3D Printing Technology

Today, tools are changing in a number of ways that are tranforming the future of manufacturing. Old-school engineers worked with lathes, drills, stamping presses, and moulding machines. While these still exist and are used, today, most engineers sit in front of computer screens. Instead of bending, cutting, and shaping material in traditional ways, 3D printers build things by depositing material, layer by layer, a process that is sometimes referred to as "additive manufacturing." Manufacturing matters, but in today's world, the jobs have somewhat changed.
 
3D printers can be used for a wide variety of things from prototyping, to making your own household objects, clothes, and in some cases, being able to print out most of the components needed to make another 3D printer. 
 
The printer is controlled by a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) program that tells where it has to go to deposit the plastic in each layer of the part. The CAM gets the information it needs from a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program that has been uploaded into it. The printer converts the CAD information into layers by slicing it up into small layers and writing out commands that the 3D printer will understand.
 
Today's manufacturing has the capability to continue to become more efficient, thanks to automated machines, smarter software, robot's, online services, 3D printing, and the transition to digital manufacturing. 
 
In the April 21, 2012 edition of The Economist, the transition to this type of manufacturing is deemed as the "Third Industrial Revolution." The video below offers the Economist author's perspective on the changes in manufacturing and what it means to the future. "Manufacturing revolutions never happen overnight, but this one is well underway."
 
Personal fabrication technology (Fab@Home - Make Anything) is an open source that is designed to "change the way we live. It is a platform of printers and programs which can produce functional 3D objects. It is designed to fit on your desktop and within your budget. Fab@Home is supported by a global, open-source community of professionals and hobbyists, innovating tomorrow, today."