3-D printing is much more than a new way of making; it's an opportunity to rethink everything we know about design and product engineering.
Today, GE is prepping its engines for 3-D printed fuel nozzles, athletes are running on custom printed cleats, 3-D printed jigs and fixtures are already commonplace on the machines running the shop.
But that's only half of the story, and telling focusing on those products alone misses the real point of the revolution. To Jon Cobb, executive vice president, Corporate Affairs, for 3-D printing giant, Stratasys, it might be missing the revolution itself.
"Many people look at end use parts as the nirvana of 3-D printing," Cobb explained at ASME's Advanced Design and Manufacturing Impact Forum in Buffalo last week. "But what's really interesting about 3-D printing is not how it's augmenting the way things are done traditionally. It's the way designers are utilizing 3-D printing as a new paradigm to help design a new kind of object."
It turns out that the important change 3-D printing offers the world isn't just the objects themselves. As Cobb explained, it's not simply a matter of replacing an injection molded part for an printed part; it's throwing out everything we know about part architecture and the limitations of the past and learning to design for 3-D.
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