3D Printing took another turn on the fashion run way.  The revolutionary technology was on display at the 2016 Met Gala "Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology." The gala showcased new clothing inspired by myriad technologies; among them, 3D printing was prominently featured. Additive Manufacturing, another term for 3D printing, is a fashion designer's choice to enhance and support the unique geometry of garments. There is a variety of applications though, from remote controlled clothing to printable fashion.

AuthorRenee Eaton

A recent Forbes article described a PwC report that detailed 7 ways manufacturing firms confide 3D printing helps thembecome more competitive.  They argue:

  1. Increasingly (71.1%), responding companies use the the technology for prototypes and final parts.
  2. Over half believe its use will be expanded to include high-volume production within 5 years.
  3. Surprisingly, only a quarter predict Additive Manufacturing will disrupt their supply chains in the short term.
  4. Almost 53% feel 3D printing will gain a greater foothold in the parts/products after-market.
  5. A majority (64%) anticipate Additive Manufacturing will be used to reproduce obsolete components.
  6. Of those organizations that already use 3D printing, more than half believe their peers will adopt the technology within 5 years.
  7. Firms continue to believe that technology costs and qualified labor shortages will slow greater adoption of 3D printing use.

To learn more about how additive manufacturing can help your company, contact RapidMade.

Congratulations to our colleague  Anouk Wipprecht on her recognition by All3DP.com as 1 of the 30 most influential women in 3D printing.   It is inspiring to see so many accomplished female professionals using additive manufacturing is so many novel ways including research, fashion, medicine, education and art.

Anouk is a designer and artist who specializes in "electronic couture" 

She has worked with Black Eyed Peas, SuperBowl, Eurovision, as well as Audi, Volkswagen and more. Famous 3D printed incarnations include the Smoke Dress and Spider Dress. She is also curator of the TECHNOSENSUAL ‘Where Fashion meets Technology’ exhibition.

As Pittsburgh natives, we've been awaiting the Opening of GE's New Additive Manufacturing Facility there.  The Grand Opening was earlier this week.  Officially named the Center for Additive Technology Advancement (CATA), the plant is officially located southwest of the city near the airport in Findlay Township.  The move symbolizes GE's belief that improving the speed and effectiveness of additive manufacturing will give it a strategic advantage.  Just "down the road" from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh - Hail Pitt - perhaps GE will collaborate with these schools on AM research.

According to Business Wire, 

The new facility represents a $39 million investment over three years and will result in the creation of 50 high-tech engineering jobs initially, in disciplines ranging from mechanical and electrical to systems and software engineering. This is GE’s first multi-modal site in the U.S., designed as an innovation hub offering training and development in both design and applications.

Having lived through the repeated Pittsburgh-based plant closings of the 80s and 90s, personally we're hoping this is just the beginning of a bright, high-tech renaissance for SW Pennsylvania.  

We've blogged before about firms that are using 3D printing to help the visually impaired "see."  Innovative individuals and businesses have found unique ways to enhance the aesthetic, educational, and medical experiences of people with different levels of blindness.

In Helsinki, designers are 3D printing replicas of famous works of art so that they can be touched and experienced in a way like never before; objects can now be handled by visually impaired students so as to better understand concepts in their education.

A doctor in New Zealand has applied this technology to create an affordable medical device that can help examine patients’ eyesight and diagnose conditions that can be treated and prevented.

In this one field of medicine we in turn can see a global effort to make lives better through 3D printing and its versatile array of applications.

We've blogged before about ventures that have involved 3D printing houses.  Now, UCLA researchers are working on a 3D printing process that allows them to reuse captive carbon dioxide as an ingredient in cement.  They call their revolutionary material CO2NCRETE.

Now that they've identified a process that works, the team is thinking about how to scale up and commercialize it so the 3D printed CO2NCRETE can be marketed and sold:

We know how to capture the carbon. We know how to improve the efficiency. We know how to shape it with 3D printing, but we need to do all of that at the lab scale now, and begin the process of actually increasing the volume of material and then thinking about how to pilot it commercially,” states DeShazo, who has been responsible for providing ‘public policy and economic guidance’ in terms of this research.

Maybe someday, the 3D printed cement can be used to 3D print those houses.


Story after story illustrates the power and popularity of 3D printing in the medical field.  Fueled by the ability to customize solutions to specific patients, providers are using the revolutionary technology to create and improve a range of medical devices, surgical guides, designer drugs, and body implants.  The wide adoption of health-related additive manufacturing initiatives has left the FDA scrambling to respond.  In late October, 2014, RapidMade participated in an FDA-sponsored forum of stakeholders to discuss their concerns and consider best practices.  Since then, it appears that the FDA has backed away from implementing industry-wide regulatory guidelines and instead chosen to review and decide each product on a case-by-case basis using existing 510K and emergency use regulations.  

At least one source, Maya Eckstein, argues the current tactic does not sufficiently address an ever-increasing number of issues that are surfacing...

Unanswered questions include:

How will FDA treat non-traditional device “manufacturers,” such as hospitals?
Will FDA regulate 3D printers as medical devices? Or, will FDA only concern itself with 3D-printed products?
Will a manufacturer’s sharing of its design files for a 3D-printed product constitute promotion of the product? If so, will manufacturers be obliged to share risk information whenever they share design files?
When will FDA consider a 3D-printed device to be a “custom device”? Will such 3D-printed custom devices be exempt from premarket approval requirements and mandatory performance standards?
How will FDA execute its inspection program? How will quality systems and good manufacturing practice requirements be applied to the 3D printing of drugs and devices?

Another unknown is whether the FDA will attempt to regulate non-profit organizations like e-NABLE which use a network of unregulated makers to print and distribute low-cost prostheses to needy children and adults.

Clearly the key will be providing enough regulatory oversight to ensure patient safety without becoming overly bureaucratic and cumbersome.