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The Future Of 3-D Printing

Mechanical engineering professor Christopher Williams (right) works with a student in the DREAMS Lab at Virginia Tech. (Jim Stroup/Virginia Tech)
Mechanical engineering professor Christopher Williams (right) works with a student in the DREAMS Lab at Virginia Tech. (Jim Stroup/Virginia Tech)

3-D printing has been hailed as the technology that will revolutionize the business of manufacturing — and education, medicine and space. This past year has been a hot year for the technology.

For the first time, NASA used a 3-D printer on the International Space Station — it calls this an initial step toward providing an on-demand machine shop capability away from Earth.

There have been new advances in printing food, as well as veins and organs for human transplantation. And the cost of a home 3-D printer has dropped significantly. Yet, 3-D printers still seem a ways away from truly going mainstream.

Christopher Williams, director of the Design, Research and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems (DREAMS) Laboratory at Virginia Tech, told Here & Now‘s Lisa Mullins that one of the most exciting aspects of 3-D printing is “allowing to make and make easily and allowing anyone to design and share information.”

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