Wohlers Talk

Women in 3D Printing

Wohlers Talk

Women in 3D Printing , a non-profit organization, was formed in 2014 by Nora Toure of Fast Radius. In just five years, she helped build it into a community of more than 10,000 women worldwide.

Legend Scott Crump

Wohlers Talk

Scott is the inventor of the most popular method of additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing in the world. It is called fused deposition modeling (FDM), and about nine out of 10 AM systems are based on it according to our research for Wohlers Report 2020.

Autodesk

Wohlers Talk

In 1983, I called Autodesk and the vice president of marketing and sales answered the phone. I was employed by Colorado State University at the time. I requested free use of AutoCAD version 1.3 in a 500-level CAD course I was planning to conduct later that year.

Game Day Series

Wohlers Talk

America Makes’ Virtual Game Day Series with Wohlers Associates concluded last week. The four events spanned four months and covered a range of key topics related to additive manufacturing and 3D printing. In all, 728 people worldwide attended the events.

Rapid Prototyping and On Demand Manufacturing

Our blog is focus on rapid prototyping and low volume manufacturing information for global product designer, engineers, purchase officer and entrepreneur.

Formnext 2019

Wohlers Talk

Last week’s Formnext in Frankfurt, Germany was outstanding. Nearly 35,000 people attended, up more than 28% from last year. Four large exhibition halls were nearly filled with 852 exhibitors, an increase of 35% over 2018. These companies showed their latest products and services related to additive manufacturing and 3D printing. We had a team of five people there, yet it was difficult to see it all.

Selecting Parts for AM

Wohlers Talk

Note: Ray Huff, associate engineer at Wohlers Associates, authored the following. Adopting additive manufacturing (AM) for serial production is one of the biggest and most interesting recent trends in industry. Many companies want to know the secret of how to choose parts that are a good fit. Selecting the right parts is very specific to the process, material, product, and market, yet some overarching guidelines help in the process.

AM Terminology

Wohlers Talk

Standard terminology for additive manufacturing and 3D printing is critical when communicating. It puts everyone on the “same page” and more accurately conveys thoughts and ideas when conversing, presenting, and publishing. Ignoring terminology standards and using whatever terms you prefer can cause confusion or worse. The first version of the ASTM F2792 Standard Terminology for Additive Manufacturing Technologies defines 26 terms and was published in 2009.

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3D-Printed Figurines

Wohlers Talk

3D scanning and printing tools make it possible to produce color figurines of action figures, pets, our kids, and a lot more. Prior to our daughter’s wedding last July, we decided to produce a custom cake topper of her and her fiancé. Our company has worked with 3D scanning in the past, but we had not dealt with this level of detail in some time. The following images show the 3D prints from the scan data.

3D-Printed Bike Saddle

Wohlers Talk

On June 3, 2020, Specialized announced the commercial availability of the first 3D-printed cycling saddle, the S-Works Power Saddle with Mirror Technology. A major part of the saddle is crafted with technology from Silicon Valley-based Carbon. The lattice-structure design is said to improve rider comfort and performance by absorbing impact and improving stability. I received the saddle on Friday and admit the design exceeded my expectations.

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Investment

Wohlers Talk

We have tracked investment totaling nearly $1.5 billion in additive manufacturing (AM) products and services worldwide. These dollars are critical to the future of AM and its developing ecosystem. Without it, countess producers of machines, materials, and software, as well as service providers, would not survive. Investment dollars do not ensure success, but it gives companies a fighting chance.

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Remarkable Struggles

Wohlers Talk

Our nation’s healthcare providers are doing extraordinary work. They are risking their lives to help many of us. We cannot provide too much support to them. I’m hopeful that they receive the personal protection equipment (PPE) they deserve. To date, many have not, and that’s unbelievably sad, especially given the sacrifices they are making. Several organizations have stepped up to try to fill this void. One of the hundreds of efforts underway stands out.

Distributed Manufacturing

Wohlers Talk

Most mass manufacturing is done at centralized locations. Many produce millions of products annually. Envision a future where this capacity occurs in many more locations much closer to the customer. Deliveries occur faster and less expensively. Relatively small quantities of products are tailored to the needs of the geographic area. Inventories are smaller, with true just-in-time delivery closer to reality for a greater number of companies and products. Functionality, quality, and value improve.

Response to Pandemic

Wohlers Talk

On Monday of this week, an important event occurred. It was the first in the recently announced Virtual Game Day Series with Wohlers Associates. Monday’s virtual event, titled America Makes COVID-19 Response, attracted about 250 people. The panelists included: Matthew Di Prima, PhD, Materials Scientist, FDA. Meghan McCarthy, PhD, Program Lead, 3D Printing Biovisualization, NIH/NIAID/OD/OSMO/OCICB.

Additive Manufacturing in 2019

Wohlers Talk

The additive manufacturing and 3D printing industry has been anything but dull, with stirring news nearly every week. Last week, for example, footwear product company Dr. Scholl’s announced a partnership with Wiivv to produce custom insoles by AM. I own a pair of the Wiivv-branded custom insoles (see the left image in the following) and wrote about them here. The next 12 months will offer a wide range of interesting—even exciting—developments in AM.

Recycling with AM

Wohlers Talk

Note: Ray Huff, associate engineer at Wohlers Associates, authored the following. No one is surprised to hear that people produce copious amounts of waste every day. According to a 2017 study , if was found that over 300 million tons of plastic waste is produced annually. The question of how to reuse this material, rather than leaving it to degrade over millions of years, may be tiresome. Fortunately, AM is bringing new options much closer to home in a variety of ways.

3D Medical Applications

Held in Baltimore, Maryland, this event will bring together thought leaders, experts, engineers, doctors, researchers, and regulators in the many medical methods for 3D technology.The 3D Medical Applications conference is the most comprehensive, game-changing, meeting of minds for the future of 3D in healthcare.

Extraordinary Times

Wohlers Talk

Countless organizations have shut down indefinitely. The economy is tanking with the stock market declining to unthinkable levels. United Airlines has cut 95% of its international flights, with most business travel halted. Meeting with others, even close friend and relatives, is discouraged. Except for buying food and medicine, we are mostly trapped in our homes. Much of the world is in a level chaos, with no end in sight. I cannot remember a time when life has been so uncertain.

Beatlemania Bass Guitar

Wohlers Talk

Associate consultant Olaf Diegel has designed and manufactured an impressive range of guitars. The main body of each is the most interesting part because it is designed for 3D printing. The character and complexity of these guitars make them, in my opinion, remarkable. One of Olaf’s most recent creations is the Beatlemania bass. The design and details are stunning.

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Bangalore

Wohlers Talk

I visited Bangalore for the first time last week and the experience could not have been better. The people were extremely friendly. In fact, several approached and talked to me as if we had met before, although we hadn’t. I was lucky enough to spend time at very interesting and successful companies, including 3D Product Development , Intech DMLS , and Supercraft3D. All three are vibrant and focused on additive manufacturing products and services and are in the forefront of AM in India.

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Wohlers Report 2018

Wohlers Talk

Wohlers Associates, Inc. announced today the release of Wohlers Report 2018 , the industry-leading global report on the state of the additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing industry, terms used interchangeably. Wohlers Associates has published its series of annual reports on AM for 23 consecutive years. According to the new report, an estimated 1,768 metal AM systems were sold in 2017, compared to 983 systems in 2016, an increase of nearly 80%.

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AM Adoption in Aerospace

Wohlers Talk

At an impressive pace, companies in the aerospace industry are building in-house capacity and expanding the number of certified suppliers in additive manufacturing. The Federal Aviation Administration and others have indicated to me that a half dozen or more metal AM parts have been certified for flight. In the 2014 to 2016 time frame, I saw more than 30 new designs for metal AM at Airbus and its subsidiary Premium AEROTEC. It is believed that hundreds of different polymer AM parts (i.e.,

3D-Printed Food

Wohlers Talk

The idea of 3D-printed food came in or around 2011 when Hod Lipson and his team at Cornell University produced some crude but intriguing examples. The team showed that it was possible to use a syringe-based material extrusion-based 3D printer to deposit cheese, peanut butter, chocolate, and other types of foods. The objects clearly demonstrated the concept. In 2014, 3D Systems introduced its ChefJet 3D printer for making candy and other food items.

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Design Rules for AM

Wohlers Talk

Little by little, companies are learning that it can be very different to design for additive manufacturing (DfAM). To make AM economical for production quantities, DfAM is usually necessary. As costs of the machines, materials, and post-processing are driven downward over time, this may change in some instances. For the foreseeable future, DfAM is not only useful, it’s a requirement.

BrewSpoon

Wohlers Talk

When traveling, I like to wake up to a cup of rich coffee. Most hotel rooms in the U.S. include a coffee maker with decent coffee. When traveling outside the U.S., coffee makers in hotel rooms are not common, although many include a hot water kettle. For years, I have traveled abroad with a Bodum travel press, which produces a good cup of coffee. The first one I had was made of plastic and eventually cracked when pouring boiling water into it.

Revving the Engine with AM

Wohlers Talk

Note: Ray Huff, associate engineer at Wohlers Associates, authored the following. The automotive industry has been a major player in the use of AM over the past 30 years, beginning with rapid product development and prototyping. In the past few years, we have begun to glimpse the possibilities of AM as a tool for end-use production parts in automotive. Among the parts we have seen are custom trim pieces, HVAC components, parking brake brackets, and lightweight convertible top mounts.

AM Investors

Wohlers Talk

Investors of additive manufacturing (AM) come in many forms. Among them are institutional, private equity, venture capital, angel, and individuals. Increasingly, investors are in pursuit of AM-related companies with a promising future. The challenge is to know, with reasonable certainty, what that future looks like and how AM developments will unfold in the coming years. To date, few events on AM have been designed specifically for the investment community.

AM in Formula One

Wohlers Talk

Note: Research associate Ray Huff authored the following. Two weeks ago, I attended the Circuit of the Americas Formula One race near Austin, Texas. I was a guest of Additive Industries, along with the Sauber Alfa Romeo team, for practice day at the track. The day was rainy, but spirits were high, and we enjoyed the spectacle of heavily-engineered race cars burning down the track at speeds of more than 322 km (200 miles) per hour.

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AM in India

Wohlers Talk

For years, additive manufacturing and 3D printing have been put to work in India for concept modeling, design validation, prototyping, and some tooling. Organizations in the U.S., Germany, and other countries are pushing hard to adopt AM for production applications, with India showing similar interest. AM is the subject of a session at the 11th NASSCOM Design & Engineering Summit on September 26-27, 2019 in Bangalore. I’m excited about participating in this important event.

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Elastic and Rigid Behavior in Single-Material Parts

Wohlers Talk

Note: Ray Huff, associate engineer at Wohlers Associates, authored the following. The elastic behavior of polymers, coupled with the design freedom of AM, allows designers to produce some very interesting products. A single-material part can have rigid and springy features, all driven by design. A good example is a small catapult on display in our office. The coil around the main shaft provides the spring force for operating the catapult, although both parts are made of PA12.

Dave Bourell Honored

Wohlers Talk

Note: Ray Huff, associate engineer at Wohlers Associates, authored the following. Two weeks ago, Wohlers Associates attended the 30th annual Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) Symposium in Austin, Texas. The event brought together more than 700 attendees from 25 countries to present and discuss research on additive manufacturing (AM).

Publication of Wohlers Report 2019

Wohlers Talk

Note: Ray Huff of Wohlers Associates co-authored the following. The first months of the year are always an exciting time of discovery at our company. Gathering so much detailed information and data from around the world is laborious but rewarding. We have the deepest appreciation and respect for our core team of analysts, consultants, and writers spanning five continents.

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Jobs from 3D Printing

Wohlers Talk

Government officials have been asking how 3D printing will create jobs in their part of the world. The subject came up again last week in Melbourne, Australia when meeting with people at the state government of Victoria. We explained that some companies and businesses would not exist if it wasn’t for 3D printing. An example is Align Technology, makers of the Invisalign plastic aligners that replace metal brackets and wire to straighten teeth.

3D-Printed Buildings

Wohlers Talk

Earlier this year, 3DPrint.com reported on Shanghai-based WinSun and its 3D printing of buildings. Stories of the Chinese printing entire homes and other structures have been reported in the past, although most have been met with uncertainty. This one, however, includes many detailed images, suggesting that what was described in writing might be real. The video clip and pictures that accompany the story are compelling.

Not for Everyone

Wohlers Talk

Contrary to what some would like you to believe, owning and operating a 3D printer is not for most consumers. It may be easy to buy one, but it’s definitely not easy to create the 3D model data needed to produce a unique design. Also, getting a satisfactory result from a 3D printer is not fast or straightforward. I’ve owned a pair of downhill (alpine) ski poles that I cannot easily replace. They have molded grips that the ski industry stopped producing more than 10 years ago.

New Website

Wohlers Talk

I am happy to announce the launch of our updated website. It has been some time since we launched the last one, so we are excited to roll it out. We hope you like the organization and presentation of the content, as well as the overall user experience. As you browse the site, either on your desktop or mobile device, let us know what you think. If you see something that is not quite right, I’d like to hear about it. If you like it, let us know. Any feedback from you is good.

Major Brands Adopt 3D Printing

Wohlers Talk

Commercial 3D printing has been around since 1988, but change over the past two years is unlike anything we’ve seen in the industry’s first 25 years. Major corporations are making commitments to 3D printing. The earliest adopters of the technology were the likes of Chrysler, GM, Pratt & Whitney, and Texas Instruments, but the recent wave of big companies and brands fall into another category. Among the new companies are Autodesk, Adobe, and Microsoft.

World Economic Forum

Wohlers Talk

I attended a first-ever 3D printing and additive manufacturing event organized and hosted by the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco. The June 3, 2019 workshop, titled 3D Printing and Trade Logistics: Impact on Global Value Chains , involved 18 invited company executives, government officials, and others from many countries.

22nd Annual Wohlers Report

Wohlers Talk

I’m happy to announce this week’s publication of Wohlers Report 2017. I’d like to think that after so many years, it would become easier. It does not, mostly due to all of the changes and new developments in additive manufacturing and 3D printing. The annual effort is still very much related to the technology, but over time, it becomes as much or more about people. Our international network of friends, associates, and business contacts is what makes the report possible.

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Last Week’s Euromold 2015

Wohlers Talk

The 22nd annual Euromold was held last week in Düsseldorf, Germany. Other than a few companies missing from the exhibition floor, it could not have gone better. More than 450 exhibitors from 33 countries showed their latest products and services. More than one-third of them were from the additive manufacturing and 3D printing space, giving visitors a lot to see and learn. A fashion show on Friday featured models with impressive 3D-printed accessories. The display was stunning.

DfAM in Germany

Wohlers Talk

Design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) is not easy. That’s why we have been offering DfAM courses since 2015. Our first two were for NASA Marshal Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. We have since conducted courses in other parts of the U.S., as well as in Australia, Belgium, Canada, and South Africa. Our most recent course was held with Protolabs 2.5 weeks ago near Raleigh, North Carolina. It could not have gone much better.

DfAM

Wohlers Talk

Design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) is not easy. That’s why we have been offering DfAM courses since 2015. Our first two were for NASA Marshal Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. We have since conducted courses in other locations in the U.S., as well as in Australia, Belgium, Canada, and South Africa. Our most recent course was held with Protolabs 2.5 weeks ago near Raleigh, North Carolina.