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3D printing simplicity spurs boom

Posted by Brad Edmond on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 @ 16:09 PM

Additive manufacturing is booming, and the ease with which a 3D printer can be purchased and used is one of the primary reasons. Every day a new product is being advertised as 3D printer compatible and the price at which any individual can buy an easy-to-use printer has dropped significantly.

The ComicBookBin news site recently noted that action figures are now being developed through the technology. By using Solidworks CAD software, users are able to build just about anything, from a perfect replica of a toy to a working replica of a phone, provided the user has access to the right materials.

Businesses have also been adapting to the technology, particularly due to the fact that hardware such as Objet 3D printers are being sold for less than $20,000.

Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing argues that the industry will soon see more regulation surrounding the spread of CAD software. At the moment, manufacturers are keeping a close eye on the booming technology, and assessing ways to profit from the 3D printing trend. It is possible that more industries will turn away from direct production in favor of product design, according to Mashable. In other words, the concept of distribution will change from shipping to an internet-based model. Customers will simply need to purchase the adequate materials to supply their printers and will be able to create any product that fits the dimensions.

Comicbookbin reported that the ease of learning to use the technology means it won't be long until entire toy sets are created using the hardware. Parents and children will be able to purchase the software and create a toy in a quicker and cheaper process. Because of 3D printing's simplicity, manufacturing in general may soon see a revolution.

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