The crucial aspect of designing and making anything, is understanding the cost implications of selecting different materials and technologies.
For many years designers have been trying to achieve their heart’s desire through the liberating technology of 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing. In many instances they have been throwing these designs against
the cost wall to see if they stick. Without a full understanding of the cost drivers of the process, most of these bounce. When they bounce, it is easy to regard SLS as too expensive or unproductive, when in reality it is simply that the characteristics of the design do not correspond to the economic capacity of the technology. Knowing what AM can make is step one. Understanding what is worth making is step two.
Jonathan’s experience is in understanding the cost drivers involved in using SLS and how it is not intrinsically expensive. This simply requires an understanding of what effects cost and then how to design within these considerations in order to maximise value. These boundaries should not be regarded as constraints. They actually assist any designer looking to produce objects with SLS, as they provide a creative framework within which to start conceiving objects that extract high value from the technology.
An exciting prospect for further increasing the value of SLS in a production context is EOS’s forthcoming “Laser Pro Fusion“ technology.
A 3D printed COVID 19 protective visor designed and produced by Additive
2 Part Bird Box - produced by Digits2Widgets
Jonathan Rowley collaborated with Martin Baumers of The University of Nottingham and Matthias Holweg of the University of Oxford on a research project investigating the Economics of 3D Printing with SLS