3D Printing is definitely driving a manufacturing revolution, but it's also forcing changes in more conventional techniques, like injection molding:
[B]Affordable Injection Molding Transforms Tinkerers Into Tycoons[/B]
[QUOTE]While everyone is talking about the 3-D printing industrial revolution, Protomold is helping tinkerers become tycoons by making mass-production injection molding technology accessible for easily customized short-run batches — and their recent expansion of materials lets designers produce almost anything they need.
3-D printing something like a cellphone case can take hours — unacceptable when makers need mass quantities. In order to cost-effectively produce products in big batches, traditional manufacturing processes like injection molding are still the best option. Unfortunately, companies that specialize in these processes want to work on huge-volume projects, leaving the little guy, or even a moderately successful Kickstarter project, with few options.
Protomold has stepped in to provide servicing to those makers who need small orders by being able to produce 50-5,000 injection-molded parts in one business day with prices starting at $1,495 for a production tool, and each produced part costing a couple dollars or less. The experience isn't much different than ordering business cards online. A designer uploads their CAD file, chooses from a few preset options, and shelf-worthy injection-molded parts arrive on their doorstep.[/QUOTE]
Full story: [url]http://www.wired.com/design/2013/01/protomold/[/url]