Designers and manufacturers have taken it from novelty to practical application.
BILL VIRGIN | SEPTEMBER 2013 | FROM THE PRINT EDITION
There’s a transformative, disruptive technology sweeping manufacturing these days. And Washington is right in the thick of it.
Call it 3D printing. Call it additive manufacturing. Whatever the term, the underlying technology is giving companies here the ability to design, produce, test and tweak prototypes and tooling rapidly, and to repeat the process quickly, dramatically reducing the time it takes to get to market and fueling a new wave of innovation.
Best of all, the technology isn’t the exclusive property of big companies or research labs. Using machines that are in some cases about the size of a dorm-room refrigerator and whose prices have already tumbled thousands of dollars, Washington companies are making 3D printing as routine a part of their operations as computer-numerical-control machining.
Some recent news items illustrate how this worldwide phenomenon is manifesting itself in Washington:
Using a 3D printer, the Lamborghini Lab at the University of Washington worked with Automobili Lamborghini to build a 1/6-scale prototype of the Aventador sports car’s body and chassis in just 20 days at a cost of about $3,000, compared to the 120 days and $40,000 such a project would have taken in the past. Continue reading…