Digital manufacturing “consists of the use of an integrated and computer-assisted system made up of simulation tools, 3D visualization, analysis and collaboration” which, together with 3D printers, uncovers a universe of possibilities that we will soon have within our reach. As we already announced in a previous post, “we are aware that 3D printing is going to transform the model production worldwide, and the promise that it reaches every home is getting closer to being fulfilled, making consumers also producers of customized objects”.
We are seeing how Manufacturing Laboratories, also called Fab-Labs, are beginning to proliferate, where anyone can use digital technologies to design, make or repair the products they want. An example of this is the FabLab of the University of Deusto or the FabLab de Sant Cugat, a center open to the public that brings together the “maker culture” under the idea that everyone is capable of carrying out any task instead of hiring a specialist to carry it out (” do it yourself” or Do It Yourself (DIY)), offering the possibility of using design software, 3D printing machines, laser cutting, cnc or an electronics laboratory with the advice of a specialized technical team.
One of the main limitations is the technological gap and it is that the general public perceives this technology as an industrial production tool or highly specialized enough to be used daily. However, one of the companies in the functional area of Donostia (Tumaker), has echoed this situation and has launched a new project (< a href="https://www.voladd.com/es/">Voladd) which is based on having a catalog of predesigned products on the internet, so that any user can access them, download them and produce at home as if it were Netflix. There are also other tools available that allow you to reuse the materials used by a 3D printer, such as Filabot. This would allow “unlimited” use of plastic materials, a practice that would be very useful for schools, for example.
Digital manufacturing is set to become one of the catalyst elements of the transition towards a circular economy where waste elements are used in new products with economic value, that is, recirculating them to the life cycles through remanufacturing, repair and rehabilitation and inserting them back into the economy.