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Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing

Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman

ISBN: 978-1-118-41694-5 January 2013 320 Pages


Fabricated tells the story of 3D printers, humble manufacturing machines that are bursting out of the factory and into schools, kitchens, hospitals, even onto the fashion catwalk. Fabricated describes our emerging world of printable products, where people design and 3D print their own creations as easily as they edit an online document.

A 3D printer transforms digital information into a physical object by carrying out instructions from an electronic design file, or 'blueprint.' Guided by a design file, a 3D printer lays down layer after layer of a raw material to 'print' out an object. That's not the whole story, however. The magic happens when you plug a 3D printer into today’s mind-boggling digital technologies. Add to that the Internet, tiny, low cost electronic circuitry, radical advances in materials science and biotech and voila! The result is an explosion of technological and social innovation.

Fabricated takes the reader onto a rich and fulfilling journey that explores how 3D printing is poised to impact nearly every part of our lives.

Aimed at people who enjoy books on business strategy, popular science and novel technology, Fabricated will provide readers with practical and imaginative insights to the question 'how will this technology change my life?' Based on hundreds of hours of research and dozens of interviews with experts from a broad range of industries, Fabricated offers readers an informative, engaging and fast-paced introduction to 3D printing now and in the future.

Preface xiii

Chapter 1: Everything is becoming science fiction 1

Chapter 2: A machine that can make almost anything 7

Printing three-dimensional things 11

The ten principles of 3D printing 20

Chapter 3: Nimble manufacturing: Good, fast, and cheap 25

Somewhere between mass production and the local farmer’s market 27

The blank canvas of the 21st century 35

Chapter 4: Tomorrow’s economy of printable products 45

Like ants with factories 46

The experience economy 51

A future economy of printable products 56

Chapter 5: Printing in layers 65

A manufacturing process at heart 65

Two families of printers 68

Cleaning up design files 77

The raw materials 81

Chapter 6: Design software, the digital canvas 85

A word processor for drawing 85

Today’s design software 91

What you design is not (necessarily) what you print 100

The next generation of design software: digital capture 102

Chapter 7: Bioprinting in "living ink" 105

The printer of youth 105

Tissue engineering 111

CAD for the body 120

The future 124

Chapter 8: Digital cuisine 129

Digital gastronomy 130

Feeding the quantified self 142

Processed food 144

Chapter 9: A factory in the classroom 153

Make to learn: Children's engineering 154

Not a national crisis. . . but learning should be enjoyable 161

Now let's see you draw that abstract equation on a graph 166

Barriers to classroom adoption 171

The road ahead 173

Chapter 10: Unleashing a new aesthetic 175

Computers that act like nature 176

Printing wavy walls and custom gargoyles 191

Chapter 11: Green, clean manufacturing 197

A tale of two plastic toys 200

Greener manufacturing 202

3D printing a more beautiful landfi ll 206

Chapter 12: Ownership, safety, and new legal frontiers 217

Printing weapons, drugs, and shoddy products 218

Rip, mix, and burn physical things 224

Exclusivity vs. the freedom to innovate 230

Chapter 13: Designing the future 241

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. 241

A bicycle for our imagination 243

The language of shapes 252

Changing the shape of design tools 260

Chapter 14: The next episode of 3D printing 263

The three episodes of 3D printing 265

Cofabrication of multiple materials 266

Moving from printing passive parts to active systems 271

The final episode—from analog to digital 275

Machines making machines 280

References 283

Index 291