Although 3D printing made the process of prototyping a new product much quicker and easier, developers who need to make adjustments to their prototypes currently need to print another one from scratch. University researchers in Germany and the U.S., however, may have a better solution.
A new 3D printer, built by a collaboration between Postdam's Hasso Plattner Institute and Cornell University, enables users to reprint just the flawed portion of their prototype.
Developers submit models of the original prototype and the fix using custom software. The program identifies the changes, then a 3D scanner and milling component remove only a portion of the original prototype. The standard printer then crafts the altered design to replace it.
Scientists say the process would save manufacturers both time and money, since they wouldn't need to waste plastic by printing an entirely new product.
SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?
The market for 3D printing and scanning was already projected to quadruple between 2013 and 2019. Could this new technology allow for even faster growth? Could it benefit other manufacturing applications?
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