Additive manufacturing's impact on subtractive manufacturing
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    Default Additive manufacturing's impact on subtractive manufacturing

    Hi,

    What do you guys think the scenario with additive manufacturing will be in 10 years ? - 20 years ?

    Will it eventually replace subtractive manufacturing ?

    A scenario described by a professor in an article I just read suggested that the inventory of every household in the future would consist of 3D printers. This would eventually stop mass production and close down sub suppliers, eliminate storage and transportation. Every family would be able to print new things from downloadable CAD drawings; a TV or perhaps a dishwasher. Discontinued or out of stock spareparts would be easy to print in a second.

    I am concerned about this scenario, no company or individual would every be able to protect their copyrighted products or ideas. The elimination of production facilities and physical shops would result in huge numbers of unemployed people.

    A new industrial revolution - a new great depression ?

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    I think it will be a fair way away, but it will happen. I see they are now printing concrete structures.. Strength might be a bit dicky, but they are doing it..

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    I think that's taking it a bit far. MIM hasn't replaced casting, etc. I think they will be complementary processes. It'll just be another tool for folks that make things for a living.

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    It is unlikely to happen until they get to the point of mimicking biological processes; from an accuracy, fine detail, and parallel processing standpoint. Imagine trying to print the variety of materials needed to make an electric motor: Steel (of differing hardness and electrical permeability), copper winding wire (with insulation coating), plastics for housings (the only "easy" one so far), etc. Then, to make sure the whole structure will perform for a reasonable time seems quite unlikely to me in the near term.

    I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I do work for a MA 3D printer manufacturer, and was at MIT during some of the early work on 3D printing by folks who went on to form Z Corp. It is currently a useful technology for limited low-production of complex surfaces, but the unit costs are still high, as are production grade machines. It will certainly get much better and faster, may reach the point of doing replacement organs and the like (build you own girlfriend!), but your proposed scenario is much more than twenty years away.

    Now watch the world prove me wrong...

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    I agree with the other members, personally I can't see it happening as your professor described it. The mixed materials in itself would be an issue, and there are some specific manufacturing techniques that are required to make specific components.

    Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? No I don't think so. Is it likely in 10-20 years? No way.

    However to answer the second part of your question. I am very bullish on manufacturing in Western societies due to the impact of 3D printing. While I don't believe we'll see your scenario in any conceivable timeline, what I think we will see in that period is 3D printers becoming a domestic appliance that most households will own. What is often overlooked however is that the printer is only half the equation, it still needs a model to print. While the 3D printer is the glamour side of things, 3D modelling is also just as important, and major advances are occurring there too. Without quacking on too much, I think we'll see the ability for untrained consumers to very easily scan an existing object, download other objects from databases, modify that object, and/or create a virtual model very easily with very low cost software that is probably included with their computer purchase. All of the above are already beginning to emerge.

    Consumers are already demanding product customisation to individualise products to themselves. With a 3D printer in their own household that effect is only going to be multiplied. Customisation however is not suited to existing mass production techniques in low-cost countries with lead time of months on an order (ie Chinese manufacturing). Also, some of the countries currently specialising in mass production are culturally not very good at creativity. They can copy things and follow, but absolutely hopeless when it comes to leading and creativity. So I think we'll see an increasing number of small (and here we're talking 1-3 person) niche "manufacturers" emerging in our own societies that are producing bespoke products designed or modified for each particular customer and these products will be delivered to the customer within a day or so of being ordered. Think of the custom knife industry in the US, where "manufacturers" are emerging by the dozens producing custom knives and selling them for ridiculous amounts of money to a market where demand still exceeds supply (ie some knives sell more on the second-hand market that they sold for new!). I believe we'll see this same model percolating through an increasing number of products. In addition to lower cost 3D printers, we're also already seeing very inexpensive subtractive CNC machines available to these niche manufacturers. This is all happening right now.

    The upshot of this is I think there will be an enormous number of opportunities available to people to either become entrepreneurs themselves, or for others to work in the industry. However all will need to be multi-skilled, creative, and flexible.

    That's my opinion anyway.

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    I was just at CMTS in Toronto, Canada this week, they had a whole section of the event dedicated to 3d printing. Lots of plastic poopers which is unimpressive to me. Fine you engineered a impossible to machine object, was that really necessary or are you stroking your own ego. Those from the prospect of doing certification of material used is a nightmare.

    What I really wanting to see was laser metal powdered or laser deposition. I seen two powder printers and no one was there with a deposition printer. The one was printing a turbine like object. 36 at a time with 44 hour build time on a 700k machine. You could machine those on a robodrill or similar with a trunion. Faster and for way less upfront cost. Yes yes new technology. Build area was 12 inches x 8 inches y and 8 z.

    Mazak nor DMG had neither of there additive machines there. Previous posters comment on home cncs, You could be right but I doubt the average consumer is going to want to tool a CNC for ones or twos of a part. If they were everyone would have bridgeports at home by now.

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    The big deal about laser metal 3D construction of turbines is putting cooling holes and slots in impossible places for traditional machining (curved paths leading along the vanes, etc.). So that's a major plus for the new technology, I believe SpaceX is making their new rocket turbopumps this way.

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    Fine you engineered a impossible to machine object, was that really necessary or are you stroking your own ego.
    Or have you constructed a fully functional object that fulfilled the design brief and was produced in a fraction of the time outsourcing to an external vendor would have taken for the turn-around?

    As positive as I am about manufacturing in our Western societies, those who continue to think along traditional lines are doomed in my opinion. Not everything NEEDS to be certified from some titanium alloy! I have produced countless items from a so called "unimpressive plastic pooper" that fulfilled the intended function just fine, thanks very much. Nothing especially glamorous about either my machine or what it produces I can assure you, but many times the items didn't NEED to be especially strong. They didn't NEED to be super accurate. I didn't NEED to sit there and make the things. Instead I modelled them up, pushed the go button on the printer, and came back some time later and put them to use. Sure, the various metal capable printers will extend the range of useful products far further, and as has been pointed out, that's already happening right now! Nevertheless, it shouldn't take anything away from the usefulness of what we have available right now, FOR THE RIGHT PURPOSE.

    One of the 3D printing techniques uses paper to print. The finished product has virtually no strength at all. That doesn't mean the products it produces are functionally useless. The design brief may have been that it only NEEDS to be aesthetically correct according to the drawing. That is it's function. Machine it from certified titanium on your Robodrill if you want. Just let me know when you do so and I'll get the cheque book warmed up to buy all your gear cheap off the receivers when you go broke! Your client wanted a widget that "just looked right" according to the brief. They expect to pay 500 bucks for it. You machine up a titanium version from certified materials and wonder why the customer tells you precisely where to shove your $10K bill for doing so.

    Previous posters comment on home cncs, You could be right but I doubt the average consumer is going to want to tool a CNC for ones or twos of a part. If they were everyone would have bridgeports at home by now.
    I clearly stated that the movement to inexpensive CNC machines would mostly benefit very small "manufacturers", companies of only a few people, maybe only one, who can now have the ability to produce bespoke parts very inexpensively as the setup costs for subtractive machining can be a small fraction of what it was only a few years ago. There are hundreds, if not thousands of these "manufacturers" in the US alone who are already doing this. The movement to small manufacturing has been the norm in Germany for example for generations, but it's something we lost in many Western countries. Nevertheless the other side of things, to repeat myself, is that there is a parallel movement on the virtual side. The reason not everyone has a Bridgeport in their home is because they are large, they are heavy, and it takes a skilled operator to make something useful with them. In contrast there are laser cutter/engravers and small CNC milling machines that literally sit on a desk and require absolutely zero machining knowhow to run them. They cost peanuts to buy and run, and it may be that the products they produce are adequate for what the user requires. Again, it's all about fitness for the intended purpose.

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    I wonder if they can make concrete tanks by printing..

    Reason I wonder is tanks for our rural use were originally made out of rolled tin segments, that was rolled in a factory, packaged into a flat pack, then the purchaser could cart it around in a horse and cart or later on a car.. That is how the term Tank Bolt came about for mushroom headed bolts with square nuts.

    As transportation technology became better, concrete tanks could be made on site out of moulds with delivered materials. Slightly later on the smaller concrete tanks (6000 gallons or less)were factory made and put on a truck and delivered on site.. These are heavy though up to 10 tonnes for the ones I have seen.. But they last a long long time.

    Now plastic tanks are here and concrete tanks are going away. Plastic tanks have problems of their own though.. Seen a heap of stuffed ones because they split and become very difficult to impossible to repair. On top of that they burn..

    Concrete tanks were the best for longetivity, but too expensive to transport these days and no one makes them..

    3D print them onsite???

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    I wonder if they can make concrete tanks by printing..
    I can't see why not. There are numerous concrete printers out there that I've seen (only photos and video mind you), and what you do with the concrete would be limited only by your imagination. This isn't exactly to my taste, but heck, why not. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ5Elbvvr1M It just so happens that they're typically used to print something in the shape of a house, but upload a water tank to the same printer and that's what will pop out. Or a pool. Or a sewer pipe. Or a low load bridge. Etc etc. Clearly as the strength or other engineering requirements (for example porosity) increase, the likelihood of being able to successfully 3D print it decreases. Nevertheless, there's nothing to prevent 3D printing being used in conjunction with other technologies, so for example I will sometimes 3D print a part and subsequently also machine it, treating it a bit like one may treat a casting. There's no reason that steel and other traditional materials couldn't be incorporated in a concrete print, with the extruder tool path simply arranged so that it didn't collide with the steel.

    As a general rule if the medium is such that it can be made into some form of fluid and then extruded, then it can be printed using similar layer deposition technologies. That could be anything from chocolate and various other foods, to plastics, human cells, concrete, silicones, and so it goes on. In layman's terms, if you can imagine getting that material in a tube and being able to squeeze it out, you can print it "reasonably" easily.

    What some people who have never had exposure to this technology don't seem to appreciate, is that the majority of 3D printed parts are in fact hollow with a honeycomb or similar pattern reinforcement printed inside them. It makes the structure relatively rigid, while saving a lot in weight and materials. So when someone quacks on about t=something they clearly don't know about and claim they can make it on a Robodrill or whatever, well no, you can't. That's why 3D printed parts are increasingly being used in the aerospace industry, as the weight savings can be significant.

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    Most of the proposed uses are pretty much nonexistent.

    Does not mean some parts may not be useful.
    The concrete tank is a good, potential, example.

    What is typically not taken into account, by the proponents, is time and costs.
    For the vast majority of cases, traditional stuff, like perhaps a plastic mold, with a concrete set on-site, will be easier, faster, and most importantly, cheaper.

    Some uses, like the rocket nozzle stuff, is certainly good. Absolutely.
    There are, certainly, uses for some additive manufacturing.

    Yet, imo, this is only about 1% of all manufacturing, and will not become anything much more until some nano-scale-stuff comes along.
    This might not take 20 years, might actually take less than 10.

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    I work for a company who owns a high end metal machine (3D Systems ProX 300). We've had the machine for about close to 8 months now and so far have only run Stainless Steel 17-4 PH. The parts we get off the machine are pretty amazing with the detail and resolution. With that being said, I agree with many of the above comments in the fact that I don't see additive replacing traditional manufacturing any time soon if ever.

    Every type of manufacturing will have its place. The idea of having everything being readily available at home would be pretty awesome. I have been wondering ever since getting our printer if the day will come where you can log onto home depot's website and pay for a CAD file download of a drill bit and then just print if off instead of leaving your house and going to the store.

    One thing that I can't see being overcome is the ability of metal powder storage. Several metals (titanium, aluminum, etc.) are reactive in the powder state. This meaning, if exposed to heat or a spark, they are essentially like gun powder(on a slightly lesser scale). The parts are built in an inert atmosphere (we use Argon) to prevent that from happening but if someone were just casually filling their machines with titanium and other reactive metals there could be a few serious mishaps. I couldn't begin to imagine the issues you could run into if you were trying to build usable electronics and appliances with multi-materials.

    All in all, I think 3D printing will continue to advance but like everyone above has said, it is a long way away from completely replacing manufacturing as we know it.

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    additive manufacturing might replace some small and simple products, but not all of them such as cars..etc
    you are talking about the copyrights product and idea. so in the future, you might just need to pay for the copyrights and they will sell you the programs to printed the products on your own....lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vifa View Post

    A scenario described by a professor in an article I just read suggested that the inventory of every household in the future would consist of 3D printers. This would eventually stop mass production and close down sub suppliers, eliminate storage and transportation. Every family would be able to print new things from downloadable CAD drawings; a TV or perhaps a dishwasher. Discontinued or out of stock spareparts would be easy to print in a second.

    I am concerned about this scenario, no company or individual would every be able to protect their copyrighted products or ideas. The elimination of production facilities and physical shops would result in huge numbers of unemployed people.

    A new industrial revolution - a new great depression ?
    Popular Science Magazine is always running BS articles that sound like this, except their articles usually revolve around 3d printing a burger or something. In an ideal world maybe everything would be 3d printed and cost nothing, but here in reality where I live, here's how it's going to happen:

    Pretend you want a cheeseburger for lunch, currently you've got 2 choices don't you? Go to the grocery store to buy raw hamburger, a bag of buns, slices of cheese, some ketchup, etc, etc and cook your own or go to McDOnalds and buy one ready made.

    In this idealistic future you hear these dreamers speak of you can print your own burger for lunch. However, you're still going to have to go to the store and buy a bag of protein, a bag of carbohydrates, a container of calcium, etc, etc. Then you can either print your own burger (of your own design) or print a McDonald's burger. Do you really think McDonalds (and all the other big corporations) are going to sit idly by and watch their market share dry up? I don't think so either. What's probably going to happen in reality is you go to McDonald's website, pick what you want, give them your money, and they will give you access to a one time use - read only - file that will allow you to 3d print 1 burger (or however many you bought) using the raw materials you bought at the store). Copyrights, and patents would still be relatively safe. This applies to all manufactured goods, not just food.

    Will this eliminate manufacturing/production? Not the production/refinement/packaging of the raw materials. Will it eliminate sub suppliers/middle men? Not a chance, somebody has to sell the raw materials. Storage and Transportation? Hardly. Oh, and don't forget the energy it takes to run your 3d printer, you'll have to buy that somewhere too.

    As you can see the concept of going to the store to buy stuff won't change with 3d printing. But if all the production and refinement of raw materials is done by robots, and all the business, accounting, advertising is handled by AI Algorithms, where are people going to get jobs to make the money to buy all the raw materials, and the 3d printers in the first place?

    I'm not quite sure how all this would pan out. I think eventually we'd have to give up on the concept of money, maybe then people could start living life just for the peace and enjoyment of it. We could all take up hobbies like making things the "old fashioned way" with lathes and mills.

    Now that I think about it, that doesn't sound so bad!

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    I think your professor is nuts.
    I also think you will be able to print a new heart or kidney before you can "print" a smart TV.
    One is close today, the other is not.
    Bob

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    What I find interesting in all this are the opinions, often strong ones, of those who proclaim 3D printing is all nonsense come from people who don't own a 3D printer, have never run a 3D printer, and, clearly from their ignorant comments, have no idea about 3D manufacturing in general.

    The materials involved in plastic manufacturing, 3D printed parts included, are largely ubiquitous and very inexpensive. Mould them into a shape of a food container and you may be lucky to retail it for a buck. Mould them into a shape of a Nikon lens hood for a camera lens and precisely the same weight of plastic may retail for 20 bucks, despite the same weight of plastic going in to both items. Likewise for 3D printing, the printer doesn't care what it's printing, and the cost to print is largely fixed for the same weight of plastic per hour. Feel free to insert other media to suit. So in other words a printer could be made to print a hamburger for lunch, and the same printer could print a pizza base for dinner, and some bread for a snack. Personally I think food printing is a stupid solution looking for a problem, but it does highlight how essentially the same commodity ingredients can be tweaked to provide a very different outcome, yet for the same cost per weight.

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    last year, my son was working as an intern at a company that had working prototypes of a 3D printer for food. It would print a pizza. At about the cost of a dinner for 4 at a gourmet restaurant. And nobody was bragging about the taste- they were talking it up for places like the space station, and antarctica, where real food is unavailable.

    But yes, it works.

    Personally, I take a dim view of both additive, and subtractive manufacturing.

    I am a blacksmith- we do constant volume manufacturing.
    Its much cheaper just to re-arrange what you already have, rather than add OR subtract.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deboom_j View Post
    ...In this idealistic future you hear these dreamers speak of you can print your own burger for lunch. However, you're still going to have to go to the store and buy a bag of protein, a bag of carbohydrates, a container of calcium, etc, etc. Then you can either print your own burger (of your own design) or print a McDonald's burger. Do you really think McDonalds (and all the other big corporations) are going to sit idly by and watch their market share dry up? I don't think so either. What's probably going to happen in reality is you go to McDonald's website, pick what you want, give them your money, and they will give you access to a one time use - read only - file that will allow you to 3d print 1 burger (or however many you bought) using the raw materials you bought at the store).
    Now that is funny, and is probably exactly what will happen. "Access to a one-time use," one of the more distasteful features of modern life along with buying a code to unlock an option that's already in the control. That's the kind of tantalizing bullshit that invites felonious hacking. Imagine the black market for a cheeseburger code in a depression where everybody's selling pencils on the corner...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vifa View Post
    Hi,
    A scenario described by a professor in an article I just read suggested that the inventory of every household in the future would consist of 3D printers. This would eventually stop mass production and close down sub suppliers, eliminate storage and transportation. Every family would be able to print new things from downloadable CAD drawings; a TV or perhaps a dishwasher. Discontinued or out of stock spareparts would be easy to print in a second.
    This is absolute bull shit written by an idiot with no idea of how manufacturing and supply chains -actually- work. You should immediately burn whatever publication saw fit to trust the author enough to publish his vomit.

    I tried to write that as nicely as I could.

    Additive manufacturing is amazing and revolutionary because it opens up doors to design possibilities that didn't exist previously, and revised manufacturing methods for extremely high end components with critically engineered usage and high demands for both material quality as well as part geometry that subtractive and/or welding processes either could not do, or could only do at extremely higher cost, risk, and delivery time.

    While many homes may have an FDM or even DMLS machine in their home for many purposes, and while it -will- have an impact upon supply chains, it will not, ever, approach the condition you relayed in your original post. There are few absolutes in this world but that won't happen within the CENTURY let alone DECADE.

    Count up how many types of raw material it takes to make a dishwasher. Think about how big of a machine it would take to "print" a dishwasher, even if it could magically print it layer by layer in the already-assembled state. Now think about where you would store all that raw material. Now think about how big your current apartment or house is, and how much smaller it just got because of that machine and its requirements.

    Pure bullshit.

    No one in the industry is even GUESSING that it MIGHT happen. No one is even trying to! There are great articles written about AUGMENTING supply chains by placing printers for some components, to reduce storage space by having as-needed capacity, but it's nothing in the order of consumer products for the home. No one is even purporting the possibilities being close to printing entire complicated home appliances like dishwashers.

    Ludicrous.

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    True enough, as much as every household now owns a cnc machine and can download a CAD file of parts of anything to make.

    On the other hand I have seen practical parts made quickly. Think of how many dumbass parts you have to pay hundreds for and wait weeks. Tool changer fingers or such things


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