Additive manufacturing (AM) is currently experiencing a renaissance of interest and activity worldwide. For those of us who have been in the field from the beginning, it is reminiscent of the “first hype” in the early to mid-1990s. At that time, the surge in interest started with a few companies and research universities that were engaged in AM, and the interest was confined to users who were intrigued by the novelty and potential. The current wave of interest is much broader. There are several factors that contributed to this. First is the explosion of low-end 3D printers that were adopted by hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers. Two of the earliest manifestations were Hod Lipson's Fab@Home unit and the RepRap Project. The UP! Machine from China and the Makerbot unit in the United States are popular versions of more recent incarnations. The increased societal awareness of these low-cost,...

You do not currently have access to this content.