Temporal Dimensions

The final dimension of additive manufacturing is the temporal regime, which affects both the fabrication process and the resulting product behavior. In comparison to mass manufacturing methods, current 3D printing techniques are slow, and build trays often require in excess of a day to finish a single part. In contrast, traditional mass manufacturing techniques such as molding, stamping, and casting are carried out in seconds to minutes. Looking toward the future, we expect the temporal dimension to be exceedingly important in new product development and processes.

Printing processes will become much faster in the future and will begin to challenge mass manufacturing techniques because of its inherent advantage in producing complex geometry, customization, and integration benefits, as discussed in the previous sections of this chapter. To achieve higher print speeds, the serial print process (print head) can move faster, print a larger bead size, and/or utilize parallel processes. Unfortunately, resolution is often inversely proportional to speed due to the total tool path length, thus limiting the 3D printing process to slower speeds for detailed parts at scale. However, biology excels in two areas — scale and adaptation — and growth mechanisms offer possibilities for additive techniques that surpass the conventional limits.

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