Our editors get asked that question a lot. I remember decades ago that Bill Gates predicted a time in the future when every desk in the world—office and home—would have a PC on its surface. Lots of folks chuckled at the Microsoft executive, believing his soothsaying was merely self-serving. They stopped chuckling long ago.
Could AM be headed down the same path as the PC? Could the average Joe and Jane one day have an AM machine of their own to make their own trinkets, toys, and various other do-dads? I thought so for a time, until my colleague Pete Zelinski disabused me of the notion. “The CAD know-how needed to use AM well is beyond the grasp of your average consumer,” he cautioned.
Pete is the editor of Additive Manufacturing magazine, a sister publication of Plastics Technology that some of our subscribers have been receiving on a quarterly basis as a supplement (both magazines bagged together). Our parent company, Cincinnati-based Gardner Business Media, has big plans for Additive Manufacturing that will ultimately result in it becoming a standalone publication. This will take about a year as Gardner develops the qualified/request circulation database necessary for the magazine to stand on its own. So for next year, some PT subscribers will continue to get AM as a quarterly supplement.
But we have already retooled the website, and, through the efforts of AM, PT, and various other publications under the Gardner umbrella, we will be devoting more content to this subject next year. Check out the website, and while you’re there, click on the Subscribe button to make sure you’re on the list to get the print issue, digital edition, and AM’s monthly newsletter.
So where is additive manufacturing headed and why should you—particularly if you’re a molder—care? I’ll let Pete Zelinski weigh in: “Additive manufacturing is destined to take its place as a standard, accepted manufacturing process alongside molding. How quickly this will occur is still among the unknowns. But for molders, additive manufacturing offers them a chance to move into an altogether different area of part production. This can be generally categorized as either highly complex parts or parts that require low volumes. Moreover, a molder that has additive manufacturing technology will be in the position to offer yet another set of ideas and solutions to its customers.”
Concerning the publication under his charge, Pete notes that a molder who subscribes to Additive Manufacturing magazine will be able to “keep in touch with its rate of growth and see how others are succeeding—and struggling—with the technology.”
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