Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing (and we’ll use both terms on the site), has grown considerably in the last two decades. While still used overwhelmingly to create quick prototypes, an estimated 20% of finished AM products are now just that: products. Industries and individuals are harnessing the power of 3D printers to create new products, and to more easily manufacture or customize existing products.
With the release of 3D printers intended for home use, like the Thing-O-Matic or the open source RepRap, AM has never been closer to becoming an everyday technology. As designs grow easier to produce and demand grows, 3D printers could become a standard part of most households, just like personal computers, televisions, refrigerators and so on.
Rapid manufacturing and 3D printing have moved to the forefront of prototyping a design. This technology, in development for over 30 years, has reached the tipping point in availability and ease-of-use. Materials are available for almost all application specifications. Designers can now create a design and produce it in-house on their own schedule. It enables creativity and the overall cost is incrementally reducing. Whether you own a 3D printer or use a service bureau, rapid technologies will be a part of all designers’ lives in the near future.
–Steve Robbins, CEO of Level 5 Communications and executive editor of Desktop Engineering.
The technology involved with AM has moved well beyond the boundaries of traditional industry. You can find 3D printers in medical laboratories, the kitchens of five-star restaurants, in the hands of artists and on a large scale in building construction. What began as an inexpensive method to create prototypes has spawned a revolution in creativity.
Rapid Ready aims to bring you information on as many aspects of 3D printing as humanly possible. We’ll cover what the amateur enthusiast is doing in his garage, alongside the newest technological achievements at global companies like Boeing, and everything in between.
If you’re just getting started, you’ll find a glossary here to translate unfamiliar terms, a video archive of AM-related topics to further educate and entertain you, and primers on rapid technology here.
Welcome to Rapid Ready!