The European Space Agency has unveiled plans to “take 3D printing into the metal age” by building parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects.
The Amaze project brings together 28 institutions to develop new metal components which are lighter, stronger and cheaper than conventional parts.
Additive manufacturing (or “3D printing”) has already revolutionised the design of plastic products.
Printing metal parts for rockets and planes would cut waste and save money.
The layered method of assembly also allows intricate designs – geometries which are impossible to achieve with conventional metal casting.
Parts for cars and satellites can be optimised to be lighter and – simultaneously – incredibly robust.
via BBC News.
SAN FRANCISCO – Just a few years ago, 3D was a buzz term synonymous primarily with entertainment and gadgets. Arguably, 3D turned out to be a fad that didn’t take off that well – at least as far as smartphones and HDTVs are concerned.
But 3D printing, on the other hand, is actually garnering more attention and growing in popularity thanks to the business potential the technology offers to startups and small business owners.
Brit Morin, founder and CEO of the lifestyle startup Brit + Co., predicted during her company’s first Re:Make summit at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center on Friday that the 3D printing space will grow to be a $6 billion market by 2017.
She hinted at the versatility of products that could be made her by virtually anyone with little training given that these devices can print ceramic metal, plastic, and even cookie dough.
Anderson quipped, “The next generation of industrial designers are going to be the kids that get 3D printers for Christmas this year.”
Acknowledging that most 3D printers are still quite expensive for most consumers and even small businesses, Morin also forecasted that the prices of these machines will drop down to a few hundred dollars a pop within a few years, making what is being dubbed the “Maker Movement” itself much more accessible to the general public.
Worldwide shipments of 3D printers (3DPs) priced less than $100,000 will grow 49 percent in 2013 to reach a total of 56,507 units, according to Gartner, Inc.‘s first forecast of the less than $100,000 consumer and enterprise 3D printer market. Rapid quality and performance innovations across all 3DP technologies will drive enterprise and consumer demand. Gartner said that shipments will increase further in 2014, growing 75 percent to 98,065 units, followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015.
“The 3D printer market has reached its inflection point,” said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner. “While still a nascent market, with hype outpacing the technical realities, the speed of development and rise in buyer interest are pressing hardware, software and service providers to offer easier-to-use tools and materials that produce consistently high-quality results.”