Chapter 17

Ten Examples of Direct Digital Manufacturing and Personalization

Additive manufacturing isn’t a futuristic technology; it’s already in place and in use across many industries. Created for rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing has steadily migrated into direct digital fabrication of consumer products. As material options expand and the complexity of 3D-printed objects increases to include integrated mechanical components and electronics and enhanced structural designs, a broader spectrum of products can be manufactured directly from electronic files and raw source materials. This chapter discusses ten examples of this type of direct digital manufacturing.

Producing 3D-Printed Food

Cornell University and other research sites are exploring 3D-printed foods such as vegetable wafers and meat pastes. Under a NASA grant, a small company in Austin, Texas, is working on a 3D printer that will use materials from long-shelf-life powders, suspended oils, and water to create pizzas that will cook to completion on the heated build plate of the printer. Future astronauts will depend on such systems to prepare food during long-term travel to Mars and beyond. Other researchers are demonstrating the use of lab-grown meat cells to create 3D-printable hamburgers and steaks that don’t require raising and feeding animals. These developments will start to provide alternative options for food production and could significantly improve animal welfare and overall food quality. Also, this ...

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