For me, it's 3D printing, as it's a manufacturing process that is additive, as opposed to subtractive, which is how we have been doing things since man started making stuff. Plus, the technology is freely available to everyone!
Tools continue to improve over time, as do most other areas of interest. There's always something new, whether an implement or a technique, coming down the proverbial pike.
What do you think is the most interesting new tech?
3D Printing is pretty neat. I have done a few pieces for model car tires and wheels. I modeled these full scale then I scale them down for 1/24th, 1/16th, 1/12th, etc. here are some screen shots of the models and actual parts I have in hand.
These are 275/40-17 and 345/35-18 Pro-Touring style tires.
The printed tires.
The black ones are a cheaper material. The clear ones are Ultra detail frosted ABS. The detail, even this small, is incredible!
Interesting that we've all zeroed in on the same tech. I had 3D printing in mind when I wrote the post.
Mark, your model wheels have really got me thinking. I know that it's possible to print in metal, but I wonder if magnesium alloys are yet available? Anyone who could print full-scale Halibrand sunburst wheels would have Cobra kit builders lining up with their wallets out. Cast originals are like dragons' teeth (and very pricey), while the various replicas available are all not right in one way or another.
Paul Jones (05-06-2015)
We're also witnessing a broader trend towards easier repeatability of DIY manufacturing. Once somebody makes a 3D printed part, or machines something at home with a unit like BoXZY or the Nomad CNC Mill, they can make the files necessary for creation available over the web, which makes it even easier for someone else to do the same.
Not just for plastics and metals, but for food and drinks too. Some of the newer machines seem a bit gimmicky (like the Foodini 3D Food Printer), while others are more promising, like the PicoBrew Zymatic beer maker.
3D printing is nowhere near as strong as a cast or billet machined part. There is no way a 3D printed wheel would live under even normal street driving rigors.
Think of the printed part like one of those layered biscuits your wife makes for dinner. The layers are not really attached to each other. Think how that would come apart under any sort of stress or side load. 3D printing is an excellant tool for making proto-type models and checking designs and making model parts such as I am doing but it will not revolutionize the auto parts industry.
Even the parts I am doing need to be resin cast to make them affordable. Look at the clear tires I modeled, it cost me 12 dollars to have each of those parts printed. The 3D printing is cool but there are many limitations.
Thanks for the good info. 3D printing, while fascinating, is an area in which I'm still lacking any hands-on experience. I'll need to rectify that later this year once my car project is finished.
Great biscuit analogy! So, the takeaway is that my wife shouldn't bake any high-stress components…
I've got to believe that the tech will continue to develop, eventually reaching the point where the layers will be sufficiently fused as to render the resultant part full-strength. Someday…
Speaking of 3D printing, here's a heartwarming application of the technology...
Blind mother-to-be surprised with 3D-printed ultrasound
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