Wednesday, December 21, 2011

UPDATED--3D Printing: The shape of things to come (SSYS; DDD)

Update: "Layer by Layer" (More on 3-D Printing)
Original post:
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.
DDD is 3-D Systems, also around $31 $14.70 -.39.

From the Economist:
When products are printed, they often look like nature intended

EUROMOLD, a big manufacturing trade fair held in Frankfurt from November 29th to December 2nd, was—as might be expected—full of machines and robots demonstrating their ability to cut, bend, weld and bash all sorts of objects into shape. But in one of the halls the scene was very different. It was here that 300 or so exhibitors working in three-dimensional printing (or “additive manufacturing” as they prefer to call it) were gathered. Some of their 3D printers were the size of cars; others were desktop models. All worked, though, by building products up layer by layer from powered metal, droplets of plastic or whatever was the appropriate material.

The range of those products was as unusual as the way they were made: an exhaust manifold; an artificial leg; an aircraft door-hinge; dozens of shoes; even entire dresses can be fashioned this way. Many of these printed items look strikingly different from their conventional counterparts. They are more elegant, less clunky and have flowing lines. The result, shown off on plinths and in display cases, was more like an art gallery than an industrial exhibition.

Additive manufacturing, then, is changing not only how things are made, but what is made. In particular, many of the objects on display had an organic look to them. That is no accident. In some cases, designers have deliberately copied nature. In others, they have started from first principles, drawn conclusions (usually aided by clever software), and found that nature got there first. And in some, the decisions have been aesthetic—presumably reflecting an evolved preference in the human psyche for objects that look natural...MORE