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3D printing the next industrial revolution

April 29, 2013

3D printing the next industrial revolution

3D printing technology is the next industrial revolution – and it’s a technology wave that New Zealand needs to be riding, says Professor of Mechatronics Olaf Diegel.

Professor Diegel, from the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, will examine the current and future applications for 3D printing in a professorial lecture at the Albany campus on Wednesday night.

The lecture series invites the public onto Massey University’s Albany campus to hear the university’s leading thinkers speak.

“To reassure the Honourable Maurice Williamson, the prospect of using 3D printers to create drugs or weapons is remote, and 3D printers, in these cases, present no major advantage over conventional 2D printers or manufacturing. The core part of a gun is the barrel and, if you want a barrel, it’s much easier and cheaper just to buy a conventionally made metal tube than 3D printing one,” he says.

The Customs Minister recently outlined his concerns about the impact of 3D printing technology on border security.

“Advances in manufacturing will allow us to make more useful things like consumer products in which each product is tailor-made to the user ¬— like ergonomic prostheses and implants, clothing, food and even body parts —¬ these are the real focus of this technology. It’s more about promoting innovation, sustainability and reducing waste, because you create only what you need.”

Professor Diegel, who was born in Dunedin, is both an educator and a practitioner of engineering product development. His made-to-order 3D guitars, manufactured under the ODD Guitars label, uses selective laser sintering (SLS) to build the components by spreading a thin layer of nylon powder that is then fused in the correct location for that particular slice of the component.

“3D printing is coming of age. It is now at the cusp of becoming a rapid “manufacturing” technology that will greatly influence the shape of things to come. It’s also a technology New Zealand can focus on to rejuvenate our manufacturing industry, and the fields of engineering, arts and health.”

At the lecture there will be a number of 3D printed guitars and other examples of 3D printed materials.

Event details:
Date: Wednesday May 1, 2013 Time: 6.00 – 7.30 (Lecture commences at 6.30pm)
Venue: Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatres, Albany Campus, Massey University
RSVP: (09) 414 0800 extn: 43885


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