Yes, it is true that even today, so many years after 3D printing started to garner attention and acclaim, rapid prototyping remains the single most common use for 3D printers. 3D printers offer the innovator advantages in the form of shorter turnaround times, improved development secrecy and greater design freedoms. But…it is also true that 3D printing isn’t going to remain as a tool for primarily rapid prototyping for much longer.
If you’ve tracked some of the hot topics in engineering over the last year, you’re likely very aware of 3D printing or additive manufacturing. This method lays down successive layers of plastic or metallic material that then fuses them together. Over time, those successive layers add up to make fully formed components...
The automobile business spends a year or two designing a new vehicle, then another year or two building tools to produce it in high volumes. Local Motors has turned that paradigm on its head with its Olli, the self-driving, electric shuttle.