Community Outreach

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Twopounder, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Twopounder
    Twopounder New Member
    This is more of a recommendation than a push to organize, but rapid prototyping has been getting some questionable press as of late. Most of it is flat wrong (such as the ability to 3d print working guns and grenades) or misleading, like the ability to print out whole cellphones. I've even had people tell me that it will replace normal casting and production lines, which is about as realistic as an ink jet printer replacing a professional print shop. Others tell me that it doesn't contain any detail and can't be used for small parts.

    The problem is, nobody is really setting the record straight or explaining what 3d printing really and is not capable of. Finding a way to debunk myths and misunderstandings could go a long way to preventing a sudden witch hunt, as is all to often the case with new technology. Addressing these one person at a time is a bit exhausting. Maybe it would be good to make a series of youtube videos? Or establish a website with facts and an FAQ of sorts? Just some ideas to tackle the problem before it escalates.
  2. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    Sure know what you mean. I can't wait for the media bubble to be over. I feel like it can't be long: the desktop machines are all over now, nobody with any actual interest in this subject can avoid coming into contact with actual parts.

    Meanwhile I continue to discourage people one at a time. :-}

  3. denali3ddesign
    denali3ddesign New Member
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  4. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Media live on selling stories, not necessarily information, so there will always be some eager to publish the most outrageous take on any
    given topic. Also, journalists are not technology buffs, but experts in writing well readable essays on any given topic (which is not a mean feat
    in itself at all!), so there will inevitably be inaccurracies and unrealistic forecasts even in well-researched, well-meaning pieces.
    3D printing will be mainstream when we read the same bullshit stories about everyday occurences in the news as about any other non-trivial
    profession. :)
  5. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    I beg to differ! :D I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by what the future holds for 3D printing.

    I think that developments are happening so quickly that not everyone is aware of everything happening. Also, extreme industrial methods may not be known of simply cuz they are so obscure. Like for example, it is now currently possible to 3D print firearms and grenades and anything else one may wish to produce in a growing number of metal alloys. See Arcam and Eos for examples of machines that can do it.

    As for 3D printing a phone, no, not yet, But I'm going to predict that it will be done within one year. Recall that we have already been 3D printing integrated circuits for decades. It's a process of both additive and subtractive manufacturing, but they are built in 3D layers or 3D printed in layers. Same for TFT displays. It's only a very short amount of time before a single machine can 3D print an entire phone in situ.

    Will 3D printing replace metal casting? YES! :D For low volume manufacturing the age old methods will still be used, but for ultra high volume casting there will be no way to compete with 3D printing.

    There will simply be no way to compete with the speed and precision of 3D printing. All high volume manufacturing of the future will be done by 3D printing. We won't have to wait long to see it happen too! I have a complete CNC machine shop, but I am more and more using 3D printing for everything cuz it is so much more convenient. It's getting to where I don't want to sit and figure out work holding and tool paths and all that. I just to design it and basically push a button and forget about it.

    Am I wrong? Well, we don't have long to wait to find out! :D
  6. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    For small-scale production you certainly have a point (though I still think that there will remain many simple parts that are more quickly milled than
    printed). When it comes to large volumes however, I do not see sheet metal stamping and injection moulding being replaced anytime soon.
  7. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    Yeah, those will be tough to replace! The only way I could see it happening would be in how our ability to manufacture entire products in situ progresses. If we can make an entire car for example in one day with one machine without the need of an army of factory workers, then yes those methods would disappear. I can envision a facility where railroad cars of materials are being dumped into one end and hundreds of fully functional cars are coming out the other end with very little human intervention.

    Of course for things like the ubiquitous aluminum beverage can, I don't see how that will ever be produce by 3D printing. Unless... Unless some breakthrough occurs that lets us 3D print a LOT faster.
  8. Twopounder
    Twopounder New Member
    You have that backwards. Low volume production might be replaced, but it will always be faster to use traditional fabricating, simply because you can make hundreds of parts in one pass (seconds). That simply is not possible with any level of printing technology because the printer head has physical travel time.

    The analogy I give above is an ink jet or laser printer vs a printing press. The press can print several magnitudes faster because it presses a dozen sheets at a time at a dozen presses per second. The newer machines are probably even faster. No matter the quality of an inkjet printer, it's still limited by the speed of its print head.

    Yes, you could 3d print the shell of a grenade. Would it work? No. These articles imply that it will. Also, I have yet to see anything that can print out the kind of tensile strength found in gun barrels. There is a reason that this is called rapid prototyping and not rapid manufacturing ;).

    That will never happen, simply because of the copyrights and patents involved. Even if you could 3d print an entire car, copyright and patent law would prohibit it. Cars are assembled in those factories, not built, and the parts originate from all over the world.
  9. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    I plan to be impressed when you can print me a perfectly ordinary, functioning wristwatch (no, sundials do not count).
    Somehow i fear by the time this becomes possible, few if any will actually know what a wristwatch was used for. :D
  10. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    Oh honey. Check the label -- that's Kool-aid you're drinking.
  11. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    Patent owners who license their patents don't care how anyone constructs their inventions, all they care about is getting paid. :)
  12. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    Actually, right now, it is possible to print a mechanical based wrist watch in situ. I think one could probably even pull it off in Shapeways' FUD, but for sure there are a number of 3D printing methods that have been developed for MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) manufacturing that would easily pull it off. :)
  13. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Sorry, wrong planet ? :p
    I assume you might be confusing CVD/etching based processes (which do allow creation of tiny coils, *pairs* of tiny gears etc. down to truly microscopic dimensions, but are in essence subtractive methods) with SLS/FDM printing ? And good luck with building a bunch of interacting gears held by perfectly smooth bearings out of FUD..
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  14. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    In my mind anything that is built in layers is 3D printing regardless of the method, but what I was thinking of at that moment was two photon lithography.

    From what I've seen so far concerning FUD, I think that it can probably be done. Perhaps it would be fun to work on this! :D
  15. kontor_apart
    kontor_apart New Member
  16. Twopounder
    Twopounder New Member
    Yes, I would say that. My father was a gunsmith for no small amount of years. Aside from lacking the strength to withstand the amount of heat and pressure, the barrels would not be polished and would have to be re-bored, then chrome lined. The crown requires absolute perfection, and the smallest amount of stepping or pitting would require the crown to be recut. So you're basically rebuilding the barrel after you print it anyway.

    Could you make a musket? Sure. Low pressure, low heat, and no need for rifling. Politically, what's the difference between printing and milling? None? Thought so ;). Process A and Process B have the same politics and end results. The only difference is that 3d printing is new, so everyone thinks we'll have flying cars in the year 2000.
  17. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    No not new, it's been around for 29 years. It was first developed by Charles Hull in 1984 when he built his first machine for making physical 3D objects from digital data. Perhaps it seems new to people cuz the technology is expanding exponentially, so it seems newer and newer every day.

    I'd like to know what alloy you are referring to that is more robust than the various tool steel alloys available with DMLS. Do you have any references? Of course one wouldn't be able to duplicate the worlds best perfectly machined gun barrel with the 3D printing technology of today, but one can certainly 3D print working firearms and not just black powder types of firearms. The quality wouldn't be immaculate, like what one could achieve with modern day machining centers, but it would be good enough to fire rounds. Even rifling could be attained, but not perfectly formed rifling like what can be attained by the worlds best conventional machining methods.

    The issue is, can a working firearm be 3D printed? Yes or no? This was your initial statement that partially caused me to react. "Most of it is flat wrong (such as the ability to 3d print working guns and grenades)"

    I love being wrong, cuz I love to learn new things. :) Sounds like your father has the experience to set me straight, so I'd like to learn about what he has to say about alloys used in firearms. If I can get the name of an alloy or two I can then compare the known properties to the known properties of those as printed alloys available with DMLS.
  18. Mhagan
    Mhagan New Member
    DMLS metals are not 100% dense. This means that even if two parts with identical geometry, one machined from a block and the other printed, are made of the same alloy, the machined part will be stronger.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  19. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
    True. As are castings less dense than calendared metals. If I had some alloys to compare properties with I would compare them to alloys as printed via DMLS so as to be fair.

    I know you have a good point, but I still say some as printed DMLS alloys would be more than strong enough to handle the pressures involved with the modern day ammunition that is available. Perhaps one could argue when comparing wall thickness of printed as opposed to non-printed, but that's not the question. The question is, can it even be done. Done in such a way that the result will be a working firearm. Consequently, if a barrel with a wall thickness of say, 40 mm for a 22 caliber, were needed, it wouldn't be pretty, but it would still be possible.

  20. PeregrineStudios
    PeregrineStudios Well-Known Member
    What really bothers me about the alarmist 'you can print WEAPONS!' articles is that it's already ridiculously easy to make a weapon even without 3D printing. You could conceivably pop down to a Home Depot and come home with all the parts needed to make a fully functional firearm, minus the chemicals (such as gunpowder) of course. I'm not saying you should! But I'm saying it upsets to me to see people try to be alarmist about 3D printing, as though no one could do this before.