3 D Printing - Dynamic, Distruptive, Divisive

Published: Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:07
Written by Don Musilli

For the novice, the use of 3D Printers is a relatively new technology. However, this technology has been around for almost 25 years. The new advances in materials, printing extruders and motor technology have advanced these systems to the level of the "New Age of Manufacturing." 

3D Printers are now capable of printing in plastic, metals, wood, chocolate, ceramic, glass, human tissue cells, carbon fiber and more. Where this was once the property of the hobbyist, engineering student and prototyping laboratory, 3D Printers have now become the must have new "toy" by the younger generation. 

With prices for some of the newer 3D Printers under $1,000.00, the ability for the average individual to purchase and build models and components is now a reality. 

EIC currently has one of the fifth generation MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers. This unit was just made available as of March of this year and it has proven to be an excellent printer. This unit prints in PLA plastic only ( corn based oil filament ) and has a build platform that is little over 9" square and 6" high. This will print in over 20 colors and the cost of the filaments run from $18.00 to $65.00 depending upon the type and size of the spool.

To enhance our operation, EIC is also getting ready to purchase a new 3D Systems CubeX, dual head printer that prints in both ABS and PLA plastics. In addition, the new Cube3 unit will be added come this June. This is a junior unit to the CubeX but is more portable and better able to be used in multiple locations.

In order to print on the 3D Printers one must have a 3 dimensional digital object file to install on the Firmware of the printers. This file is developed by using any number of 3D software programs and there are also a large number of items you can download from various sites on the internet.

EIC is now putting into place training programs to educate individuals how to build, design and modify any object using some the more intuitive software now available to the public. The intent is to educate students starting at the Middle School level, along with their teachers and have them develop the computer design skills that will be necessary for them to enter the new "manufacturing technology" arena.

A series of classes will be developed that are designed for the adult and business person who wants to learn a new "employable" skill and have fun doing it. Look for more information about this program on our website soon. For more information please contact us at: http://englewoodincubationcenter.org