The technology of 3D printing has been around since 1984 when Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corporation pioneered the process. The technology has been steadily gaining steam in the industry since then. Personal 3D printing technology was nothing more than merely an idea a few years back. 3D Printer manufacturers such as FormLabs (Form 1) and MakerBot (Replicator) have brought the technology to consumers with the introduction of their desktop models at a very reasonable price.
There are numerous applications for a 3D printer in the manufacturing industry.
See pie chart below (Wohlers 2013).
"Here at Bowden Manufacturing we've used our 3D printer to help us better visualize parts we've been asked to produce in order to make sure we identify potential problem areas, work holding options and set up inspector plans. It's a relatively quick and easy way to have a powerful visual tool for planning and presentation. " says Andy McCartney, President of Bowden Manufacturing.
Here is a 50% scale printed part compared to a finished machined industrial component for one of our customers.
Andy McCartney goes on to talk about the future of 3D printing in the industry and at Bowden Manufacturing, "We expect that 3D printing technology will continue to develop, get faster, become more cost-effective, and will ultimately have an important role to play in production manufacturing in the not-to-distant future. We will continue to explore the technology, the required skill set to use it, and the potential applications for our customers in the years ahead. "
Bowden's Andy McCartney presents 3D printing capabilities and potential usages with Bob Shutt; Engineer at Rable Machine Inc.
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