Hannah’s Exploration 1
1. What are the current and emerging 3D printing applications in the manufacturing field?
Rachel Nhan is a fashion designer who works with 3D printed outfits and accessories–she appreciates the ability of 3D printing to let manufacturers to print prototypes quickly and cheaply, allowing them to advance project stages faster. Her work in fashion is a relatively new use of 3D printing; in this age of always-changing fashion trends, she thinks that 3D printing could harness recyclable materials: people could print and reuse their own clothes, cutting down on waste! Some companies are already getting on the 3D printing bandwagon, using it not just for quick prototypes but for final products as well.
2. What are the advantages and limitations of 3D printing technology?
As stated above, and expanded upon in Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing, printing allows things like prototypes to be created much more quickly, cheaply, and well-made. On the other hand, Kadet Kuhne is an artist who works in the 3D printed media. She sees limitations in that 3D printing is still not affordable for many on an individual level, printing speeds that lag behind vision and need, and that there is difficulty mixing materials.
3. What are the larger implications of 3D printing with regard to manufacturing and the economy?
Kuhne is excited at the possibility of 3D printing creating “a sweeping democratization in manufacturing” that gives individuals the power to be creators, instead of being dependent on large companies or corporations. Nahn wonders if easily accessible printers will cut down jobs for factory workers.