rapid + tct Show Highlights – May 2019

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The rapid + tct Show was held at The Cobo Center in Detroit this past week. Overall I thought it was a very good show; lots of energy relative to innovations and scalability. Also, it is clear that Automotive related industries are investing heavily in the area of digital manufacturing ops, which includes not just 3D printing but scalable manufacturing and support processes such as 3D laser scanning for pre and post-manufacturing enablement.

The big takeaways from this show:

  1. Scale: prototyping and manufacturing is not limited to a 10×10 envelope of a machine any longer. The size and accuracy of gantry style equipment along with the innovations in materials are making large part manufacturing a near-term reality.
  2. Design Constraints: … are completely different now. Whereas mechanical engineers/designers had to think about molecular orientation of resin chains and tooling constraints before; now there are no tooling constraints but a whole new set of issues like layer thickness, bonding between layers and how to model/predict the life cycle behavior of a 3D printed part.
  3. Design: And by that, I mean Industrial Design. If the layered look is in-Vogue at some point, it won’t be for long. That look might be acceptable in a Mad-Max post-apocalyptic world, but until then, Designers are going to insist on some kind of cosmetic treatment. Hmmm, I wonder if any of these resins are plateable?

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