Rapid Prototyping using 3-D Printers

Rapid Prototyping using 3-D Printers

I have read several articles recently on three dimensional printing. The concept is to “print” plastic or metal, layer by layer forming three dimensional objects. Each layer is approximately 20 to 30 microns (0.02 to 0.03mm) thick. Coordinated by a three dimensional computer automated design (CAD) software, the designed object is sliced into thin layers, each layer sequentially printed by the three dimension printer. Think of an inkjet printer, designed to continuously print on top of the previous layer, building up the object based upon a design concept captured in a software database.

This new approach to the manufacture of fabricated products could change the concept of globalization. We believe that there is value to the ability to prototype quickly, try the product through market trials and make modifications on the fly based upon market feedback. Once the local market trial is completed, the volume production can be performed in the most cost effective manufacturing source/ location.

The concept permits multiple versions of the same basic product, tuned to meet the requirements of each “local” market. In other words, the antithesis of “one size fits all” or “Any color as long as it is black – Henry Ford.”

WETA Workshop … How to make Hobbit stuff 

-- Timothy Chen