Just as iTunes disrupted the music industry and changed the way music is purchased and delivered, digital manufacturing is transforming how plastic parts are purchased, produced and delivered.

Digital manufacturing produces tangible low-volume plastic parts without machining, mold tooling, jigs to hold the work in place, fixtures or much manual intervention - all things that dramatically add to the cost of today's traditional manufacturing processes.

In addition to the cost and speed benefits for making low-volume parts, digital manufacturing has several other advantages:

- Enables the production of highly complex geometries that would be impossible to make with traditional manufacturing processes (when using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), a popular digital manufacturing technology choice)

- Consolidate formerly separate parts, thus reducing manufacturing, assembly and inspection costs

- Makes it possible to bring a portion of manufacturing back to the United States because outsourcing production in large volumes to offshore facilities is less cost effective

Check our our White Papers on the benefits of Direct Digital Manufacturing:

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Replies to This Discussion

You are probably all aware of the RepRap project - although for those of you with professional quality machines it would likely have little appeal, since it is still capable of only lower quality production, but it is evolving rapidly!
One other similarity to i-tunes is open source digital part files available for download and (potentially) open source machines that can be built for the cost of materials and the time it takes to run the parts off, this is very rudimentary at present, but seems to be a pervasive emerging trend that may have a substantial impact on small scale manufacturing as the objective will probably not be efficient production of a large number of identical parts, but instead flexability to produce small lots a highly varied parts. My project is "CubeSpawn" and the goal(s) are stated on the site for anyone interested...

keep in mind these projects are fairly new - in the case of cubespawn under 2 months...

RepRap URL http://reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome
CubeSpawn URL http://www.cubespawn.com



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