Sunday, September 30, 2012

National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Printed 3D Cell Phone or Liver anyone?

Thursday [Sept. 27th 2012] I spent some time at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute open house in Youngstown Ohio; Additive Manufacturing is often called 3D printing.

I had a few moments with James Cossler, the head of the Youngstown Business Incubator, before we were interrupted by a cell phone. When I asked if they would be able to print circuit boards he told me they wanted to be able to print a working Cell Phone within four years. He also told me that in four years they wanted to be able take some of your DNA and be able to 'print' replacement organs. [An area of science becoming known as 'Regenerative Medicine'; See Star Trek The Original Series - What are Little Girls Made Of on how this ends badly.] This would put an end to organ rejection during transplants. James also said that there was a machine that could hold 440 different feed stocks on its way.

For more on Developments in Printed Electronics see John Andresakis talk with I-Connect007 Editor Ray Rasmussen about developments in printed electronics. The IPC has made printed electronics a technology priority and John details the progress with standards and technologies in the market.

"Engineered Comestible Meat" (3D printed muscle tissue) has already been purposed to the USDA:

The objective of this proposal is to construct muscle tissues by a novel and versatile tissue engineering technology and to assess their texture and composition for use as minced meat. The patented "print-based" technology has several distinguishing features...

Too much 3D hype, says 3D printing consultant James Snodgrass, comes to mind:

"Additive manufacturing and 3D printing are a poor substitute for conventional manufacturing," said [Todd] Grimm, suggesting that the industry needs to look for the niches where it can offer a unique solution.

"The opportunity lies when you change the game. Stop looking at it as a direct substitute for injection molding or die casting."

Does this mean the tool-and-die shops that drive this region's (Meadville, PA) economy and give this town its "Tool City USA" nickname will become an other ghost-town with high unemployment?

I also hope there is not to much of a 'Can Do' attitude due to the large sums of money being thrown around that leads to tax payer waste. For more on why 'Can Do' is bad see: The Priming of 'Can Do' and the Language of Influence by RISKEX / Dr Robert Long.

An example of waste, or at least poor planing, was while refurbishing an old furniture factory to become the consortium's new home, a wall was removed, a garage-door was put in, the wall was replaced, and then the whole process was repeated a second time, with a larger door, when it was realized that the incoming equipment was to big to fit through the first new garage-door. Largely due to the current Administration's rushing things to get around an obstructionist Congress. [They all, Administration and Congress both, need to go in my personally opinion. When was the last time you were invited to a political 'Party'? We need Statesmen, not partiers! When did our Public Servants, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, become our 'Leaders' anyway?]

I'm hopeful that there will be lots of out-of-the-box ideas that make it into the Real World, and exceptionally thankful that something new and modern has found a home in my own home region for a change.

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