Monday, 8 May 2017

Yet another 3D printing App!

Oh gosh another app to connect engineers and designers with 3D printing bureaus. Still peddling the 3D printing hype, now with a rambling message conflating additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping and all projected into a dreamy future.
Allegedly engineers do not know if their parts are printable. They need an app to check their parts, to fix them and then to tell them what material to use and who should print it.
In these days, before AI finally saves us from our own innate idiocy, it is usually best not to expect help from an app. If engineers really need help then it is best to speak to real people with real experience. Automated file fixing procedures are very unreliable and can lead to all manner of unfortunates being printed.
Not only can people advise on printability and appropriateness of materials they can also advise on how to optimise files for cost. An app will not turn around and suggest you hollow the part, make it in parts, nest parts or simply reorient the part to reduce costs. It would be very easy to pay over the odds through an app.
Phone around some bureaus, ask the usual questions. Will this work? Is there a better way to do it? Is there a way to do this for less? Bureaus are in business to build trusting relationships with their customers and to build their reputation generally. Apps have nothing at stake on each job they process except the percentage they take.
Apps are seductive. They give the impression that everything is going to be easy, everything has been thought through. Its pure snake oil.

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