Mass production 3D printing? It’s coming, and it’s a big deal

“Markforged, a company that makes industrial 3D printers, today announced that it has closed an $82 million Series D round,” Greg Nichols writes for ZDNet. “That’s a hefty raise for a 3D printer company, and it signifies an important shift in additive manufacturing, long the sphere of prototyping and short run production, toward higher output and mass production.”

Markforged set out to change the pace of human innovation by enabling engineers, inventors and manufacturers to print industrial-grade parts at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods. We’re very excited to have Summit join us as we help accelerate the next industrial revolution with broadly accessible and reliable 3D printing. — Markforged CEO and co-founder Greg Mark

“That’s a lofty aspiration, but it might not be far off. The $12 trillion manufacturing sector is undergoing a transformation thanks to flexible automation technologies, including autonomous mobile robots and collaborative robotics,” Nichols writes. “Additive manufacturing, bolstered by cloud-based software, greater precision, new materials, and increasing outputs may be the missing ingredient to transform production for the 21st century.

“Imagine if large production runs of parts could be initiated with a CAD file and a laptop,” Nichols writes. “No tooling and no line setup required.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’ll be a revolution all right: Just imagine how it’ll affect 🔫 production.

And, no, we’re not talking squirt guns, (but this does nicely point out the idiocy of Apple’s miscommensorship via emoji). We’re talking real guns.

14 Comments

  1. Methinks the autonomous and collaborative robots had too much of a hand in the writing of this article. Methinks the autonomous and collaborative robots had too much of a hand in the writing of this article.

  2. For low strength consumer baubles, quick additive manufacturing that resembles “printing” is here already. For high strength materials, “printing” will never be here.

    In either case, Apple is practically nowhere to be found. * CAD/CAM is almost 100% Windows software. Yet another huge market opportunity that Apple wasn’t willing to expend any energy to support….

    There are always exceptions. One can find Mac native software for drawing, such as Ashlar-Vellum or AutoDesk products. However the stress analyses, manufacturing, complex assembly, dynamics analyses, and other high end tools are the domain of Windows software. Companies don’t manufacture products using drafting programs alone. So if you buy a Mac to make 3D printed stuff on your shiny new Ultimaker 3D printer, then you will soon find yourself installing Parallels, Windows, and Solidworks, and Cura on your Mac.

    I blame Apple for the sorry state of technical software availability on the Mac.

    1. “Yet another huge market opportunity that Apple wasn’t willing to expend any energy to support….”

      Core business principle — Do NOT try to be all things to all people. Focus, focus and focus.

      And, of course, Apple is a MUCH larger company than Microsoft, who you hold up as the comparison to show what Apple SHOULD be doing.

      1. By what measures? Revenue and profit?

        Fine but users care more about products and services.

        From a risk and future upside perspective, investors value MSFT more highly.

        Also FYI, MSFT has more employees.

    2. Mike, I have already had both Titanium and Hafnium high strength parts made. Though the process is relatively slow, getting a single part to test or to use can be much quicker than 100% machining & EDM to get the part.

      It is true that RP parts will never replace most machined metal parts because most machined parts are simple enough to not get significant advantage from RP processes. Finish work for critical tolerances and finishes are also needed on RP parts.

      Just like everything else in manufacturing it is all about getting the strength and wear resistance you need at an affordable price.

      GE is building a jet engine fuel manifold in one piece that took over a dozen machined pieces before with fasteners and that RP part saves them lots of money.

      More: https://www.tctmagazine.com/

  3. A few of my artist friends attempt to make 3D art but they produce output that is as stiff as early photographic portraiture. Art galleries are generally not interested. Collectors want a one of, not reproductions of the same design which brings up the question of which one, if any, of the ones is the original. Albrecht Dürer’s engravings faced the same criticism for a while. And one has to learn a 3D program which does not allow for designing non-stiff shapes. But I think it’s the future of art which is asserting itself already.

  4. My favorite part about people who try to “print” their guns is how often these ventures tend to blow up in their faces (pun intended). Literally the last thing this world needs is a technology that let’s you print guns at the click of a button.

    1. The post RP molding operations include a lot of machining and polishing to get any sort of tight tolerances needed for a reliable, accurate gun or similar set of parts.

      It is quicker and cheaper to buy a gun from a reliable source than to make a crummy RP gun.

  5. Only if people use it, which they aren’t. The average person has absolutely no use for this, and I don’t suspect that will change anytime soon. For industries that can actually make use of the technology, hurrah.

    1. 3D printing is already used in many industries, including manufacturers such as Ford. Sometimes they’re used for limited production mass produced parts.

      Everyone is waiting for faster, accurate machines.

  6. Hp has been sampling printers that are fast and highly accurate for over a year. These will cost in the mid to high tens of thousands to the very low hundred thousand mark. Hp is a fierce competitor, and these machines have gotten very good reports so far. I’m excited to see one. The literature is on Hp’s site.

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