Thursday, June 7, 2012

"How the press has looked at 3D printing over the years" (SSYS)

Stratasys closed at $45.78 down $1.34. As I've mentioned in prior 3D printer posts:
Still on the come but the possibilities have serious people thinking.
SSYS is the symbol for Stratasys, one of the early stand-alone machine makers, which was first pitched to me back in the '90's for a couple bucks. It closed at $31.08 yesterday.
I never did do anything with it....
Here's another of the blogs we read and don't link to often enough. I was actually going for the second (energy) post but thought this was also pretty well done.
From 3D Printer:
Though 3D printing technology is 20 years old, the mainstream press only became interested in the technology around 2007. At that point the technology was looked at as something out of science fiction–not for anything useful, but never the less very interesting. The initial interest died quickly.

But then in 2011, there was a new surge of interest. This time around most critiques wondered if 3D printing was really the next big thing, would it change manufacturing as we know it today and would it help developed countries reverse the process of outsourcing manufacturing facilities to more cost effective locations.

Here are ten such articles with an extract of the key points mentioned. You can clearly see how the perception has changed.

April 2007 – AEC Cafe: 3D Printing Comes to Architecture
The 3D printer has been used mostly for 3D solid modeling for the automotive, aerospace and other industries in the mechanical marketplace, but has been increasingly employed by architectural firms to do physical 3D models.
Created for their client a 157 square-foot replica 3D model of the city of Stockholm using a 3D printer and Google Earth.
Details about state of 3D printer mentioned in the article:
- Price: Anywhere from $18K to $30K
- Manufacturer: Stratasys

2007 October – Popular Mechanics: Fab at Home, Open-Source 3D Printer, Lets Users Make Anything
Picture a 3D inkjet printer that deposits droplets of plastic, layer by layer, gradually building up an object of any shape.
To really let this robotic evolutionary process reach its full potential we need a machine that can fabricate anything, not just complex geometry, but also wires and motors and sensors and actuators.
It is a revolution waiting to happen.
Details about state of 3D printer mentioned in the article:
- Price: A Fab at Home kit costs around $2400

November 2007 – Economist: A whole new dimension – Rich homes can afford 3D printers
If you really want to impress your friends with high-tech wizardry in 2008 then consider shopping for a three-dimensional printer....MORE
Also from 3D:
Will we 3D print renewable energy?
Technology advances at an exponential rate, and 3D printing is no exception. In fact, 3D printing seems to be hitting its stride now, with new advancements announced daily. “Simple” applications involving parts manufacturing, prototyping, dental work, jewelry, architecture and art have been consistently moving forward. It’s even making a move in medicine: 3D printing has already played a role in organ fabrication research. Anthony Atala and his team from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Caroline have been working to develop miraculous medical applications. In fact, 30 functional bladders have been fabricated for patients.

There isn’t a doubt that this technology is very powerful, but what else can it do?
Aside from all these applications, I want to present a huge what if question in regards to 3D printing. If what I’m proposing follows through, the world will never be the same. What if 3D printing could be used to create renewable energy? I’m talking about printable, paper-thin solar strips for generating electricity. Let me elaborate.
how a solar panel worksBasic Photovoltaic Concept. Source:
Xerox is in the process of developing a special type of silver-ink that melts at a temperature lower than plastic. Silver is one of the key elements to dielectrics, semiconductors, inductors, conductors, and various circuits. With the ability to print silver on to films, fabrics, and plastics, there is a strong potential for paper thin solar strips, adaptable sensors, and a wide variety of circuits — all of which could be printed on to paper thin materials!

“Xerox (NYSE: XRX) has announced its development of special silver inks which have a melting point below that of plastic. Crafted into different versions which can act as conductors, semiconductors, or dielectrics, this silver ink could allow users to print integrated circuits onto plastic, fabric, or film. (source: Aaron Saenz)”

Printing solar strips sounds pretty fascinating, but how would it work? To understand how 3D printing can work within solar energy, one must first understand the process behind photovoltaic (PV) solar energy....MORE