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Resource Database > Computer Aided Manufacture
Computer Aided Manufacture or CAM techniques and technologies have the potential to revolutionise the way physical products are manufactured. Some of these technologies have been around for quite a few years now. Such an example would be machining simple parts made in a CAD program to later assemble by hand.

Others are relatively new on the scene. 3D printing has been around a while, but has been immature; we're only how starting to realise the true possibilities it offers.

Such manufacturing techniques are inherently compatible with virtual environments. CAD or Computer Aided Design systems which form the basis of all computer aided manufacture are in essence a type of virtual environment creation package, and the two can be blended seamlessly together.

Enter the VR environment, design the item you wish to make there, affix all its attributes and an exact physical copy will be made for you. Theoretically, and increasingly realistically, the very interfaces used to access the VR itself, can be manufactured this self same way.


CAD in a Virtual Environment (0)

Typically computer-aided development of items meant to be physically realised is done in dedicated CAD programs, quite separate from navigable virtual environments. Yet, what if you were to merge the two, or be able to flick back and forth between the two modes of development as required? Each confers sizeable advantages and if you were to have the best of both worlds it may open up whole new avenues for effective CAM.

CAM Methods in Overview (0)

Comparing and contrasting the radically different CAM methods both available and upcoming can be as useful as going into specific details on each one. This is the sort of general overview information you will find here.

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Technical Constraints on Outputting from a VR to a CAM Method (0)

Outputting data from even a dedicated CAD program to some of the newer computer-aided manufacturing methods is not always as straightforward as it may seem. Manufacturers of traditional CAD programs as well as their users have a head-start on figuring out how to interface. If you are adding this sort of capability to your virtual environment, here is that technical information you really need to know.

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3D Printing (3)

This relatively new, and increasingly mainstream method of CAM is perfectly capable of taking any virtual object and creating a physical replica, in a bewildering array of materials according to the type of printer it is. However, things are not always as smooth sailing as they appear, and even when they are, transferring data from a virtual to physical form, comes with new physical constraints of its own.
Linked resource
3D printing failures shared online
Seven catastropic failures are visually depicted by this BBC article. Each failure accompanied by blurb explaining what it was supposed to be, as well as where, and more imprtantly why it went wrong. It serves as a good reminder of how young this technology still is, and how frustrating it can be, for even expert users to produce 3D printed objects successfully with the way things currently stand.

Locally Hosted resource
Home 3D Printing: The movement Starts
Back in January 2007, we took our first look at the fab@home printer: A creation of Hod Lipson and Evan Malone from Carnegie Mellon University in the US, the fab@home was a cheap to make, easy to assemble, home fabricator, capable of printing almost any material into 3D shapes.

The hope of its creators was that it would kick-start the home manufacturing revolution, and we speculated as to the directions this technology might take, as well as touching on projects being planned at the time. Useful as a comparison to how the technology has actually developed.

Linked resource
The Future of Dentistry: 3D Printing and Other Inventions
This article takes a holistic overview look at how modern technologies are reshaping dentistry. Both augmented reality systems and 3D printed prosthetic teeth are covered as well as taking a look at realistically how long it will be for general roll out of these technologies to dentists around the globe.

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Self-Assembling Swarms (2)

A number of different cutting-edge robotic methods of manufacture, self assembling swarms are a little like the ultimate sensor web meets the internet of things. These are starting to become viable manufacturing methods, but it is the projected future of swarm manufacturing which is where things get really interesting.
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Printing Materials (2)

Usually when 3D printing is mentioned, people think of 3D printing in resin, plastic or metal. Yet, there are a far wider range of 'inks' possible, and sometimes quite novel materials are used to give an end-result with intrinsic properties that can be quite sublime.
Linked resource
3D Printing Body Parts and Teeth: What's Next?
An overview of how 3D printed prosthetics are changing dentistry. Covering in overview form, several different technologies for creating teeth: Everything from creating custom bridges to exacting perfection, to creating teeth that kill bacteria in the teeth around them, just by being used.

Linked resource
Have You Heard of the 3D Printed Tooth That Kills Bacteria?
When most people think of 3D printing, they think of the printer using plastic, resin, or maybe some metals. Yet, as this article demonstrates, you can 3D print with almost anything providing it can be reduced to a powder form. In this instance, a 3D printed tooth is made of a resin infused with antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts. This means they exist right through the tooth, and as the outer surface is worn away by use, more and more antimicrobial material is released into the mouth.