I was so excited about my last session of the day as I had met Pete Baseliere, research director of Gartner, earlier in the week and we had shared our love of 3D printing. His talk was on why you should invest in 3D printing now.
Look at the cool examples in the pictures. These are but a few that Pete had there. He had one prototype of a shoe that was full color life-size replica. He also had a small chess piece in lucite that was extremely detailed (you could see a small helix inside the doorway).
Is 3D printing overhyped or revolutionary: not only can you make guns, you can also print custom medical devices for children (showed Emma who had a printed exoskeleton).
Next Pete went through the hypcycle, enterprise printing was heading up the slope, while consumer was at the very top of they hype cycle (lookout for the fall into the trough of disillusionment!). He next went through the definition of the 3D printing – an additive technique that uses a device to create physical objects from digital models
Different technologies for 3D printing
- material extrusion – plastic like an inkjet
- sheet lamination – inkjet printing with glued sheets
- inkjet – binder jetting and material jetting – can print at 5,000 DPI and make very detailed parts
- vat photoplymerization – laser beam solidifies a polymer
- focused energy – powder based fusion and directed energy deposition
Two of the top 10 Kickstarter programs are 3D printing. Seeing continual drop on pricing – as low as 1-2K for individual. The quality of the build is getting better and better. The technology is now in reach of people throughout the world.
Five key investment questions
- how responsive will you be on customers needs? Design a generic product or something custom
- will we make our product development and production processes more noble and agile?
- how much can we reduce product development and products costs?
- do we need to develop our staffs’ additive manufacturing skills? Need new ways of looking at parts
- can we create items that were difficult or impossible before?
Key takeaways: From design to manufacturing to manufacturing for design, starter printers are available at a modest sum, now is the time to invest to start fostering ideas.