Last week we received a call from CBC News to ask our take on 3D Printing and where it’s going.

Like all our interviews, we pointed out the benefits of rapid prototyping and how great it is for those interested in proving out their design before manufacturing or for short runs as well as testing for fit and function.

We have noticed an increase it general public interest over the last several months, which we assume is mostly related to TV shows and media reports. Unfortunately this leaves consumers under the impression that they can replicate an idea and it will look just like a manufactured part for a fraction of the cost with minimal effort on their part.

Here are a few main points for those new to 3d printing to consider:

  • You will need a 3D CAD drawing in order to find out pricing as well as to build the prototype. Mechanical engineers or mechanical designers specialize in these drawings and go to University and College to gain these skills.
  • The materials with 3D Printing are limited. While 3D Prototype Design offers nylon prototypes, many others offer parts that are not functional as they are made from materials such as resin, wax or plaster and glue.
  • If someone is already manufacturing and selling a part, the chances are you won’t be able to design and create one usable prototype for less.

While it would be great to conjure up an idea like the Star Trek replicator, technology just isn’t there… yet.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/01/23/f-3d-printing.html