As before, 3D-printers that can print full colour models are in the minority. The high investments costs of such equipment reduces their market opportunities. This could change. Innovative manufacturers like paper-3D-printing specialist MCOR Technologies are getting things moving in this exciting market area with cost-effective 3D desktop printers. (Image Mcor Technologies)
The Bergische Struktur- und Wirtschaftsgesellschaft (BSW) made a wish shortly before Christmas:
The BSW needed a few hundred copies of a 3D model of Schloss Burg as give-aways for the international trade fair for experiential marketing (BOE) on 10 January in Dortmund.
There was only one solution for such a demand at short notice: 3D printing. The task was to produce the model from clear, transparent plastic. The 3D Network itself has a Form 2 3D printer (manufacturer: 3D Network member Formlabs) which allowed the filigree structure of the object to be printed quickly.
The Form 2 combines industrial quality with a high level of user-friendliness. The device delivers high-resolution prints in a desktop format at a fraction of the price of the stereolithography (SLA) that was used until recently. In stereolithography 3D printing, a light-curing plastic (synthetic resin) is cured by a laser into thin layers.
With the support of our 3D Network member EXCIT3D GmbH, which provided 3D printing-compliant design and post-processing, we started serial production in a very short time. In fact, it was finished punctually with only one Form 2.
But we have only explored a fraction of the possibilities of 3D printing. Instead of producing the same model 300 times, 300 different copies could have been created.The additional cost of this: Zero. Just imagine what 300 different moulds would cost.
We will shortly be showing how we use the 3D model of Schloss Burg as an example for showcasing the possibilities of 3D printing in producing a wide variety of variants.
3D printing is used to produce products when, where and how they are needed. Our 7 theses on the revolution of production by 3D printing show how additive manufacturing turns the previous laws of production upside down.
Last week, 3D network manager Werner Koch and Li Peixue, founder and chairman of the leading 3D printing service provider 3D focus, signed a cooperation agreement in the Chinese city Quingdao.