3D Printing Industry

The Week in 3D Printing: Bridges, Blockchains, and Cars, Oh My

We crossed a 3D printed bridge milestone, watched the U.S. Navy take its 3D printers into the blockchain, wondered how soon we could drive a 3D printed sports car, and learned that we’re basically pioneering the factory of the future, NBD, all this week in 3D printing.

Our Hometown Is so Next Level

Eindhoven birthed Shapeways, and now, geniuses at the¬†Eindhoven University of Technology are creating the first 3D printed steel-reinforced concrete bridge. As Engadget reported, the bridge will be installed in September, and will serve bike commuters. In the meantime, it’s being 3D printed, with the steel elements cleverly integrated into the concrete printing process. That saves on concrete, which saves on CO2 emissions, which might just help save us all.

3D printing

The Eindhoven University of Technology Built Environment program’s 3D printer at work on the bridge (Courtesy Eindhoven University of Technology)

The Navy Throws a Sick Block(chain) Party

Blockchain distributed database technology might have originated as a way to support bitcoin transactions, but lately, it’s so popular for its inherently strong security that even the U.S. Navy is getting in on the action. As the Department of the Navy reported, they’re bringing all their 3D printers onto a decentralized network that will assure that all the data that goes into the design and production of 3D printed parts is secure across a huge network of connected nodes. To get that 3D file of a critical piece of defense infrastructure, you’d have to hack into every computer the database lives on at once. Good luck with that, hacker foes.


Traditional, less secure networks vs. decentralized blockchain networks (via U.S. Department of the Navy)

High-Performance, Lego-Inspired Driving Machines

CNBC brought us the story of Kevin Czinger, whose 3D printed sports car, the Divergent Blade, uses aluminum joints that, conveniently, fit together like Legos. Czinger touts the environmental friendliness of his manufacturing techniques, and sees a future of local automotive manufacturing via 3D printing. We see a new frontier in car customization. If our RC car accessories designers are any indication of the possibilities that come with full-sized 3D printed rides, THERE WILL BE MODS. Check out Czinger’s hangs with known car guy Jay Leno, below:

Oh Yeah, We’re the Factory of the Future

The Economist had a 3D printing party this week with a string of pieces on how 3D printing is changing manufacturing. Our CEO recently gave them his take on this manufacturing revolution, and now it looks like they’re tripling down. So, what’s so revolutionary? Well, we are abandoning traditional economies of scale, enabling mass personalization, and reinventing “mass” production. Color us flattered!

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