I have been following this tech on and off for a while. It is quite exciting, but it is to be used only for prototyping, especially at this stage. The materials available are not stronger than what BMW molds its part out of. If you made an expansion tank from a 3D printer right now, it would blow up. If they ever figure out how to print composite materials, then we may be on to something. Right now, as I said before, this is only useful for engineering prototyping. It is incredibly usful for that. You can print a part design and test fit it, then have the real part machined. It eliminates that intermediate money waste of machining a part or making a mold for a single part and having it fail to work. The accuracy is also of concern. Due to the nature of plastics, tolerances are at minimum several thousandths. This is absolutely fine for some parts (most plastic parts have quite loose tolerances), but for precision work, only metal machining or molding can acheive the proper results.
Last edited by WDE46; 12-07-2012 at 11:22 AM.