Think the world of consumer 3D printing and hardcore manufacturing 3D printing share nothing more than a few words? After all, high-end production 3D printers are churning out end-use parts, highly detailed concept models and more for a range of manufacturing operations. And consumer 3D printers, like the Cube, are perfect for at-home projects and art pieces. The two seem pretty far removed, right?
Not so fast.
In a recent Industry Week article, Jim Williams, vice president of aerospace and defense, MANTEC and program development at 3D Systems, argues that manufacturers ought to be taking note of the implications of consumer 3D printing on the manufacturing industry. In fact, consumer 3D printing is laying the groundwork for a new generation of manufacturers, getting students interested in making early. In addition, it’s helping manufacturers who haven’t stepped into the 3D printing arena to get a feel for the design paradigm shift that 3D printing requires.