Last month we attended the Rapid Exposition and Conference in Detroit, MI. A majority of the people we met and spoke to had specific projects in mind that required 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing. Whereas people at last year’s show were mainly there to understand and learn about the concept of 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing. People are now moving from learning about the machines and materials to moving towards fully utilizing their capabilities.
A major requirement we heard from people at this year’s show is that they need a material that would act as close to the end production material. Rather than focus on the least expensive material or process, people need parts fabricated from processes like SLA, FDM, SLS, or DMLS that allow one to conduct “under the hood” testing. Fit and function testing can be better utilized from the materials of these processes. Of course other features are also important (i.e. price, part finish, tolerances, etc.) but material selection is one of the major keys in acceptance and innovation in 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing.
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