Until recently, the default approach to manufacturing something was some sort of subtractive technique. Subtractive manufacturing (done through a mix of machining, forging, and casting) starts with raw materials like steel or wood and "subtracts" pieces until the desired component is shaped. Think of it like creating a marble sculpture. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) takes a different approach. By building objects from the ground up through one ultra-thin layer a time, new manufacturing possibilities are now possible. Capital intensive equipment is no longer necessarily needed, and conventional design constraints have been lifted. From GE changing its approach to aviation manufacturing, to people rapidly prototyping their own ideas in living rooms, 3D printing has emerged as a new form of manufacturing that's here to stay.
A New Approach to 3D Printing Removes the Limitations of Gravity
The potential for 3D printing to revolutionize manufacturing is astounding—if the technology can overcome a few limitations. Researchers at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab have come up with a novel way to both speed up the 3D printing process, and free it from the restrictions imposed by gravity.
Boeing uses first FAA-approved 3D-printed parts for the 787
Boeing expects to shave $2 to $3 million off each 787 Dreamliner's manufacturing costs by 2018, thanks to 3D-printed titanium. The company has teamed up with No...