An Ineffective 3D Printing Stunt

By on September 5th, 2016 in coverage

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 Measuring what will briefly be the world's largest 3D print
Measuring what will briefly be the world’s largest 3D print

I’m reading reports of a new Guinness World Record for the “largest 3D print ever”. But this is a pointless exercise. 

Let’s review what happened first. An experimental print made on the “Big Area Additive Manufacturing Machine” at the US Oak Ridge National Laboratory was intended to produce a trim-and-drill tool for use in fabricating components for the Boeing 777x aircraft. 

The print was a complete success, apparently taking only 30 hours to produce in ABS and carbon fiber, whereas the traditional approach would have taken weeks to finish. 

The print demonstrated a potential ability to dramatically improve the production capability of aerospace manufacturers, something everyone wants to see.

How big was the print? 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall (5.3 x 1.7 x 0.5m). That’s definitely quite large. 

But a “record” like this is only going to hold until the next large print takes place.

And that could be very soon, if not done already. As we reported last week, Stratasys’ new Infinite Build 3D Demonstrator is entirely able to blast past this size at any time. The machine is able to 3D print sideways with, theoretically, infinite length. 

 A 4m 3D print by Stratasys, who could easily surpass the record for biggest 3D print
A 4m 3D print by Stratasys, who could easily surpass the record for biggest 3D print

In fact, I’ve seen a massive 4m 3D print from this very machine. If Stratasys so desired, they could easily print an item twice that size, rendering ORNL’s world’s record meaningless. 

There was no need to invoke the busy folks from Guinness on this print; it was bound to be exceeded almost instantly, and appears to be for promotional value only. 

3D printing stunts should not be necessary. Just 3D print a useful object that truly affects an industry, a large group of individuals or society. That’s what really matters, not a reading on a tape measure. 

Via PhysOrg

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!