This post is part of our 3D Printing Influencer Series series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Amie D. Dansby, programmer and 3D printing educator who has worked with Marvel Studios, Xbox, and Playstation.
1. What are the top trends you have noticed in 3D Printing?
AD: 3D Printing metal materials, AI, aerospace, agricultural, film, and tv production. If you ever get a chance to visit a film set location, go! I'm mesmerized by the magical world of Harry Potter and had the chance to visit the film set when I was in London. Seeing the process of these sets, props and electronics made the engineering side of me fall in love with the Harry Potter World and allowed me to see how much of an impact 3D Printing had in bringing that world from book to the big screen.
2. What applications for 3D Printing make it a game changer in the tech sphere?
AD: The internet. Jokes aside, I had a mentor tell me that when he was a kid in the 1970's he wanted to learn to program. He would write his code on a piece of paper, send that piece of paper to someone to put the code on a floppy disk, then send that disk to someone that had a computer to run the code. That took 2 weeks to get there and then to debug your program.
✅ The internet has improved how we get our information, from cloud-based CAD and design applications to education.
Rapid prototyping for startups, manufacturing for large corporations and even home hobby 3D rinters which allow someone to repair things in their home or to make costumes for yourself and kids show the many applications of 3D printing. And, the internet connects us to our 3D printers.
3. What is, in your opinion, the industry in which 3D Printing has the greatest disruptive impact?
AD: The future of miniaturization of microelectronics will have an impact in every market from medical, security, to interactive toys. Design software will need to be created for 3D printed parts to include electronics parts and run the simulations.
4. Would you say that the 3D Printing industry is evolving as rapidly as you anticipated, less rapidly, or about as expected? What makes you say this?
AD: On a daily basis, I still get asked questions about how 3D printing works. A lot of people are still unfamiliar with the process, the materials and the cost. However, some areas of the 3D Printing industry surprised me [with their speed of adoption]. My local library even has a little FDM 3D printer, which is awesome because they are providing access and some basic classes to teach how to design parts and 3D print them.
5. What do you see as the most difficult-to-overcome limitations for 3D Printing?
AD: “Can you print me an Iron Man suit of armor?”
There is still software design work that has to be done, taking a 2D image and creating it into a one-click 3D model is still in the far future, but a future that I can see, because everyone should have an awesome 3D Printed suit of armor!
Making parts quickly and accurately from design to post-processing is imperative.
6. What’s the future of 3D Printing?
AD: Medical and biomedical manufacturing are growing fast with the help additive processes. 3D printing embedded electronics will change the need for flat circuit boards. Additionally, over the next few years batteries, power, and the earth will be important for how we live. Everyone has different opinions about how we treat the planet. But, regardless, it's clear why we should care: because we live here.
Finding a way to generate our own sources of power, from 3D printing batteries or solar panels, represents the future of additive manufacturing. And, don't ever underestimate the hobby makers. Their eagerness to learn, share, and make is what makes 3D printing communities so successful.