Week 1 Reflection Post

Listening to Mr. Hornick’s presentation this week, I felt like I was really seeing the future. I admittedly did not know much about the practical applications for 3D printing before hearing him, let alone the industrial applications, but I now realize that we are on the verge of a complete paradigm shift in the world of manufacturing. I think that the best way to sum up what Mr. Hornick had to say is that manufacturing will be democratized and localized. Today, the manufacturing industry is one that is dominated by the idea of economies of scale, and the more the better. 3D printing on the other hand has the benefit of a linear relationship between quantity and cost. Two widgets cost twice as much to manufacture as one.

An area of Mr. Hornick’s presentation that really caught my attention was that of brands. In the future, will people pay for the Nike design file, when the off-brand one is reportedly just as good and half the cost? The cost of the materials will be the same, since the consumer is providing them, and without that differentiation I feel that the contemporary brands that dominate the market will find it difficult to compete. Reflecting on the presentation later, I had the idea that open-source designs will become a big player much as they have in the world of software. Even today, so many 3D models are available for free, and I feel that as the technology matures, more and more collaboration and cooperation will result in a thriving world of open-source products from shoes to heart-valves, and the traditional brand names will need to find a stay relevant.

In the week since the presentation, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit looking at cool and interesting 3D printing projects on YouTube. One of the ones that really stuck out to me was this platform jack that is printed in one fully assembled piece. While it was very impressive that the design needed no assembly, I thought the more impressive part was that it was printed on an Ultimaker 2, the very same printers we have in the lab. In the video, he demonstrates how it can actually support the weight of a vacuum cleaner. This design demonstrates how a “hot glue gun on steroids” can actually be used to build really useful things.

2 thoughts on “Week 1 Reflection Post

  1. WHOA, that video though! This really just inspired me to think bigger for my semester project!

  2. Until I saw that video, I had the opinion that for most 3d printed objects, assembly would be an issue. Considering that something like a platform jack can be printed out, fully ready and assembled, its possible far more complicated objects can be printed out, fully assembled, or requiring very little assembly.

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