Realizing this is the 3rd post in a row on 3D Printing and it’s uses, I do apologize. But I can’t help but get excited about how excited everyone else is exited about 3D Printing.
The juices are flowing (NASA Uses 3D Printing to Build a New Breed of Aircraft), and technology is improving (Stratasys & Worrell Accelerate Medical Device Development with 3D Printed Injection Molds), investments are increasing (Autodesk Announces $100M 3D Printing Investment Fund). If 3D Printing becomes the next generation of manufacturing, turning my dreams of a Star Trek replicator into reality, then we better have good processes and modeling practice to define and document our 3D designs in 3D-only space.
We need to make 3D MBD Models that are exactly representative of the 3D product, because we will be directly manufacturing from that 3D data set. We call this capability MBD (Model-Based Definition) and we call the process to implement it Model-Based Engineering (MBE). However, call it whatever you like, just please start doing it!
Stratasys put together a nice white paper to explain use cases of DDM (Direct Digital Manufacturing). Check it out: Direct Digital Manufacturing – What it is and how it works – White Paper