As I started my career in CAD-CAM, I have a special interest over 3D printing. The promise it shows is too good to overlook. You can create virtually any shape that you can model with a 3D CAD software. At the moment, the process is slow compared to conventional means of manufacturing and we are limited by the available material range. This is why, 3D printing hasn’t already replaced the conventional methods but the day is not far off when we will see the end of manufacturing, as we know it. Light, elegant products will become the order of the day. Producing complex geometry will not be much more difficult than producing a standard shape. Waste reduction and cost savings are assured. As you don’t need volume to break-even, the risk associated with trying a new product design is minimised. This is a huge boon to industries like aviation and automotive which need to invest in the billions to try out a new concept. I keep watching the growth in this sphere and it never fails to fascinate me. But, what really prompted me to write this blog is simply out of this world … literally!
As 3D printing offers the convenience to produce anything without setting up complex machinery and processes, it has immense potential to end up in the kitty of astronauts. This article (http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=250614) predicts that instead of carrying a whole range of things for their stay in the ISS or the moon and beyond, astronauts may carry a printer and enough raw materials and be a DIY manufacturer. This will save precious space for other things. How good is that! As an aside, I have a realistic chance of finding a job in Mars. All I need to do is become an astronaut : D