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3D Printing Is The Future, But Safety Comes First
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EdG016
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EdG016,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/21/2014 | 10:44:26 AM
Real concerns or an attempt to save their market?
Sounds like the death gasps of companies that have been able to charge whatever they want for parts. I have no doubt that this will have an impact on some production lines, but warning us about heat and emissions? I think the battles over intellectual property are actually going to be quite real, and the winners will be the consumer for a change. Instead of paying an outrageous amount for a replacement part that can only be ordered from a single source - who will tell us that part is no longer available, but if we can buy the new model...we will be able to build our own spare parts.
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Strategist
1/18/2014 | 9:59:36 AM
3-D Printing, is it safe?
I did want to mention that when printing ABS (a plastic), 3-D printers put out a small amount of HCN (Hydrogen cyanide)...a not very good for your health compound. Hence, to be "safe" the printer should be ventilated inside a small fume hood or at least have a snorkel device over it to ensure those emissions do not propagate into the office area. Measurements done in the "real world" indicate those emissions are very small - below OSHA limits - but they can't be ruled out, and might be cumulative over time, so businesses ought to factor those costs into the purchase of a 3-D printer. Also, proper training is required because those nozzles are HOT and will permanently scar someone burned by them.
jasonfaul
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jasonfaul,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/18/2014 | 6:46:09 AM
Re: Software?
What kind of printing will it do ? Can it be used by attaching with sublimation machine?
TomUL
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TomUL,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/17/2014 | 11:38:15 AM
Re: Software?
Hello @Lorna Garey:   In the post software associated with 3D printing was mentioned in a general sense and there is nothing inherently problematic with the software.   It was mentioned in the post both because CIOs likely would want to have an awareness of both its selection/use for business processes involving hardware like 3D printers connected to the network, and because of the still evolving copyright and intellectual property issues that potentially/theoretically could impact products a company produces via 3D printing.  It appears someday (soon) there may be the ability/demonstrated need to incorporate into the software features that assist preventing infringement of these evolving legal boundaries, or that prevent the software from being used for nefarious purposes (e.g., design/printing firearms), but the industry does not seem to be quite there yet..  Regarding CAD applications and SolidWorks in particular, certainly I have seen a variety of online discussions on the use of this software for aspects of 3D printing, as @moonwatcher further elaborated on.  Thank you.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2014 | 6:37:32 PM
Remote printing
One compelling potential use case for 3D printing a CIO shared with me is to create spare parts out on a remote oil or gas drilling rig, so that rig can store fewer spare parts. It now stores a lot because it's so hard to get a replacement to the site, and so costly to have downtime. But the safety factor is interesting -- injury at a remote rig are a major concern as well. 
moonwatcher
IW Pick
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Strategist
1/16/2014 | 6:37:16 PM
Re: Software?
Lorna, there are some free 3-D design programs out there, but of course Solidworks can generate the STL files necessary. Those STL files are then "sliced" by another software (usually provided by the maker of the printer, but third party software is available). These create a file such as a .x3g or similar file that provides the tool path for the print head to be able to build up a part layer by layer, with the X-Y resolution controled by a stepper motor and a vertical Z axis resolution determined by the minimum layer thickness the printer can create. My company just bought a Makerbot Replicator 2x which can "print" using a corn based plastic called PLA or ABS plastic. In the future printers using resin or even molten metal will become more common. Remember that these devices are in their infancy. In contrast, ink jet printers  have had 20 years of development. But the future for these devices looks great.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2014 | 5:36:20 PM
Software?
You mention evaluting the software these printers run. Can you discuss that a bit more? For example, what does the printer's software bring to the party -- just the basic operation of the machine, or does it help use design items to print? Will these interface with CAD applications like SolidWorks?


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