Creative Freedom

Freedom to create and design are positive attributes pushing 3D printing technology into homes around the world. These attributes are prevalent across the collaborative community platforms we’ve explored in class. It’s fascinating to see the wide range of designs people have published on websites like Spaceway. I have even more respect for these creations having designed my own.

Dan Banach showed us the basics of Autodesk’s Fusion360 design software this week during class. I compliment him for his simple explanations and more importantly an enjoyable experience. His tutorial focused on designing a windshield snow scraper and a phone charging platform. Although these items seem rather simple, designing the scraper took 2 hours. Familiarizing myself with the nuances of the software took time, but by the end of the session I was confident I had them down.

With the number of tools available on Fusion360, the only limitation is your mind. The feeling of limitless creation is elusive after childhood, but while I was tinkering with my design it felt like I was playing with Legos again. I have had few opportunities to instantly conceptualize my ideas in this manner as a business student. These experiences show how powerful the software can be. When 3D printers become common household items, anyone will be able to customize their common household items. The number of new inventions compounds when more people have access to this technology.

One takeaway from this week’s tutorial is the effects different printing materials have on the final product. I was absent from our first 3D print last week because of the flu and thus didn’t get to experience the printing process firsthand. I had been looking forward to seeing the Ultimaker melt various plastics with my own eyes. My interest in the benefits and drawbacks of each material, especially their environmental impact, led me to further research.

In class, we have already established that 3D printers can be greener than traditional manufacturing because they use fewer materials. 3D printing is an additive process that uses exactly enough material. Traditional manufacturing carves the product from a block of larger material, leaving waste. One material mentioned during class that I frequently see mentioned is PLA bio-plastic. It is becoming the most popular option for 3D printing hobbyists. PLA bio-plastic “requires less energy to print (and less energy to manufacture) than ABS plastic; it’s also less toxic, and even has better print quality.” Another example of green technology is a solar tinter that fuses sand into glass using solar energy. I hope researchers focus on sustainability as they continue to innovate. You can read more here.

Check out a fruit holder I made here.

One thought on “Creative Freedom”

  1. I completely agree with you about feeling like you were a child again playing with Legos! I felt the same way, thinking that I could do anything I imagined on Fusion 360. I am really excited to be more efficient and familiar with the software so I can create something tangible that started as an idea in my head. I think I will struggle with patience because I want to be able to create so many things, but I am unaware of the limits like making sure the object is stable and can actually be printed and usable. It seems as if our class has some great ideas and I can’t wait to see what else we all create in Fusion 360.

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