Education and Training News
July 29, 2016
Every new piece of technology is only as valuable as its use and applications allow. Using augmented reality (AR) as an example, the industry has generally had minimal luck in convincing the general public that AR is more than a gimmick, regardless of its potential. Then came Pokemon GO, and suddenly everyone is interested in an AR application, and the company that figured out how to capture that attention is raking in the rewards.
By this point, additive manufacturing (AM) has at least entered public consciousness. It isn’t as popular as Pokemon GO, but it does share some of the potential of AR. The biggest obstacles for a more widespread adoption for 3D printing remain price, ease of use and education. 3DPI, a new website created by the University of Melbourne, offers a broad base of knowledge and information for AM newcomers and may be of interest to old hands as well.
You can find plenty of how-to websites dedicated to 3D printing, but many of them were built by people with good intentions rather than best practices. 3DPI is a clean, easy-to-navigate site that sticks to online best practices like glue. Each section of the site offers simple instructions, or provides links to additional information.
“Your Rights and Responsibilities” is perhaps the most useful area for users who already have a basic understanding of how AM works. This page is a series of FAQs on everything important to know about 3D printing that isn’t directly related to the mechanical process. Topics covered include safety, how AM interacts with society and, perhaps most importantly, 3D printing and law.
As noted several times on Rapid Ready, the interaction between laws covering issues such as intellectual property (IP), copyright, patents and designs as they relate to 3D printing is still somewhat murky. An aggrieved party is often unsure about who to contact to redress a problem, and the form that redress might take.
3DPI explains the basics of how current international laws work, and how those laws might apply to AM. Regardless of the fact that the site is based on Australian law, much of what is reported translates directly to any part of the world that respects IP and copyright. The information presented is probably the best and easiest to follow explanations of the intricacies involved that can be found without serious research.
3DPI also contains a ton of links to additional information on everything from digital design to general AM knowledge. Users are directed to sites like Thingiverse for downloadable designs, or 3D Hubs for help with what printer to buy. In short, AM needs more websites like 3DPI to inform and educate the growing 3D printing community.
Below you’ll find a video about some of the complexities involved with AM and potential piracy.