There has been a lot of discussion around transitioning 3D Printing from a way to make models, into a way to make real parts – Production Manufacturing. Recently, many companies that do end-use part manufacturing are using the advantages of free form fabrication to make low volume and/or complex parts. But the big break that everyone has been looking for has not happened yet. It is not mainstream because everyone was trying to take systems designed to make prototypes, one copy, and use them to mass produce parts. It fit sometimes, but not always. To have the breakthrough everyone is looking for, the industry needs to change the way we do 3D Printing.
At this year’s IMTS show in Chicago there are several examples of where this is happening. One example is a step away from layer-by-layer part construction, as shown in the CLIP process from Carbon3D. Also, a new technology from HP demonstrates a unique way of part creation that also shows promise for larger volumes.