3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using additive processes, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material. 3D printing is considered distinct from traditional machining techniques which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting and drilling.
We are entering a new phase of manufacturing driven by low cost 3D printers, and easy to use 3D modeling software like Sketchup.
Any tech savvy tinkerer can use Sketchup to design 3D drawings of a part of, or entire product, and with low cost 3D printers like Makerbot, they can print their 3D products in a variety of materials ranging from plastic to metal.
3D printing companies like Shapeways, CloudFab and Thingverse stepped up to provide low cost 3D printing services for 3D makers. These companies range in size from startup Thingverse to publicly traded companies like Stratasys and 3D System.
However only a handful have seen the value of APIs when it comes to 3D printing an manufacturing. Current 3D Printers are using web APIs for importing, exporting and the general portability of 3D Modeling files. They are also enabling users to build custom 3D Models through variable data and dynamically assembling from 3D parts and pieces.
3D printing, with the help of web APIs are moving beyond hobby and art, and have serious potential for re-defining the global manufacturing landscape.
There are several platforms focusing on providing APIs for 3D printing. In this section I will be tracking on news and companies that are doing interesting things around 3D printing and APIs, while also sharing blog analysis as well.