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Additive Manufacturing 1 ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

Additive Manufacturing for the Individual Consumer Brooke Dickie Glen Allen High School

Additive Manufacturing 2 Introduction Additive manufacturing, colloquially known as 3D printing, has become something of a craze in engineering. This technology has taken off in research, and recently it has expanded to the industrial realm. Now, much research and experimentation is being done to develop 3D printers and associative design programs for personal consumer usage. There are two types of 3D printing; additive and subtractive, though this research will primarily be focused on the former as it is more efficient and less wasteful, making it the better technology for widespread use. According to the American Society for Testing and Materials, additive manufacturing is a process by which digital 3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material (as cited in Additive manufacturing: For the technology-interested, n.d.). The process, called selective laser sintering, is as follows: a laser sintering device applies a thin layer of raw material in either particle or liquid form to the building platform, a laser beam fuses the powder according to a computer-generated design, which functions as a digital blueprint, then the platform is lowered and the process is repeated, as shown in Figure 1 (Additive manufacturing: For the technology-interested, n.d.). While this process of additive manufacturing is well developed, is it feasible to have additive 3D printers for widespread personal use? The following review will assess the progress and improvements in 3D printing and both the advantages and drawbacks to its widespread use, then conclude with analysis of its potential in future consumer economy. The Progression, Advantages, and Drawbacks of Additive Manufacturing Industry has recently turned to additive manufacturing as a more cost effective way to produce their manufactured goods. Jennifer May (2013) reported on General Electrics massive initiative to produce thousands of fuel nozzles for an aircraft engine using additive

Additive Manufacturing 3 manufacturing, rather than the traditional method of casting and welding the metal. Additive manufacturing has seen a great amount of action among entrepreneurs and small businesses, but GEs use is seen as a major milestone where the technology could have its most significant impact (May, 2013). GE has bought several companies which specialize in additive manufacturing and invested nearly $4 billion (Catts, 2013) into an initiative which incorporates this technology into their factory floor by using 3D printing to manufacture 75,000 of the nozzles in three years (May, 2013). This process uses less material than conventional techniques, creating a higher profit and lighter product. It is also more efficient because it is a faster process than carving and soldering, and the printers are able to run around the clock. Now that the cobaltchromium alloy has proved to be a success, GE engineers are experimenting with a wider range of metal alloys as well (May, 2013). GEs nozzles are the first test of whether or not additive manufacturing is ready to revolutionize the manufacturing of complex products. However, the massive industrial printers which General Electric uses to produce thousands of metal nozzles are extremely different from the desktop printers engineers are striving to produce in an affordable and effective manner. In an article published in 2013, Oxford explains a new machine known as RepRap (which stands for self-replicating rapid prototyper) invented by Quentin Harley, a South African engineer (Oxford, 2013). It is a desktop printer, which Harley intends to sell in easy-to-construct kits for just over $100, a relatively low cost compared to off-the-shelf models (Oxford, 2013). Harleys RepRap design is a revamped version of the original model created in 2005 by Dr. Adrian Bower (Oxford, 2013). Harleys design is unique in that its laser sintering print head is mounted on a jointed arm, which gives the model a wider range of motion and creates more accurate printing than past models. Harley believes that, with the advances made from his invention, 3D printing has finally moved into a stage where it

Additive Manufacturing 4 can be genuinely useful (as cited in Oxford, 2013). This proves that technology is advancing in a way that will make personal printers more easily accessible to the average consumer. In addition to individual engineers research and experimentation, several organizations have been founded in order to encourage and facilitate the development of personal 3D printers. Tryft (2012) describes how the United States federal government has recently set its sights on additive manufacturing by dedicating $70 million to the creation of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). According to Tryft, additive manufacturing is now seen as the key to the future of US economy, and this organization aims to increase competitiveness of US manufacturing on a global market (2012). NAMII is the first of 15 institutions and serves as a proof of concept pilot institution, meaning that it is a preliminary organization created to test ideals and predict the success of familiar institutions in the future. It not only serves to unify industries, universities, and federal agencies around creating and implementing the best technology in the field, but it is also aimed at educating workers in advanced additive manufacturing skills (Tryft, 2012). The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining is the government agency in charge of NAMII, supported by interest from the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy (Tryft, 2012). However, these government agencies are more focused on the industrial value of additive manufacturing and its contribution to the national economy, rather than its use from a consumer standpoint. Similarly, Chen (2012) reviews a smaller scale project known as Fab@School, which is an example of a local organization that focuses on 3D printing in the household. Hod Lipson of Cornell University partnered with Glenn L. Bull of the University of Virginia to create the program Fab@School, which introduces 3D printing to secondary schools (Chen, 2012). The Fab@School project has also created the first homemade printer and is working to make this

Additive Manufacturing 5 technology less expensive and more accessible by designing open-source printers. Open-source printers are typically designed from expired patents whose builders publish instructions of the printers creation online so others may recreate these same printers for a fraction of the cost of the off-the-shelf 3D printers (Johnston, 2011). However, the use of this ingenuity has been hindered by large corporations holding general, over-arching patents. The patents held by large businesses have the ability to squash out the sale of 3D printers from small businesses or personal inventors, making the variety and quality of 3D printers that are available to the public much lower. This gives large corporations a monopoly over personal 3D printers and allows them to severely raise the prices for a lower-quality product. Mark Ganter of the University of Washington expressed his uncertainty over the future of 3D printers when he stated that they're either going to get to the ubiquity of Kinko's, or lots of people are going to have them in their house" (as cited in Chen, 2012). Joshua Pearce and his team of researchers at Michigan Technological University conducted a study to determine the amount of money an average family could save by printing common objects from a desktop 3D printer rather than purchasing retail products (Kelly, 2013). The study used a $575 RepRap printer and selected 20 free designs available online, based on an estimate that the average family would realistically make 20 items a year (Kelly, 2013). Researchers compared how much the object cost to make, primarily the cost of the plastic raw material and electricity, then compared it to the price of similar ready-made models. For example, a showerhead cost 3 cents for the plastic and $2.50 for the electricity, while similar retail models ranged from $8 to $437, depending on the quality (Kelly, 2013). The biggest savings were on items that could be customized, and that was predicted to be 3D printings biggest appeal. The results of the study revealed that printing all the objects took a total of 2

Additive Manufacturing 6 hours and $18, making the average savings around $1110 (Kelly, 2013). This estimated savings did not include the cost of shipping and handling, and the wide range of savings was due to varying prices for different quality retail products. Pearce noted about the results: "It was relatively shocking what the return on investment was. Realistically, it's in the thousands" (as cited in Kelly, 2013). These savings show that the printer would pay for itself in the first year, plus some. 3D printing not only benefits consumers wallets, but also the environment, as pollution and waste from packaging and transportation would be eliminated (Kelly, 2013). Another potential outcome is local stores setting up 3D printers so that consumers can buy cheaper products without having to purchase the printers themselves (Kelly, 2013). The idea of rapid prototyping holds a particularly strong appeal in the realms of engineering and architecture, and Lilli Sherman (2004) further explains the potential use of 3D printers to create early design stage models. When this article was published in 2004, Sherman noted that 3D printer sales had increased by 57.3% in a span of a year. This trend of growth is dramatically outpaced other rapid prototyping systems, whose sales grew by only 2.6% in the same year (Sherman, 2004). 3D printers are best put to use when creating early design and visualization of models, as they allow the developers to see all the facets of the design in the true three dimensions, rather than on a two dimensional virtual screen (Sherman, 2004). Most 3D printers are also able to create models in one-tenth of the time it takes a typical rapid prototyping system to develop the identical object (Sherman, 2004). However, 3D printers are inhibited by model size, quality and printing material, as they tend to fall short in those areas compared to their rapid prototyping counterpart systems. In research and design fields, 3D printers are more applicable to the creation of multiple early models, then rapid prototyping systems take over once the project develops into creating a single, set design. However, in the personal realm, the

Additive Manufacturing 7 widespread use of rapid prototyping systems is neither feasible nor recommended, as their complexity and specific use inhibit them from assimilation into the average citizens life as a commodity. On the other hand, as 3D printing technology becomes more advanced and refined, these machines will become much better suited for in-home desktop manufacturing, especially of customizable products. Finally, an article by Johnston (2011) gives a look at how 3D printing will change the economy in the future, while also explaining some of the major drawbacks to the comprehensive use of this technology. Improvements made to the accessibility of 3D printing include the design programs becoming more user-friendly; some versions are even available as apps for the iPad (Johnston, 2011). However, advances must be made in size, usable materials, and precision before additive manufacturing is ready to be relocated to the home. One major benefit of desktop manufacturing is that it is a design-driven process, which enables design freedom and customizable product, which can be used in both rapid prototyping and serial production (Additive manufacturing: For the technology-interested, n.d.). This freedom for an individual to make products independently and adapt them according to current interest allows for ondemand, one-at-a-time manufacturing (Johnston, 2011). However, this is solely beneficial for products with a high intrinsic value; otherwise the cost of production outweighs the profit from the customized product. One major drawback to a reliance on 3D printers as a staple of the economy and flow of goods is virtual pirating and digital counterfeiting. Because of how easily digital files can be copied, previously secure objects can quickly and easily be counterfeited when the files are stolen and printed illegally (Johnston, 2011). The only way to counteract this piracy movement is to use certain laws and limitations to prevent illegal copying from flourishing and killing industries. However, these regulations may find legal and public

Additive Manufacturing 8 opposition and could potentially harm the trade of digital products. While many advances have been made related to the technology itself, its incorporation into typical consumer use is inhibited by many outside factors ingrained into the US economy. Projection of Additive Manufacturings Future Use 3D printing has been brought into global manufacturing in a big, dramatic way, and in the span of the next 7 years, additive manufacturing is projected to grow into a $10.8 billion industry (Hessman, 2014). Additive manufacturing has burst onto the scene of the industrial world, and engineers and researchers around the globe are working to make this technology a commodity of everyday life. While vast improvements have been made with this technology that show promise of a future of personal printers, inhibitions such as large corporation patents and counterfeiting continue to interfere with additive manufacturing as a reliable foundation of the economy. Additive manufacturing is not presently available for widespread use, yet if 3D printing continues its current trend of improvement, it will become a staple of international economy in the coming decade. After examining expert opinions, it is clear that 3D printers are not currently advanced enough to be a staple of consumer economics. There are many obstacles this technology must overcome before they can be mass produced and sold. One primary concern is the accessibility and ease of use of the compatible digital design programs. There are various computer programs which can be used to design the digital blueprints used to print 3D objects. These programs range from Autodesk to Doodle3D to Sculpteo, designed for hand-held Apple products. The applications required to design 3D printing blueprints are often difficult to use until the user is familiarized with the functions of all aspects of the application. However, this learning curve can be discouraging for the average citizens, deterring them from innovating their own objects.

Additive Manufacturing 9 However, websites have recently emerged which publish free 3D blueprints into an accessible online library. A prime example of this is GrabCAD, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts which has published an extensive library of free computer-aided design (CAD) files (Huang, 2011). This library includes designs for everything from custom furniture to car parts to mobile devices. Recently, GrabCAD has partnered with Autodesk, the leading digital design program for 3D printers (Anderson, 2013). This cooperation allows designers and engineers to share CAD files to customers, who can then access and manipulate the files without heavy software or training involved (Anderson, 2013). Companies and partnerships such as these make the digital design process more accessible to the average consumer, and as the 3D printing industry continues to grow, so will the magnitude of linkage companies which make the technology as user-friendly and intuitive for the user as possible. A 3D printing revolution is not possible without collaboration between these corporations in an effort to simplify the programs for the consumer. However, as the vast network of free files produced by these innovative corporations continues to become more expansive and accessible on the internet, the number of scammers and counterfeiters will also increase exponentially. As Johnston simply put it, If it is digital, it can be copied. If it can be copied, it will be copied (2011). Therefore, the government must implement regulations to curb the piracy which is sure to harm the additive manufacturing industry. However, it cannot implement limitations which are so copious and strict that they inhibit innovation, which is the foundation of the 3D printing revolution. It then stands to reason that the amount and type of limitations the government should place on 3D printing is extremely controversial. The current, and also most debated, patent law imposed on additive manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing 10 is digital rights management, also known as DRM. Essentially, DRM is used to control the use and sale of digital content by making the encrypted digital file available, but selling separately a license which is unique to each user and limits what the user can do with the file (Anderson, 2008). It prevents the copying and sharing of files, and it also controls who can access the specific digital content. These regulations have existed on media files for years, and their effects on the 3D printing industry can be predicted through how it has shaped other digital industries. For example, Apple has developed a monopoly within the music industry because of DRM: Apple is making more money while music majors are making less (Anderson, 2008). However, Apple had to drop DRM in 2009 after consumers complained that their purchased music would not play on non-Apple devices (Regalado, 2012). From this observation of the music industry, it is a safe prediction that the DRM regulations will benefit the large 3D printing companies that own most of the patents while limiting the success of the innovations of smaller organizations and individual engineers. DRM was specifically created for the digital media industry, and as Michael Weinberg of the nonprofit organization Public Knowledge pointed out, nothing says manufacturers have to use DRM (as cited in Regalado, 2012). Copyright laws such as DRM are traditionally only applicable to digital files, not objects. In order to apply the principles and regulations set forth in DRM, Nathan Myhrvold, the former CTO of Microsoft and current president of Intellectual Ventures, issued a broad patent preventing users from printing objects from digital designs they have not purchased (Regalado, 2012). The purpose of this patent is to prevent the abuse of object protection rights, and it is based on the theory that the design files which provide the blueprint for the object are digital (Whitwam, 2012). Myhrvolds patent could effectively shut down peer-to-peer file sharing sites such as GrabCAD and Shapeways, or force the company to

Additive Manufacturing 11 charge for the digital blueprints and give the designers who posted the file a portion of the profit. The patent also limits the sale of printers from smaller companies that cannot buy in to the patent. The companies that sell printers are claimed to provide peer-to-peer sharing software, therefor the sale of the printers themselves can also be limited by DRM (Whitwam, 2012). This will prevent many small companies and individual engineers from selling their models and gives the patent-approved printers from larger companies a monopoly over the 3D printing industry. This drives prices up because companies such as MakerBot, who sells their Replicator 2 desktop printer for $2,199, will be the only manufactures able to sell their models (Regalado, 2012). This prevents inventors such as Quentin Harley from selling his $100 RepRap kit (Oxford, 2013). This lack of competition in the 3D printing market will drive up prices, making printers even more unavailable to the average citizen. While the vast community of engineers and tinkers alike continues to make improvements on additive manufacturing machines time, complexity, size, and efficiency, regulatory controversies are preventing an imminent 3D printing revolution. Piracy and the illegal downloading of files is a major concern now that 3D objects are being constructed digitally. To combat these issues of counterfeit goods, digital rights management regulations and the Myhrvold patent have been put into place, though their existence could become more of a hindrance than a protective measure. Before 3D printing is feasibly ready for widespread consumer use, these digital file regulations must be further developed and refined in a way that is conducive to a competitive capitalist market.

Additive Manufacturing 12 References Additive manufacturing: For the technology-interested. e-Manufacturing Solutions. Retrieved from Anderson, G. (2013, July 1). GrabCAD partners with Autodesk. ArcticSetup. Retrieved from Anderson, R. (2008, April 14). Copyright and DRM. Security engineering: Second edition (pp. 679-726). Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing. Catts, T. (2013, November 27). GE Turns to 3D Printers for Plane Parts. BloomburgBusinessweek. Retrieved from Chen, A. (2012, September 17). 3-D printers spread from engineering departments to designs across disciplines. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from Hessman, T. (2014, January). Technology: Whats next for 3-D printing?. IndustryWeek. Huang, G. (2011, August 23). From Estonia to Boston: GrabCAD looks to play big role in New Englands tech future. Xconomy. Retrieved from Johnston, P. (2011, October 11). 3-D printing: The future comes round again. The Seybold Report, 11(19), 5-9. Kelly, H. (2013, July 31). Study: At-home 3-D printing could save consumers thousands. CNN. Retrieved from

Additive Manufacturing 13 LaMonica, M. (2013, April 23). Additive manufacturing. MIT Technology Review, 116(3), 59. Retrieved from Ofxord, A. (2013, June 18). Will this $100 RepRap be the device that takes 3D printing to the masses?. ZDNet. Retrieved from Regalado, A. (2012, October 11). Nathan Myhrvolds cunning plan to prevent 3-D printer piracy. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from Sherman, L. M. (2004, August). 3D printers lead growth of rapid prototyping. PlasticsTechnology. Retrieved from Tryft, A. (2012, November). 3D printing stars in manufacturing initiative. Design News, 67(11), 34. Whitwam, R. (2012, October 16). How DRM will infest the 3D printing revolution. ExtremeTech. Retrieved from

Additive Manufacturing 14 Appendix Figure 1.