In 1984, additive manufacturing represented a new methodology for manipulating matter, consisting of harnessing materials and/or energy to create three-dimensional physical objects. Today, additive manufacturing technologies represent a market of around 5 billion euros per year, with an annual growth between 20 and 30%. Different processes, materials and dimensions (from nanometer to decameter) within additive manufacturing techniques have led to 70,000 publications on this topic and to several thousand patents with applications as wide-ranging as domestic uses.
Volume 1 of this series of books presents these different technologies with illustrative industrial examples. In addition to the strengths of 3D methods, this book also covers their weaknesses and the developments envisaged in terms of incremental innovations to overcome them.
Part 1. From Spectacular Applications to the Economic Market of Additive Manufacturing
1. Some Significant Examples.
2. Integration of Additive Manufacturing Technologies into Society.
Part 2. 3D Processes
3. Processes, Machines and Materials.
"We have too often forgotten that specialists are created from amateurs, just as soldiers are made from civilians". [LAT 07]
"In France, strangely enough, it is not those used to sailing the seas, the specialists of the real and tangible, who are asked for advice guiding the flagship, but the members of a caste who stay at port and who, for the most part, have only purely theoretic knowledge of the sea". [BEI 12]
"Technology has taken on a new breadth and organization. Here, I am searching for its specific structure, and I have noticed that it exists as a system, in other words, as an organized whole". [ELL 04]
"Those in the organization who have ideas to do things otherwise or better are divided into two categories: those who do not dare and those who dare. Those who do not dare understand very well the risks and the importance of new ideas, but they are paralyzed by risk taking and the fear of displeasing. Having never tried anything, they have not known failure and are thus unharmed by reproach [.], they are quitters. Those who dare, the innovators, move forward by challenging conventional ideas, organizations, and sometimes procedures. They stir up fears and a lack of understanding and are truly criticized.". [PHI 12]
"Science has largely renounced an interdisciplinary vision allowing the merits of different results to be faced". [THO 83]
"Theory is when everything is known and nothing works. Practice is when everything works and no one knows why. Here, we have united theory and practices: nothing works. and no one knows why!". [EIN 07]
"These creatures of man [machines] are exacting. They are now reacting on their creators, making them like themselves. They want well-trained humans; they are gradually wiping out the differences between men, fitting them into their own orderly functioning, into the uniformity of their own regimes". [VAL 57]
"Speaking of discipline is designating the scientific activity as a particular form of the division of labor in the social world". [FAB 06]
"The imagination is brilliant in that it produces images that enlarge reality and really invent it". [GUÉ 15]
"In cultural terms, no enterprise is built with dreams alone and none without. Action, if it is to be successful, is by necessity guided by practical circumstances. But the goal of any action is defined, implicitly or explicitly, by the deep nature of the human being, his dreams, his vision of life, his culture. The dynamics of life, the challenge of risk and uncertainty, today require from us a new creative effort leading to the reconstruction and to the re-conquest of the notion of progress, which the philosophies and the ideologies of certainty have shuttered almost to the point of destruction". [GIA 90]
"Researching is inventing the world, it is setting new rules of functioning for an ephemeral world. Not like the tyrants who also invent a new world for themselves, but impose it upon others. The researcher does not recreate the world, but rather unravels it to make it. He/She imagines one, then compares it with the real world to clarify it and not to exhaust it. Researching is an endless quest". [ROS 01]
Figure 1. From additive manufacturing to 3D/4D printing
This book (in three volumes) is the result of a demand that has been repeated countless times for different reasons, notably among these, of the oversight and the reminder of the oversight to cite a French school that in 1984 succeeded to patent the first additive manufacturing process, stereolithography, several weeks before the Americans (who were working on the same subject, without either party knowing it). However, at the same time, thirty or so years later, it is a history lesson that can be told about a process concept, tossed out in France, without any malice of course, by "clairvoyant hierarchists", the explosion of the research team who felt their future was blocked and an American technical-economic development which has today led to several books and more than 50,000 scientific publications on additive manufacturing, because consequent applicative markets exist with profitable enterprises (and also because there is an immense attraction field around this subject that conditions the actions of a great number of researchers).
So why have we entitled these three volumes "From Additive Manufacturing to 3D/4D Printing"? First, it was about locally bringing material and/or energy to perform a transformation (e.g. from a powder to a solid or from a liquid to a solid). The expression "additive" then takes on its true meaning. But for a short time now, researchers have been developing (or working on) new processes that allow this change to be avoided through the additions mentioned at the start of this paragraph. It thus becomes possible to create an object in one go. Moreover, the use of so-called "smart" materials authorizes the introduction of a complementary parameter, i.e. time or functionality. The 4D aspect is thereby introduced.
The first volume on additive manufacturing is strongly linked to the existence of an effective economic market, one that is already significant, stemming from technological research in the engineering sciences connected to an essential component, that of materials (and of manipulating them to prepare them for manufacturing). It will take several decades for 3D technology to emerge and find its place as a robust technology for manufacturing objects in quite diverse domains. This situation, linked from the start to a strong attractiveness on the part of industrial R and R&D services, has allowed for "field" experimentation with competent users who are more and more demanding in terms of manufacturing qualities (without seeking in this preface to define what this quality, a true portmanteau, represents). Mastery by users, on the one hand, and competition between the bearers of knowledge pertaining to different 3D printing knowledge, on the other, are translated into new demands to be satisfied. In this framework, this demand has in fact made up one of the driving forces of incremental research, a "technology pull" described in Volume 2 (at least as much as is known (or published)).
A solution is good if and only if the concept, its demonstration with the right people, a culture of industrial innovation, and time and finances effectively come together. Maybe at that time, in 1984, there was a closed system of opinion and self-centered management that had not even thought of a possible debate on futuristic technological openings. This conformity to a manufacturing follower style of thinking was more and more often considered to be obsolete. But there was also, beyond socio-economic milieus, an incredible viscosity with many scientists: the most common attitude was not openness to other explicative schemata, but in the majority of cases, the ignorance and/or refusal to accept their existence. Tricks that only imperfectly fit into our ethics as researchers (at the time) must be made and likely developed.
According to estimation methods, the revenue from additive manufacturing lies somewhere between 5 and 40 billion euros (we could think that this is an estimation of the number of protesters in a claim by the police or trade unions!). Some speak of a revolution and others imagine senseless promises (which, according to Audétat [AUD 15], could put every emerging sector in danger); in short, things are booming at present with seven main stabilized technologies and a new kind of governance (Jeremy Rifkin's "makers"). This appreciative placement of the normalizers into categories is indeed rather artificial. Beyond a recent manufacturing technique that associates computer science and matter, 3D printing, with cheaper and cheaper home machines (down to a few hundred euros), constitutes a paradigm shift that impacts product design (which can even be defined, thanks to "open-source" systems), creation (from heavy industry to one's "garage"), consumption and the business models that result from them (from market activity, a new handicraft and DIY (Do-It-Yourself) to counterfeiting).
In fact, the progression rates are always in the double figures (between 20 and 40% per year), which leads some to believe that the additive manufacturing processes will continue to evolve for a long time to become a widespread technology, as they increasingly occupy ever-new applicative niches, quashing the other manufacturing methods that made up the skeleton of 20th Century industrial manufacturing. But what do tens of billions of euros per year represent for the world relative to France's "small" debt amounting to 2 trillion euros? It is therefore difficult to project a future which leads to a possible hegemony of additive manufacturing; besides, it would be more interesting to explore how intelligent synergies can be implemented with technology that emerged long before 1984. Yet, as is resurfaced in Volume 2, there are spaces, still relatively empty, where an attempt is made to challenge the very concept of adding material to processes.
The early 21st Century is marked by the "hegemonic" presence of the digital transition with the technological and practical complements of additive manufacturing processes likely to affect Western society in a quick and profound way. "In the face of radical innovation markets,...