Unsurprisingly, 2013 was a big year for digital fabrication, as the technology continues to trickle down into the affordable consumer category. Core77 features a three part series in which they address the new machines introduced to consumers (Part 1), materials, processes, and business developments in digital fabrication (Part 2), what designers did with this new technology (Part 3), and research & education (Part 4).
They talk about the ShopBot Tools Handibot, a portable CNC mill that was the Kickstarter digital fabrication success of the year, as well as other machines that made an impact on the design world.
In addition to rise of the machines, Core77 notes that we have also seen developments in materials, processes, and businesses. One of our favorite digital fabrication technologies of the year is Ford’s Freeform Fabrication Technology, which they call the F3T. This new technology allows them to fabricate custom sheet metal parts in a matter of hours for low-volume production applications. To read more about F3T, check out our previous post from July: Advanced Sheet Metal Manufacturing at Ford.
Using these new technologies and processes, designers were able to create some pretty remarkable items over the year – including 3D printed records (see our post on the 3D Printed Record) and clothing (read our post here: How Fashion Designers Incorporate 3D Printing in their Work).
In addition, education has taken on a whole new meaning with the use of this new technology. At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 3D printing has now officially become part of the curriculum. SAIC’s Designed Objects program provided “the first classroom in the world equipped with a class-count of individual 3D printers,” pointing the way towards what will surely become standard kit in future.
It will be interesting to see what new technology 2014 brings and how design will continue to change everyday interactions and lifestyles. You can read more on Core77’s three part series here.