The Dimensions of Additive Fabrication

Additive techniques hold the main benefits of shape complexity (internal feature geometry and spatial property distribution), digital control (the ability to repeatedly produce, edit, and tune via a computer), and distributed fabrication (single-machine factories hold the potential for fabrication on-site). However, the three areas often viewed as problematic in 3D printing provide a good analysis framework — with the main focus on the spatial dimension:

Spatial dimension limitations

Can printed objects scale to construction scales and nanometer scales?

Material dimension issues

Will printed objects accommodate multifunctional material properties?

Temporal considerations

How can additive fabrication techniques scale in responsiveness, speed, and sourcing?

Through the exploration of these additive fabrication dimensions, the current benefits and problems surrounding 3D printing will be viewed in a design light. In addition, these directions in additive research will detail the fascinating design potential for users, both new and current. From printing buildings, to making nano-scale machines on your desk, to growing the next synthetically designed biological products — the future is looking strong for additive techniques.

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