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Ewloe, United Kingdom
Writing, tweeting, debating and occasionally getting a little over-excited about 3D Printing. But always aiming to keep it real!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Yet another interesting dynamic raised on the RP-ML

Yes, okay, you might be forgiven for thinking that I do little else other than read posts on the RP-ML. It is a side line, I promise, I do work as well!!

It does raise interesting issues in the world in which I spend much of my time though, and therefore sets in motion different thought processes that I can unleash here.

Battles are starting to rage on the forum, and it has highlighted the vast chasm that exists between the "real" world of industry and the more "idealistic" domain of academia. The irony being that developments in one often depend on the other — and that goes both ways. They coexist, with a tenuous connection that is vital to both, but with levels of suspicion, and even outright antipathy, which are immediately obvious when the two come together.

In my experience, neither side is opposed to raucous debate over a few pints when in the same room, but looking back, I don't think the issue has ever been resolved fully — neither will it be. I have spent much of my working life somewhere between the two and as a result I have respect for both and can see the value of both. In the oft hallowed halls of superior academic institutions (across the globe) the desire for knowledge (and recognition, let's be honest) drives technological developments in an environment that positively encourages all boundaries to be pushed to breaking point, with fairly deep pockets to fund such activities. In the realms of industry, and manufacturing in particular, things have to be made, and they have to work — reliably — often on tight budgets; so if there is a proven way of doing it — why reinvent the wheel?

Well, you can probably see where this is going ...... the point is that additive manufacturing would not be where it is today without the research and proven results produced by leading universities in the field. Similarly, without pioneers in industry using and proving the technologies for real applications, the whole industry would come to nothing.

They are inter-dependent on many levels, but neither side will ever really like that fact.

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