Massey University Professor Olaf Diegal, whose speciality is in mechatronics, is helming additive manufacturing as the “next big thing.”
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Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, involves producing a three dimensional object from a digital file. Using a 3D printer, layers of plastic or metal powder are deposited and fused by a laser beam. Whereas traditional manufacturing processes excrete waste when machined down to shape, 3D printing is waste-free.
The process substitutes the skills required to shape a product with computer intelligence, allowing a plethora of products to be created easily according to a New Zealand msn report.
“It’s the next big thing in manufacturing,” began the professor, “because you can create to order and modify the design to suit specific individual requirements, whether it’s for a new set of teeth, a door handle or a piece of jewellery.”
“If someone wants geckos, or flowers, or parts that can move, it will eventually all be possible through the online design software we are working on.”
Diegal predicts within a decade households will have their own 3D printers, which will be used to update or replace personal household items, ultimately preventing the wasted production that occurs when warehouses have left over stockpiles and over-supply.
“It’s the next industrial revolution and it’s going to completely change the way we do things,” he said.
The process is capable of constructing complex designs; Diegal’s intricate guitar designs are testament to the potential of the innovative manufacturing technology.
So far he has produced a range of lattice-bodied guitars using the technique, characterised by butterfly and spider themes, inner wooden cores, necks, tuning keys and strings. Diegal is now selling his guitar range online.