Why 3D Printing Can Save America

Published: Sunday, 20 September 2015 10:54
Written by Don Musilli

Okay. So you keep seeing articles about 3D printing and all the new and wonderful things it can do for a wide variety of industries. Does any of this exciting, innovative technology give you pause to think about its' future economic implications? Maybe not. But one thing should grab your attention. The speed of this inovative process is moving faster than any other technology since the industrial revolution.

EIC has been working with 3D printers for almost 3 years and we see this technology as being one way of getting the US back into making things again...and I mean hard technologies not phone apps or software.

The youth of today, starting with 8 years of age and up, are very competent in working with 3D modeling softwares such as Tinkercad, Minecraft, Sketchup and others. 3D printers require a .stl file to print an object. All of the above software tools allow anyone to create an object and save it as a .stl file. The ability to have an 8 or 9 year old create an object on the computer and then immediately produce that product on a 3D printer. This ability to make it simple to make an object and not just a picture is extremely important and there are no more vocational programs in K-12 schools at this time.

If you Google 3D printing and any industry you will find that all areas of the medical, aerospace, auto, military, fashion, construction and governmental operations are investing heavily in this technology. Advancements in the size, speed and types of materials in which one can print using a 3D printer are increasing on a  DAILY basis.

One of the main advantages of 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing as it is called, is the amount of space and money that is NOT needed to enter this market. You can have a number of printers, computers, scanners and other apparatus in less than 500 square feet. Or in the case of many entrepreneurs, their garage. You can now purchase an FDM, SLA and SLS printer ( Fused Deposition, Resin and Metal ) all combined for less than $20,000.00. If you just want an FDM printer, $2,500.00 will cover it along with some filament.  

EIC is making great strides by working with schools ( elementary through high school and some colleges) to put printers in the hands of students ( especially STEM programs) that can use their higher skill sets with CAD and Solidworks 3D modeling software to create usable, sophisticated objects. In many cases more advanced than many companies. This is the best way to connect the students t the real world and hopefully spark an interest in making something.

For more information on EIC and our programs please contact us at: https://englewoodincubationcenter.org or call us at 317-796-7617.