My 3D Printing links, notes and observations

3D printing

I have observed and monitored the growth of 3D printing for over 35 years.  From the beginning, when the resin and UV laser process was invented.  3D printing is improving, but I see the following as continued areas of growth.  3D printing has many forms and all are just breaking out of their infant state in my opinion.

  1. Material Science.   Turning 6061 aluminum into powder, then melting it with a laser to make a 3D part does not make a 6061 grade aluminum part.   The process changes the material. New materials must be developed for 3D printing processes.  Materials must be predictable, reliable and consistent in 3D use.  Metals, plastics, resins are all ongoing.  For many years 3D was done with existing materials.  In the last few years, development of new materials has grown and must continue to grow.  
  2. Design must improve.  Designing for past manufacturing methods was very mature.   Designers must be re-taught or learn how to design for 3D printing to make it useful for production work.  3D printing wont replace everything, it has it's niche and use.  Many very good uses.  To take advantage of it Designers will have to learn new design rules and methods.   Just changing the orientation of a 3D part while making the part could have a major effect on the design.  Most importantly, design leaders must learn to use and trust 3D designs and parts. 
  3. Software    New organic design tools will be needed.  CAD software that can also check and implement design rules for 3D modeling.  The "postprocessing" of the data to make manufacturing code must continue to develop.   
  4. The 3D machines must become machine tools, not elaborate hobby machines.    More sensors to help control the 3D process.  Better understanding of the variables.  Processing the sensor data and then developing the algorithms to make it all usable in the manufacturing environment.    A 100 machines should take the exact same code and be able to make the exact same part, within very tight tolerances.  This is not the standard yet.

Prusa MK3S+, MMU2S and Enclosure notes

Prusa XL notes coming 4Q 2023 

Lessons learned

As I learn tips I will add to them.   I have used PLA, PETG and clear PVB so far. 

My 3D Printed O gauge train items

Last Update Jan 23 2023