YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Buying crayons doesn’t make you an artist just like having a 3-D printer doesn’t make you a manufacturer, but it opens up the possibilities.
Additive manufacturing can make nearly anything your mind can dream up. Objects can be almost any shape or material as layers are built up to form the item. It’s similar to the excitement people had 30 to 40 years ago in shop class – take an idea and make an object.
“What we’ve done now with 3-D printing is put those tools, to realize the three-dimensional reality of design, into the hands of everyone,” said Scott Deutsch with America Makes.
3-D printers are found in many schools, which gives students the idea that anything they can imagine can be created. You can create what used to take multiple parts to assemble into a single component, and those can be printed as one thing, which is all of those components. All that used to take an engineering background, but the training now can be much simpler.
“Understanding geometries, the tolerances that mechanical and other engineers would understand. It certainly plays into this, but quite honestly, the technology is within the grasp of just about anyone that is interested in it,” Deutsch said.
Additive manufacturing at this stage of the technology is really designed for customizing componentry, making low volume or simply one thing. That can be a big boost in areas like healthcare such as surgical reconstruction.
“Where they’re helping to build the jigs and devices to help in bone reconstruction and things to stimulate or train the physicians that are doing the work or to hold things in place while they’re doing the surgeries or make the implants in the human body for repair and recovery,” Deutsch said.
The next generation will be involved with the ideas of what you would do with a 3-D printer on Mars or even the space station to make parts where no supply chain is available.
YSU’s Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing helps with research in additive manufacturing. The campus has equipment from all seven methods of 3-D printing.