Move over, laserjets: 3D printers are advancing to the point where engineers are speculating about when they’ll become common household items. A 3D printer creates a physical object based on a Computer-Aided Design (CAD). Capable of very complex forms – from baroque furniture to interlocking chains – this method of rapid production is primarily used for prototypes right now.
The way a 3D printer physically works is by taking a small block of plastic and spitting it out into the shape dictated by its CAD. A UV light is applied to the plastic, hardening it. Computer Numeric Control (CNC) refers to the same process except with metal. This the process used to build the ultra-intricate heat sinks on our American-made LED spot light bulbs, because it’s the only way to achieve the most surface area out of a single piece of heat-dissipating lightweight aluminum.
Imagine being able to turn any shape you can think of into a tangible item – with some keystrokes and a small lump of material. Pretty nuts, huh? It may be decades before everyone has both (1) CAD training and (2) a 3D printer in their home, and when it happens the manufacturing world will be drastically shaken up. But every one of us is already benefiting from the advancement of rapid production, just as consumers. Since prototypes can be built in a matter of hours rather than months, products can be tested and brought to market faster than ever. Saving time saves a significant amount of money for R+D teams, which translates into lower overall costs for the end user.
So when you hold one of our LED PAR lamps with a CNC-made heat sink, you’re not only handling a premium example of “passive cooling” technology, but also the future of manufacturing, coupled with present-day low prices. And robot loogies. You’re kind of handling a robot loogie.