disruptive, business processes. He
tors with new ideas. At the same time, products incor-
states that the 3D printing disruption “will almost certainly
porating 3D-printed components will exhibit superior
be led by new entrants whose practices will be radically
features such as being smaller, lighter, stronger, less
different from those of existing players.”70 Therefore, in pre-
mechanically complex and easier to maintain. These
paring for this change, traditional manufacturers must keep
products will hold distinct competitive advantage.
abreast of evolving 3D printing practices and be aware of
their own internal barriers (e.g., culture, organization) that
• Open design is here to stay. Communities of end users
could prevent them from taking advantage of the change.
will increasingly be responsible for product designs,
which will be available to anyone with the necessary skills
As more organizations
and individuals become
manufacturers, the lines
between manufacturer and
customer will blur.
and tools who wants to design and then manufacture.
These open-design products will be superior to proprietary products. Manufacturers will compete on how well
they implement the designs and their build quality, which
will be mercilessly rated by end users on the Internet.
• Customization is the new normal. As innovative companies use 3D printing and other rapid techniques to
offer customization at no additional cost, consumers
will come to expect customization as the norm. The
As more organizations and individuals become manufac-
per-unit manufacturing costs of small production runs
turers, the lines between manufacturer and customer will
(even batches of one) will approach those of long runs
blur. When there is a retailer in between, those lines will
as technology barriers fall.
blur too. Manufacturing will move into retailing. Consumers and new entrants will move into manufacturing. Will
• The economics of off-shore change. The price advantage
traditional manufacturing be dead in 10 years? No, but it
will look very different.
associated with mass production in low-cost regions will
Hypothetical Case Study:
3D Printing Blurs Retail and Manufacturing
Gordon Fuller, CSC
The results of this analysis persuade
since the company would be selling
Retro that intellectual property pro-
3D printer files along with manufac-
Retro Company is a specialty retailer
tection cannot be enforced since
tured items. The website would need
selling reproduction home furnishings
Retro itself takes photographs of his-
to offer choices of material, identify
(door handles, cabinet pulls, lanterns)
torical artifacts for its reproductions.
compatible printers based on the
in mall stores and online. The com-
This makes the company vulnerable
materials, and provide other options.
pany is evaluating a five-year strategic
to alternate designs from competitors
This new sales channel would also
plan to open 200 additional stores.
or home enthusiasts. Legal input sug-
require additional services and oppor-
To support the demand from those
gests that Retro can alter its warranty
tunities to enhance customer loyalty.
stores, U.S.-based Retro is considering
and return policies depending on the
expanding production at its two fac-
source of the product, but the com-
As the impact of customer choice
tories in North America and increasing
pany does alert its lobbyist in Wash-
becomes evident to more divisions
its sourcing from Asia. However, the
ington, D.C. to monitor legislation
within the company, enforcement
company also realizes that its product
regarding at-home manufacturing.
of intellectual property protection is
line may be compatible with 3D print-
again fiercely debated as a way to
ing, a potential game-changer for its
Although the costs of manufactur-
retain market share. Hosting a design
business, so it incorporates the tech-
ing, inventory and distribution are
store for enthusiasts and possible
nology into its planning.
expected to fall dramatically over
competitors may cannibalize sales
the next few years by using 3D print-
even more. Retro concludes that
After analyzing the materials needed
ing, the unknown impact on sales
more customers would be alienated
for its products, expected use and
when customers print designs them-
by restrictions than would be retained
durability, and future printing capa-
selves means a cost-benefit analysis
by rights management and reaffirms
bilities, Retro determines that 3D
is impossible at this early stage. The
its strategy to remain open with its
printing is possible, not only by Retro
company does estimate, however,
designs and website.
but by its customers. The company
that 60 percent of its customers will
dives further into analysis for the fol-
have the capability to print their own
Retro’s manufacturing strategy is
lowing questions:
products after eight years.
also revised. With the drop in physical goods sold as people purchase
• Since much of its inventory is
reproductions of American colonial
digital designs, production volumes
Build or Buy?
are projected to decrease. The com-
and other historic objects, does
Retro turns to finding ways to improve
Retro own the intellectual property
sourcing is still needed from Asia,
of these designs and can the com-
respond to this at-home manufactur-
but decides to reduce the length of
pany protect it?
ing market. The company analyzes
its fixed-term contract from eight
its store and website demographics
to four years and instead purchase
• If customers print the products
to determine customer profiles and
options for years five through seven.
themselves, can the company offer
to identify customization opportuni-
However, Retro realizes its suppliers
any warranty or guarantee?
ties 3D printing would offer for both
are vulnerable to 3D printing as well,
customers and product designers. It
and due diligence is required on the
• Is the company liable for safety
also segments customers into “build”
customer mix of those companies;
issues when it does not control
or “buy” categories. A complete rede-
if too many of its suppliers’ other
sign of the website would be required
customers are impacted by 3D print-
Hypothetical Case Study:
3D Printing Blurs Retail and Manufacturing (continued)
ing, then the supplier could collapse,
shareholders, and the temptation
until the preliminary analysis from the
leaving Retro without inventory.
is to squeeze profit from the exist-
pilot program is ready.
ing stores before the paradigm has
This ties into the calculations for
shifted. Retro is also wary about sig-
Retro knows it is breaking new ground
the planned 200 retail stores. Focus
naling its intentions to the market and
in the 3D printing arena, but wants
groups suggest that customers would
losing a competitive advantage. The
to do so ahead of competitors or
still patronize a showroom to handle
company’s board determines that its
new entrants. The retailer is seeing
the merchandise, especially if any item
fiduciary responsibility to sharehold-
the lines between manufacturing and
from the catalog could be printed
ers outweighs preserving the status
retail blur as customers take on manu-
on site as a sample. New break-even
quo. It approves confidential plans to
facturing themselves and retailers sell
numbers are estimated for retail oper-
convert the company’s entire inven-
digital designs, not physical products.
ations, and supplier vulnerability is off-
tory into 3D printer files, as well as
As Retro expects its entire business
set by contingency plans to add more
ensure that all new product designs
model to shift in response, one strate-
printers to stores if needed.
are created as 3D files from the
gic option being considered is whether
beginning. Work begins on the web-
a new company should be formed as
Digital Inventory
site redesign as well as a pilot store
a “pure” 3D enterprise. Retro decides
program for the new retail sales con-
not to do this for the first two years,
The dramatic shift in sales volume
cepts. Store expansion plans move
preferring to evaluate its strategy and
from retail operations to an online
ahead, though the planned locations
personnel to determine if they are suf-
design catalog will be a surprise to
for the first two years are reduced
ficiently agile to make the switch.
Technology Advances
on the Horizon
Like all technology, 3D printing will continue to evolve. In
addition to cost reductions (particularly in the consumer
space) and eventual miniaturization, researchers are breaking new ground in terms of print size, material integration
and speed. There are even systems being developed that
combine the benefits of the traditional subtractive processes (e.g., CNC machining) with 3D printing (additive processes). These hybrid approaches perform 3D printing and
machining at the same time, eliminating post-processing.
For example, most metallic objects created by 3D printing
require human intervention for either finish-machining or
polishing. However, a Japanese heavy machinery manufacturing company, Matsuura Machinery Corporation, has
developed a system that combines 3D printing (laser sintering technology) with high-speed milling that mills edges
Figure 20. The Vienna University of Technology’s
of the printed object in five-layer increments.71
3D–printed race car, approximately 285 microns long,
was printed in four minutes, demonstrating that high-
These developments are creating new, unimagined solu-
speed ultra-precise 3D printing is possible, opening
tions to existing problems, opening the door to new mar-
doors for innovation in areas such as medicine.
ket entrants and paving the way for a constant stream of
“world’s firsts.”
Source: Vienna University of Technology
Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have created 3D objects only microns in size using a technique called
ing is that the materials are all printed in one job run. Instead
two-photon lithography.72 The researchers’ breakthrough
of being printed as separate components and attached one
has been to speed the technique, making it more feasible
at a time, they are fused together simultaneously.74 Multi-
for industry. Whereas printing speeds used to be measured
material printing lets creators combine various properties in
in millimeters per second, they are now measured in meters
one model. One day a complete product or device could be
per second. The race car in Figure 20, approximately 285
printed as one, such as a mobile phone that includes plastic
microns long (the average human hair is 40-120 microns in
cover, metal, electronics and glass screen.
diameter), has 100 layers that were printed in four minutes.73
While the structure is already miniscule, it is expected that
Although such a Star Trek-type replicator is still years from
printers will one day produce even smaller objects, opening
being mainstream, another device that is similar to the rep-
new possibilities for innovation in areas such as medicine.
licator for its recycling capabilities may be closer to reality.
The Filabot is a desktop device that can recycle a range of
Breakthroughs in multi-material printing are enabling more
plastics, including milk jugs and soda bottles, into spools of
complex products. The current leading multi-material 3D
plastic filament for 3D printers.75 (See Figure 21.) Funded and
printer is the Objet Connex500, which allows up to 14 plastic-
launched through Kickstarter, the Filabot has moved from
like materials to be printed at the same time. This could be a
concept to prototype in a matter of months and contains
rubber-like plastic or a more rigid ABS plastic. What is amaz-
some 3D–printed parts itself.76
• the first printed plane (3.2-foot wingspan) that has
actually taken flight, by engineers at the University of
Southampton in the U.K.80
• the first artificial insect with 3D-printed wings that has
sustained untethered hovering flight for 85 seconds, by
researchers at Cornell University81 (see Figure 23)
Figure 21. The Filabot lets people recycle plastic in
a desktop environment to create their own plastic
filament for a 3D printer. The Filabot extends the
DIY of 3D printing to the raw materials themselves.
Source: Tyler McNaney
Photo credit: Whitney Trudo
It is clear that traditional industry players will compete with
Figure 22. The first 3D–printed bike, made from
new entrants offering alternative solutions previously not
nylon and developed by the European Aerospace and
possible, thus disrupting markets. Consider Align Technol-
Defence group, is strong enough to replace its steel
ogy, which in 1999 introduced clear teeth aligners under
and aluminum counterpart. The bike is a technology
the Invisalign brand that compete directly with wire dental
demonstrator that lays the groundwork for bike
braces. Costing slightly more than braces, the aligners incre-
manufacturers to one day be able to 3D print a bike to
mentally shift teeth until they are straight, without the dis-
fit the rider’s exact size.
comfort or look of wire braces. The aligners are made with
3D printers,77 enabling the mass customization necessary to
Source: EADS
create cost-effective customized dental devices. In the past,
creating such high-quality molds of individual mouths had
not been economically feasible. This early use of 3D printing enabled an industry first — invisible orthodontics — and
injected competition into an otherwise staid market.
Expect to see a number of other industry firsts over the
next few years. They will join a list that includes:
• the first fully printed shoe, created by a Dutch research
institute, TNO Science and Industry, and concept
design firm Sjors Bergmans Concept Design78
• the first printed bike, made from nylon and as strong as its
Figure 23. Researchers at Cornell University created
steel and aluminum counterpart, developed by the Euro-
the first artificial insect with 3D-printed wings that
pean Aerospace and Defence group79 (see Figure 22)
sustained untethered hovering.
Source: Charles Richter and Hod Lipson
Now & immediate future
Defense &
Weight reduction on aircraft
Niche, low
volume parts
Consumer &
Tissue & simple printed
organs used in transplants
dental & bone
Nano-scale medicine
Complex printed
Pharmaceuticals production
Novelty items
Innovative vehicles enabled
by 3D printing
Crowd-sourced vehicle
design & manufacture
military vehicle
Printing on the battlefield
Light-weight & specialist
components in some vehicles
Design and
Printing entire
Application in
space exploration
Printing entire
aircraft wings
Platform for
Future scenarios
Likely developments
New in-store
experiences &
innovative marketing
Grandparents buy
3D printers for
Co-creation with customers
In communities
the short term 3D printing will not go head-to-head
Given the deep roots of traditional manufacturing
Popularity of DIY
& “Maker”
with traditional large-scale manufacturing but will
the challenges the nascent 3D printing movement poses,
New innovative products
Retooling & reskilling
Rows of 3D
with printed components
prototyping &the manufacturing
be used for prototyping, tooling of traditionwill 3D printing really disrupt
indusprinters on factor
product design
3D printing coexisting with
ally manufactured items,
the direct manufacture of
try? In short: yes. As The Economist reported, wePrinted
embedded in parts
highly custom or technically complex low-volume items.
be on the verge of the third Industrial Revolution, and
Supply Chain
Recycling used for feedmaterials
like all revolutions, the impacts
wide and deep. (See
Figure 24.) The question for
servicing niches
Off-shoring models begin
to be challenged
Rising demand for powdered
Reorganization of
business models
on object size and printing
speed decrease
anywhere in
& other
Direct supply: Ship the design, not the product
and the price of printing materials falls, the economics
the supply chain is how they will need to change — not
Intellectual property
— to adapt to 3D printing.issues debated
Reallocation of capital to new industries
Boom of start-ups enabled
of manufacturing
will change dramatically in favor of 3D
by 3D printing technology
Adjustment of commodity values as a
result of changing demand patterns
Crowd-funding models perfected
Figure 24. 3d printing impacts
Printing entire
aircraft wings
Weight reduction on aircraft
Application in
space exploration
Niche, low
volume parts
Design and
Novelty items
military vehicles
Innovative vehicles
enabled by 3D printing
Light-weight & specialist
components in some vehicles
Crowd-sourced vehicle
design & manufacture
Tissue & simple printed
organs used in transplants
Nano-scale medicine
Complex printed
Pharmaceuticals production
Printing entire
Printing on the battlefield
vehicle restoration
dental & bone
New in-store experiences
& innovative marketing
Co-creation with customers
Grandparents buy
3D printers for
Popularity of DIY & “Maker” communities
prototyping &
product design
New innovative products appearing
with printed components
Printed electronics
embedded in parts
3D printing coexisting with
traditional manufacturing
Recycling used for
feed materials
Printing bureaus
servicing niche
Rising demand for powdered
titanium & other feed materials
Intellectual property
issues debated
Retooling & reskilling
Boom of start-ups enabled
by 3D printing technology
Crowd-funding models perfected
Source: CSC
Off-shoring modes
begin to be challenged
Rows of 3D
printers on
factory floors
Reorganization of
business models
Direct supply: Ship the design, not the product
Reallocation of capital to new industries
Adjustment of commodity values as a
result of changing demand patterns
printing. This is especially the case when considering the
example of this is part of a broader strategy by James
end-to-end cost of designing, manufacturing, assem-
Rinaldi, CIO of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to
bling, transporting, distributing and operating a product.
“change what ‘IT’ stood for from ‘information technol-
People will increasingly use products that contain 3D–
ogy’ to ‘innovate together.’”82
printed components (or are entirely 3D printed), from
cars and airplanes to consumer electronic devices and
Gabriel Rangel, solutions engineer in JPL’s Office of the
kitchen appliances.
CIO, innovated together with the fabrication group at
Because of the superior characteristics of 3D–printed
3D printing is a digital
technology, not just a
manufacturing technology.
With its open and democratic
properties, 3D printing sets
the stage for innovation.
products, these products will be more desirable. Startup manufacturers will flourish with new and innovative
ideas, and they will have the means to rapidly scale up
production with minimal capital investment. These startups, with their agility and incredibly short time-to-market, will be the competitors of tomorrow.
Anyone doubting the new sources of competition need
only look at the capability of the hobbyists and open
design community today. Without access to large factories, teams of industrial designers or big capital, communities can profitably sell 3D printers for as little as $600
JPL to create its 3DPaaS model. The key innovation is the
and build prototype military vehicles in 14 weeks. These
consumerization of 3D printing, which lets many inno-
guys are already beating large-scale corporations hands-
vations flourish by using desktop 3D printing in-house
down in niche areas.
for pre-prototyping. Later, the printing of fewer, more
expensive, more refined 3D designs can be automatically
For large-scale corporations that design and build things,
outsourced as a service. The result is that by partnering
3D printing is an opportunity for IT to forge new rela-
with scientists, engineers and the shop floor to re-think
tionships with manufacturing and with those who need
processes — aided by new design tools and 3D print-
to visualize designs, like scientists and engineers. One
ers — the IT group has accelerated JPL’s ability to print
physical designs early in the product development cycle
that can be shared, modified and re-printed, over and
For large-scale corporations
that design and build
things, 3D printing is an
opportunity for IT to forge
new relationships with
manufacturing and with
those who need to visualize
designs, like scientists and
over, long before a prototype is built. This, in turn, means
higher confidence in the final design that is prototyped
and, ultimately, produced.
3D printing is a digital technology, not just a manufacturing technology. With its open and democratic properties, 3D printing sets the stage for innovation. It has
lowered the barrier to entry for manufacturing, igniting
the creativity of the masses. 3D printing is creating new
products and services, supporting greater levels of collaboration, and fostering disruptive market entrants.
Manufacturers need to prepare for these disruptions and
can begin by asking some key questions that challenge
current assumptions. (See sidebar.)
Questions for Manufacturing Firms
To help manufacturing firms grasp the
4 In a world of 3D printing, will your
How can you best integrate online
future opportunities and challenges
customers continue to need large
buying and mass customization
of 3D printing, here are 10 questions
production runs? Even if it is more
to meet customer needs? What
to consider. Some may have already
cost-effective for your company
types of technology platforms are
been answered and some may be
to manufacture large quantities,
required to enable this? Is your
uncomfortable or difficult to answer,
will your customers demand more
company or industry susceptible
but all are relevant.
frequent changes and upgrades?
to open design trends?
Has the expected lifetime of your
1 When products can be manufac-
product changed?
8 How will you prepare for new
tured with the same ease as walking
down the hall to print paper copies,
5 Is your factory going to become
entrants and DIYers? Do the cur-
how will you keep your company’s
an assembler rather than a manu-
rent benefits of 3D printing (low
business model relevant?
facturer? A hybrid? What effect
cost, high customization, deliv-
will this have on your existing pro-
ery close to point of use) chal-
duction lines for length, direction,
lenge your existing product line?
tions of delivering a digital design
Do future areas of 3D printing
rather than a physical product to
etc.? How will your inbound logis-
your customers? When your cus-
tics processes change to reflect
tomers do manufacturing instead
those alterations?
2 What are the business implica-
9 What organizational factors could
of you, what are the implications
for product quality, product safety
research pose a threat?
prevent (or support) your adoprelationship
tion of 3D printing — for example,
(e.g., a product recall) and intel-
between IT and manufacturing?
operating model, resource allo-
lectual property protection?
Between IT and product design-
ers, scientists and engineers? How
financial model, culture — and
can IT use 3D printing to enable
how will you address them?
3 How can your company use 3D
printing to improve your end
manufacturing, not overtake it?
product? Possibilities include consolidating components to reduce
10 Where should your company make
7 Where are the opportunities for
capital investments today? What
driving greater customer intimacy,
training and education investments
weight products and leveraging
such as customization and co-
are required? What investments
new materials research.
creation with your end customer?
should your company avoid?
The changes surrounding 3D printing are significant;
manufacturing will one day be as common as desktop
we are only scratching the surface of what the ultimate
printing. When that happens, and factories without fac-
impact will be. The glimpses of disruption seen today sug-
tory floors are the norm, it will be hard to imagine how
gest wholesale change in the future. Customized, no-ship
companies and consumers once lived without 3D printing.
“A third industrial revolution,” The Economist, 21 April 2012. http://www.economist.com/node/21552901
Clayton M. Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
(Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1997).
“The future of manufacturing...on two wheels,” EADS press release, 7 March 2011.
Chris Anderson, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (New York: Crown Business, 2012), p. 14.
“3D printing breaks out of its mold,” Physics Today, October 2011.
“61-Year-Old Company Reinvents Itself With FDM,” Stratasys Case Study, 2011.
Studio*Mrmann, Attracted to Light, http://www.mrmann.co.uk/long-exposure-series-attracted-to-light
“Printer produces personalised 3D chocolate,” BBC News, 5 July 2011. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-14030720
“Printing Food With 3D Printers,” TechCrunch, 1 March 2011.
10 “Researchers use a 3D printer to make bone-like material,” UA Magazine, 30 November 2011.
“3D printers could create customised drugs on demand,” BBC News, 18 April 2012,
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17760085; and “The ‘chemputer’ that could print out any drug,”
Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence, 26 July 2012, http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-chemputer-that-could-print-out-any-drug
12 “Scientists Use 3D Printer to Create First ‘Printed’ Human Vein,” Inhabitat, 22 March 2010.
13 “Makers will love to 3D Print with Wood,” 3D Printing News and Trends, Howard Smith blog, 27 September 2012.
14 “3D printing breaks out of its mold,” Physics Today, October 2011.
Wohlers Report 2011: Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing State of the Industry, p. 130.
16 “Particle-free silver ink prints small, high-performance electronics,” University of Illinois press release, 12 January 2012.
17 “3-D printing method advances electrically small antenna design,” College of Engineering,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, press release, 16 March 2011.
18 Contour Crafting, http://www.contourcrafting.org/
19 “Giant 3D Printer Builds Homes in 20 Hours,” Tom’s Hardware, 8 August 2012,
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/3D-Printer-Homes-housing-printing,news-39380.html; and
“A Huge 3D Printer Can Build A Custom, Enviro-Friendly House In 20 Hrs,” THE9BILLION, 15 August 2012,
20 Wohlers Report 2011: Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing State of the Industry, p. 242.
21 John E. Barnes et al., “Evaluation of Low Cost Titanium Alloy Products,” Materials Science Forum, April 2009, vols 618-619, p. 165.
22 “Personal Manufacturing,” Chemical & Engineering News, 14 November 2011.
23 “FDM reduces tooling costs by 99% and prototyping costs by 73%,” Stratasys case study, 2010.
24 “FDM Helps Bell Helicopter Build Quality Prototypes,” Stratasys case study, 2009.
25 “Additive Manufacturing Goes Mainstream,” IndustryWeek, 10 March 2012.
26 “Tough Enough for Armored Tanks,” Stratasys case study, 2002.
27 “FDM Direct Digital Manufacturing Saves $800,000 and Three Years Development Time Over Four-Year Period,”
Stratasys case study, 2009.
28 “Student Engineers Design, Build, Fly ‘Printed’ Airplane,” UVA Today, 5 October 2012.
29 “U.S. Military Better Visualizes Unfamiliar Settings With 3D Printing,” 3D Systems.
30 “3-D printing could remake U.S. manufacturing,” USA Today, 10 July 2012.
31 Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap for Australia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,
March 2011, p. 22.
32 “Fuel Smart Celebrates its 5th Anniversary,” American Airlines, http://www.aa.com/i18n/aboutUs/environmental/article2.jsp
33 “Local firm leads with 3D manufacturing,” The Australian Financial Review, 10 September 2012.
34 “Next 3-D Frontier: Printed Plane Parts,” WSJ.com, 14 July 2012.
35 “Made-in-Space Parts Could Become Space Travel’s New Norm,” Space.com, 19 July 2012,
http://www.space.com/16656-space-manufacturing-3d-printing.html; and “3D printing’s stellar, amazing year,”
Make Parts Fast, 25 December 2011, http://www.makepartsfast.com/2011/12/3007/3d-printings-stellar-amazing-year/
36 “NASA’s human-supporting rover has FDM parts,” Stratasys case study, 2012.
37 “3D Printer Harnesses the Sun to Transform Egyptian Sand Into Glass,” Gizmodo, 26 June 2011.
38 Jim Kor, “URBEE: Designing with Digital Manufacturing in Mind,” 2012, p. 8.
39 “Urbee Hybrid Breaks Cover — in Manitoba,” Edmunds Inside Line, 23 September 2011,
http://www.insideline.com/car-news/urbee-hybrid-breaks-cover-in-manitoba.html; and “Local electric/ethanol car definitely a
labour of love,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 September 2012,
40 “The Areion by Formula Group T: The World’s First 3D–printed Race Car,” Materialise.
41 “Mammoth Stereolithography,” 3D Printing News and Trends, Howard Smith blog, 30 August 2012.
42 Mammoth Stereolithography, Materialise, http://prototyping.materialise.com/mammoth-stereolithography
43 “Manufacturing Jigs and Fixtures with FDM,” Stratasys case study, 2009.
44 Wohlers Report 2011: Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing State of the Industry, p. 164 (see graphic).
45 “Transplant jaw made by 3D printer claimed as first,” BBC News, 6 February 2012.
46 “High tech implants resist infection,” EE Times, 31 July 2012.
47 “3D Printed Prosthetics Company Bespoke Acquired By 3D Systems,” Singularity Hub, 8 June 2012.
48 “3D-printed exoskeleton gives a little girl use of her arms (video),” 3 August 2012.
49 Shapeways, About Us, http://www.shapeways.com/about/
50 “Printrbot LC,” http://printrbot.com/shop/printrbot-lc/
51Thingiverse, http://www.thingiverse.com/newest Data as of November 2012.
52 “Southview Middle School Gets a Grip on Design with Dimension 3D Printing,” Stratasys.
53 “Forum Frenzy: Public Library (in Adelaide) Offering Free 3D Printing Resources,” Core77, 13 September 2012.
54 Touch Screen Stylus, http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:499
55 Volume Knob, http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6008
56 Jay Leno, “Jay Leno’s 3D Printer Replaces Rusty Old Parts,” Popular Mechanics, 8 June 2009.
58 http://www.continuumfashion.com/
59 http://www.facegen.com/
60 “Autodesk bringing 3D modeling to the masses,” CNET News, 3 November 2011.
61 “3D Printing? It’s the Software Stupid!,” 3D Printing News and Trends, Howard Smith blog, 30 August 2012.
http://3dprintingreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/3d-printing-its-software-stupid.html Example is from this blog post.
62 “Nathan Myhrvold’s Cunning Plan to Prevent 3-D Printer Piracy,” Technology Review, 11 October 2012.
63 Michael Weinberg, “It Will Be Awesome if They Don’t Screw it Up: 3D Printing, Intellectual Property, and the Fight Over the Next Great Disruptive Technology,” Public Knowledge, November 2010. http://www.publicknowledge.org/it-will-be-awesome-if-they-dont-screw-it-up
64 Communication with Shapeways 30 August 2012.
65 Chris Anderson, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (New York: Crown Business, 2012), p. 210.
66 “FormLabs Day 2 646 backers, $924,858, 10 times target, 28 days to go,” 3D Printing News and Trends,
Howard Smith blog, 28 September 2012. http://3dprintingreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/formlabs-day-2-646-backers-924858-10.html
See also: FORM 1: An affordable, professional 3D printer, Kickstarter,
Formlabs rased a total of $2.9 million on Kickstarter.
67 “RepRap: The 3D printer that’s heading for your home,” TechRepublic, 7 March 2012.
68 “Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle (XC2V) Design Challenge,” Challenge.gov.
69 “Local Motors Builds Crowd-Sourced XC2V Flypmode Combat Vehicle,” Edmunds Inside Line, 28 June 2011.
70 Simon Wardley, “Learning from Web 2.0 — Executive Summary,” Leading Edge Forum Executive Programme, January 2012, p.4.
71 K.P. Karunakaran et al., “Hybrid Rapid Manufacturing of Metallic Objects,” 14èmes Assises Européennes du Prototypage &
Fabrication Rapide, 24-25 June 2009, p.6. http://code80.net/afpr/content/assises/2009/actes_aepr2009/papiers/s3_2.pdf
72 “3D Printer with Nano-Precision: Ultra-high-resolution 3D Printer Breaks Speed-Records at Vienna University of Technology,”
Vienna University of Technology, 12 March 2012, http://www.tuwien.ac.at/en/news/news_detail/article/7444/;
and “Small but perfectly formed: Scientists use world’s fastest 3D printer to create amazingly detailed F1 car (... that measures
just 0.3MM),” Mail Online, 13 March 2012,
Objet Connex500, http://objet.com/3d-printers/connex/objet-connex500
Filabot Personal Filament Maker for 3D Printers, http://filabot.com/
Filabot: Plastic Filament Maker, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rocknail/filabot-plastic-filament-maker
Wohlers Report 2011: Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing State of the Industry, p. 237.
78 “Footwear Customization 3.0: The First Rapid Manufactured Shoe,” Mass Customization & Open Innovation News,
24 October 2006. http://mass-customization.blogs.com/mass_customization_open_i/2006/10/footwear_custom.html
79 “3D-Printed Airbike Is As Strong As Your Aluminium Bike,” Gizmodo Australia, 8 March 2011.
80 “First 3D Printed Plane Takes Flight,” Daily Bits, 1 August 2011. http://www.dailybits.com/first-3d-printed-plane-takes-flight/
81 3D Printed Hovering Ornithopters, Cornell Creative Machines Lab, http://creativemachines.cornell.edu/ornithopter
82 “NASA’s New Innovation Mission,” CIO.com, 27 July 2012. http://www.cio.com/article/711437/NASA_s_New_Innovation_Mission
All figures used with permission.
Appendix: Further Reading
For those interested in keeping up with the latest developments in the 3D printing world, the following provide great reading.
• 3D Printer: http://www.3dprinter.net/author/mark
• Fabbaloo: http://fabbaloo.com/
• 3D Printer Blogs: http://3dprinterblogs.com/
• It’s a 3D World: http://blog.objet.com/
3D Printing News and Trends (Howard Smith, CSC):
• Singularity Hub: http://singularityhub.com/
• Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, by Chris Anderson
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF