If you can draw it, we can print it!

3D CAD continues to grow in capability year after year.  Now so do the 3D printers.  3D printers have taken an attitude that if you can draw it, we can build it.   As long as you can create a room big enough and create enough gantry travel the sky is the limit.   I have recently read an article from Forbes website (http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2012/07/11/airbus-explores-a-future-where-planes-are-built-with-giant-3d-printers/2/) that discussed how Boeing has started to experiment with printing an airplane.  With the composite materials getting better and stronger we will see more and more of this.   If this technology gets good enough, imagine the possibilities.  We can create seamless designs currently not achievable by todays manufacturing techniques.

Printed airplane

Ok, so a printer of that scale is not very practicle, or even very imaginable.  Today's printer are getting larger and more complex.  They have successfully printed complete working model airplanes.  http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20737-3d-printing-the-worlds-first-printed-plane.html.  I have also seen articles talking about airlines that are able to use 3D printer to use metal material, and they can print custom replacement parts on the spot.   Now you can get your replacement art in hours instead of weeks. 

What will we see next?  Will you be purchasing a 3D printer for you home?  This is an exciting time for this industry and the technology is changing fast.  Keep your eye on this, beacause if you blink you will surely miss something.  And keep those designs comming.

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