The Future of 3D Printing
No longer is it necessary to create a mold and make 10,000 of an item in order to get it produced. Today, 3D printing allows almost anyone to create just about design they can imagine. The technology is being used to make everything from toys to motorcycles to airplane parts, and even houses, as well as incredible medical advances . Where is the tech going? Some think it can make new parts for the International Space Station. Others see it as a way for designers to make money selling 3D models.
What's clear is that production will never be the same. The question is whether the technology behind creating 3D printed products can really be democratic, or if truly high-end production will remain in the hands of a skilled -- and monied -- few.
Experts in the field will share their thoughts on the state of the art, and where this exciting tech is likely to go in the years to come. CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman, who has been writing about 3D printing for years, will moderate.
- What are the most exciting things to happen in the field of 3D printing so far? The technology has been around for 30 years, but it has only begun to pop up on many people's radars in the last couple of years. Why now? And what innovations have led to so much interest in the technology.
- Although there are some very big names behind some of the big innovations in 3D Printing (Autodesk, 3D Systems, Stratasys, there's also a lot of excitement around what's being done on the lower end of the spectrum by companies like MakerBot. So, going forward, what can we expect from the big names, and what can we expect from the MakerBots of the world?
- Already, machines like MakerBot's replicator, Autodesk's 123D suite of tools, and others allow individuals to take advantage of 3D printing, either by creating their own designs and printing them themselves, or by uploading their own designs and using print-on-demand services. What will be the pace of advancement at this individual, personal level, and how long will it be before individuals will be able to create industrial-quality products themselves?
- What are some of the most exciting ways that 3D printing is going to be used in the next few years? Is it allowing astronauts aboard the Space Station to print new parts they need? Is it making it possible for people to print entirely new limbs? Will there be printable blood vessels? Will there be new kinds of physical structures that can be 3D printed and that are stronger than anything that can be created using traditional production means? Or...?
- Over time, how will advances in 3D printing affect traditional production? What kinds of things will be possible using 3D printing that are simply impossible using more traditional means. And will that lower costs, or will the ability to create high-quality one-offs have less of an impact on mass produced items. What kinds of new products will we see? And what kind of all-new categories of things will emerge?
Daniel Terdiman CNET News