Opinion Article #2


Ricardo José Pereira

27th March 2018

Born in 1982 in Oporto, Ricardo graduated in Industrial Design in 2007 in Lusíada College from Oporto University.
In 2016 he made his brand Mazecreative and he is working as a consultant to several companies and startups, like, WATGRIDAPISTECHNESTOH.GOMES, on product development.  
He has several projects that he invests his free time, like, ProblenderHardware CityEnable the future, etc. 
The personal side, he is very communicative person, passion driven for the communities of open source, ReprapBlender , Maker Moviment, he strongly believes that, you should create your world.

What do you think of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing and its potential?

This question is way too profound to express quickly what I feel towards it. Since I could write a whole dissertation about this subject, basically, I believe the factory will move to people’s houses, “makers”  that can have a deep impact in the consumer market. As an object is created by the person, the object will never reach its end-of-life, since it can be modified during the person’s life and always be in constant evolution.
The human being has always had a symbiotic relationship with creating its own objects, which got lost with the Industrial Revolution and the consumer market. I feel that this technology creates a kind of revival. Not to mention that every 3D printer user I know, uses this technology from simple things to very complex and advanced applications. Also, this kind of additive manufacturing allows the creation of models that cannot be made by mould construction or machining. I guess few people use desktop 3D printers for this purpose but where there is a hacker, there is a creative mind and we should not underestimate these minds.
From a professional point of view, as an industrial designer, I use this technology intensely to develop my concept prototypes. I usually make moulds with 3D printed objects, in a process called polymer conversion. 

What could be done to minimize the barriers 3D Printing faces in its democratization process?

I think that there is still a long way to go but the biggest challenge comes from Education, only a small portion is interested in creating their own objects and make them at home. Another cause in my perspective is that this technology should be faster, we live in a consumer society where people don’t have the patience to wait a couple of hours for their object.
Personal production is very interesting to me as a designer, I feel like products today are too disposable and in this perspective, if we create an object, it will live with us for longer because we know how to maintain it and we form an emotional connection to it, which to me seems important for human beings and also for the environment.
I know that the idea is not to create barriers but I have an important barrier to address: the fact that you can’t mark the polymers we use on our 3D printers and that makes them unviable for recycling. In the case of PLA, the problem is not so big but for Nylon, TPU, PETG, ASA, HIPS, we face the risk of not being able to recycle them afterwards and that worries me a lot.
To minimize this problem for at home personal production, there are multiple communities that have found a way, the maker community is one of them. With tools like Instructables, a website from Autodesk which promotes the instruction manual for the creation of objects or hacks. Maker Faires, in my perspective have a role in the promotion of the Do it Yourself (DIY) amongst children, which I think is essential to break down this barrier.

What are the main trends and prospects you see for the future development of this technology?

Mine are more materials, technologies like SLA, SLS, DMLS becoming available for desktop use and also the merge of different types of addition, subtraction and cut, all the in same machine.

Is the Maker movement important to increase the adoption of this technology? Why?

I have already sort of answered this in the previous question but there is no simpler technology for the creation of polymeric objects. To be successful, the CNC Machining process demands a lot from the user while 3D Printing is just one click away. Makers are the people that like to take the shorter way to reach their goals and with this logic in mind, they have embraced 3D Printing since it allows them to create their objects and the communities around them to develop them even more. Enable the future community is an example of this, creating functional prosthetics of a hand for children with disabilities in their upper limbs. 

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