Posts Tagged With: 3D printing

Short Story – “The Weight of the Badge”

Here’s a little something I came up with based on my Tech Update on 3D printing metal. It was also supposed to double as NaNoWriMo practice, but ended up taking longer than I expected when I started to care about making it actually somewhat polished and well-written. All in all, it probably took about 3-4 hours to write and edit the 1000 words here. Hopefully I can improve on that rate for NaNo when I’ll try really really hard not to edit at all. And inevitably fail because I awkwardly enjoy editing…

The Weight of the Badge

Officer Karen Winters pointed her pistol at the rear exit and waited. She tried to steady her trembling hand and brushed a bead of nervous sweat from her forehead. It was her first case outside the office.

Around the front of the small condo she heard one of the other officers knock on the door. “Mr. Kane, please come out. We have a warrant to search the premises.”

Despite the current focus on this house, Karen kept her ears more focused behind her. She had heard the stories about this rundown neighborhood. Drugs, guns, poverty.

Suddenly, a large crash sounded from inside the house. Karen jumped and instinctively pulled the trigger, blasting a hole through the back door. Her partners came running, guns drawn and ready.

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Tech Update – 3D Printing Metal

At this point we’ve had 3D printing of plastic parts around for a while now. You can upload a file from a professional design software and watch a small plastic part get built up right before your eyes! These 3D plastic printers are starting to appear in homes and will probably eventually be as common as a microwave.

Now 3D printing is taking the next step. A consortium of companies called the AMAZE Project have started work on printing metal parts ( “Oh crap… I can’t find the screwdriver AGAIN! That’s okay, let me just print a new one…” That could be a future we are heading towards. Instead of buying things people will be buying raw materials and using 3D printers to build their own things. Customization and innovation will become accessible to the average person and instead of buying a product, you will buy the design file for a product online and then make it yourself. Everyone thinks that they can do things better and without the regulations and cost of typical companies, people will get a chance to see if that’s true. If you just can’t seem to find a pen that fits your hand right, then you could finally get a chance to make the personalized changes you want–you could design and print up a pen casing that is specific to you. There will be so much more individuality and creativity in the everyday things people use. And it will be AWESOME!

There are unlimited other industry applications for this kind of technology, but I will go with an example that is close to home. I have a little bit of experience in the plastics industry and injection molding. In this industry it literally costs pennies to make small plastic parts (depending on material and complexity). Unfortunately, because of this you can only sell the parts for so much. The biggest expense in creating plastic parts is making a metal mold that the plastic forms in and cools in. If 3D printing metal can make these molds cheaper to create then they could significantly cut the cost of injection molding and save it from its biggest competitor… Which, ironically, is 3D printed plastic parts.

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