Week 1: Endless Possibilities

With machines purring all around me as I sat in class, eagerly awaiting the start of the very first Digital Making class, I can’t help but ogle at the finish products on every surface in the classroom. Unlike most classes that I attend at the U of I, this must be one of the most hands-on and interesting class to date. With 3D making, the possibilities are endless. Anything that you can design and create can be made in your own home (or in this class, the Makerlab). That excites me to no end, knowing that by the end of the semester, I would have the skills and knowledge to do exactly that.

This week, we had a guest speaker, John Hornick, the author of the book “3D Printing Will Rock the World”. John ran us through the basics of 3D printing, including some of its more interesting uses in the healthcare industry as well as the pros and cons of 3D printing made available to consumers.

The few basic types of 3D printing he mentioned included:

  • Directed energy deposition
  • Material extrusion
  • Material Jetting
  • Powder Bed Fusion
  • Sheet Lamination
  • Vat photopolymerization

From John’s lecture, I’ve learnt that 3D printing is a preferred method of prototyping product for startups, due to its high cost benefit ratio, since 3D printing is extremely cost effective, and takes a lot less time to create a product as compared to commercial alternatives. This has led to a huge impact on the manufacturers, since consumers now have the ability to create products instead of having to buy them.

John’s lecture has inspired me to look through the internet for cool and interesting uses of 3D printing, and by chance, I stumbled upon this video.

Novel 4D printing method blossoms from botanical inspiration by Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

A short excerpt from the article:

“A team of scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has evolved their microscale 3D printing technology to the fourth dimension, time. Inspired by natural structures like plants, which respond and change their form over time according to environmental stimuli, the team has unveiled 4D-printed hydrogel composite structures that change shape upon immersion in water.”

Do check out the video if you have time!

4 thoughts on “Week 1: Endless Possibilities

  1. Hi Elaine, I think the 4D printing method is very exciting. I guess it can be applied to all the objects with a need to transform under certain conditions, but I do think the material is still the key here, hope in the near future there will be some kind of “super material” that will satisfy all the need although I highly doubt that.

  2. Hey Elaine! I thought your post was really descriptive and gave a great overview of what was covered last week. I thought the video you posted about 4D printing was very interesting, and I would love to learn more about that technology. I don’t think I will get there in this course, but hopefully down the line I can explore a little more! Great post!

  3. Hello Elaine! First off, I just want to say that your post immediately caught my attention. The way you started off your post was very clever and descriptive. During class, my eyes pondered the room at the various 3D printed objects as well! Also, I couldn’t agree more with what you said about how this class offers an interesting, hands-on experience. It is precisely this reason as to why I signed up for this course. Anyways, I look forward to getting to know you better this semester. Together, we will further our knowledge on 3D printing!

  4. Truly exciting stuff! Excited to see how this innovation will impact under-sea applications for the 3Dp. From ocean floor clean-up to energy generation, I think the world needs this technology to mature, and soon.

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