I can't see this being true at all. The concept modeler that we have has not been: A) quick, B) productive, C) even come close to meeting any of the statments that I've seen on the RPML about this subject. I can build patterns till the cows come home and even when designers tells me it is the final absolute one and that they want it in metal I can bet the farm and know that I will be waxing in errors on geomerty that was not added. For a machine to do noting but produce parts that are "conceptual" in nature does not give the company I work for any advantage at all. We NEED to produce parts that mean something! This is the reality, as the concept modeler (that it seems everybody else would love to have and take anvantage of) sits producing nothing - not even concept models. I'd like to have the money to place (at random) a concept modeler in several companies and see how much they get used after the initial excitement is gone.
It's one thing for everybody to say that there is a place for these machines, but when you have RP in house (or out) there is a relentless pressure to produce parts, the concept becomes part of the manufacturing process and you learn as you go. It would be a wonderful world if we worked at companies that allowed us to build these concept models while sipping our coffee and the pressure was not there. How many of you work in that environment? I have worked at three major companies that have RP equipment and never, not at any moment did the boss come in and say take your time make several parts until the desingers and engineers agree thats what you all like. Every part that we produced at ALL three companies was behind schedual and over budget. The bosses tone was and is more like I NEED IT NOW AND IT HAS TO WORK!!!. Not much room for conceptual manufacturing.
We might want to take thses machines and give them to the CONCEPT DESIGNERS, you know the guys that work in the design centers of the world and let them pop out parts. This is the only place that I see as being of a benifit. Not that it would replace clay or other methods of conceptual design but augment it. These guys may not have the tight manufacturing deadlines that the rest of us do.
Sorry about the spelling but for some reson my spelling checker went bad.
From: Terry T. Wohlers[SMTP:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, July 11, 1997 6:15 PM
Subject: 3D printing
Preston Smith wrote:
> If overall cycle time is important to the business and its profitability,
> and if we really analyze where the time goes today, we are likely to find
> that concept modelers have more time-to-market potential than some of the
> higher precision but slower RP and CNC techniques.
I could not agree with you more. I look forward to reading your new
edition, which is sure to be another hit.
Wohlers Associates, Inc.
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