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3D Printing Brings Manufacturing Home

So you need a new evening gown, a part for the dishwasher, a missing chess piece. And your son would really like a really cool remote-controlled airplane. Sure, you could spend hours searching the Internet for the right items. Or you could just print them.Yes, you really can “print” your own clothing and appliance parts Product Samples Coming Soon Plastics Color Corporation plans to introduce 3D printing technologies to its Asheboro, N.C. Solutions Center. Instead of just producing color chips during customer design and development sessions, PCC will be able to create actual product samples. This capability will greatly enhance the decision process. Look for more news soon! 3D Printing Brings Manufacturing Home Yes, you really can “print” your own clothing and appliance parts So you need a new evening gown, a part for the dishwasher, a missing chess piece. And your son would really like a really cool remote-controlled airplane. Sure, you could spend hours searching the Internet for the right items. Or you could just print them. Yes, print them. OK, it might take a little time. But all of these items and many more can be created in one location thanks to a process called 3D printing or “additive manufacturing.” Using a variety of plastic and metal stocks, 3D printers are churning out everything from simple plastic toys to full-size car bodies, unmanned aircraft, prosthetics and tissue/organ materials to aid in transplant surgeries. With its recent acquisition of two additive manufacturing facilities in the Cincinnati area, GE Aviation will employ 3D printing technology to produce components for the LEAP (Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion) jet engine. Additive manufacturing is so flexible and versatile that some 3D printers such as RepRap can even replicate all of their own parts, making it possible to buy a printer that can create additional printers just like it. While the industry is still evolving, some analysts are already indicating large scale adoption of 3D printing technology could render traditional manufacturing obsolete. “Why manufacture something in China, pay workers, and then ship it around the world... when you could just 3D print the object next to its end market?” asks Nick Hodge of Energy and Capital. 3D printing could streamline the design process as well says Hodge since “Engineers can decrease design time exponentially as they'll be able to print and modify designs in their living rooms, rather than having to wait for prototypes from custom manufacturing shops.” Engineers have used “rapid prototyping” for decades to make three-dimensional mock-ups. In the mid-1980s, a process called stereolithography was developed by Charles Hull. The stereolithography apparatus (SLA) used a liquid photopolymer which was solidified on contact by a computer-guided laser. Many of today’s 3D printers use a process known as “fused deposition modeling” (FDM) in which plastic or metal filaments are fed through a heated nozzle and a product is created by adding layers of material. The layers are determined by software which takes a three-dimensional CAD (computer-aided design) drawing and “slices” it into strata that the 3D printer reads and uses to build the item. For high-end metal parts, additive manufacturing processes called “laser sintering” and “electron beam melting” are available. With FDM printer prices on the decline, the consumer market appears to be wide open. Toys, items and parts can be produced at home by downloading a pre-existing three dimensional file or creating your own 3D file using CAD software. 3DSystems’ Cube at $1,299 comes with preloaded designs, software, wifi and its own support community. Solidoodle recently drove the consumer price point down to $499 with its barebones 2nd Generation model. Shapeways offers a 3D printing service for consumers – design your own item, send the CAD file, and Shapeways will create and ship it to you. The Cube 3D Printer Among the most common plastic filaments used in 3D printing are ABS and PLA. Industry powerhouse Stratasys lists 10 different thermoplastic variations among its offerings, as well as nine distinct photopolymers for stereolithography printing. Filabot offers a “personal filament maker” that uses household plastic items as raw materials to make your own 3D printer filaments. As 3D printing technology finds its way into more and more homes, traditional gift-giving occasions such as Christmas could take on a whole new look. Not only could 3D printing be used to make gifts at home, it could create ornaments for the tree and a seemingly endless variety of decorations. With so many options already and 3D printing technology still emerging, the word “obsolete” may itself become obsolete when it comes to finding small replacement parts for the dishwasher or any other appliance or household item that needs fixing. As for that new evening gown… it may take a little while but high fashion is certainly printable as evidenced by this Shapeways 3D printed nylon gown modeled by Dita von Teese. Thanks to additive manufacturing, if you can dream it you can print it - and even wear it! © 2013 Plastics Color Corporation inShare0 For more information, please visit www.plasticscolor.com or call 800-922-9936. PLASTICS COLOR CORPORATION 14201 Paxton Avenue Calumet City, IL 60409 VISIT US ONLINE TO JOIN THE PCC NETWORK

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