IN THIS CHAPTER
Making manufacturing widely accessible
Forging new paths in design
Making advancements in tool design
Beyond the ability to print items for personal enjoyment or use, 3D printing offers moneymaking opportunities that weren’t possible even a few years ago. The earliest commodity application of additive manufacturing was in prototyping; its ease of one-off fabrication for testing earned it early fame as rapid prototyping. Many products are tested by creating a physical model through additive manufacturing, allowing consumers to test fit and arrangement of controls and mechanical features by using a model of the intended product. 3D printing still facilitates the creation of rapid prototypes of different designs, but its capabilities have expanded to include metal and ceramic materials suitable to the fabrication of durable production goods.
This chapter examines many of the emerging uses for additive manufacturing systems, which are already opening new industries for exploration and commoditization.