Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Hewlett Packard Job Posting Hints at Possible Glass 3D Printing Ambitions & More

ST Medical Devices

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hp-1We all know by now that Hewlett Packard has some lofty ambitions within the 3D printing industry. We just don’t know exactly what their plans entail. It’s been several months now since HP’s Meg Whitman officially came out and admitted that her company was in fact interested in this burgeoning area within the tech industry.

Although many analysts have been guessing what the company will reveal supposedly by October, up until now there have been few hints coming from HP. What Whitman has said, is that whatever her company does, it will be centered more around the business sector rather than that of the consumer market. I think it’s safe to say that whatever they do reveal, it will not be putting Stratasys’ MakerBot desktop 3D printer brand out of business any time soon.

With all the guesses and stabs in the dark that we have seen over the last several months, we may finally have something somewhat solid to go on. This weekend 3DPrint.com was provided info about a particular job opening which Hewlett Packard has made available.

The opening is for a job with a title of ‘Robotics Scientist for 3D Printing’. The general job description is for an individual who is experience in robotics, and can lead in the construction of a prototype robotic platform capable of producing 3D printed structures into the surface of non planar object. The job opening also mentions that HP Labs has been working on research into the hybrid 3D printing of glass, as well as other inorganic materials onto objects which have already been mass produced. The job is open to individuals willing to work in the Bristol England area.

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You are welcome to decipher this information however you’d like. It was known that HP had researched the printing of glass in the past, however, the fact that they are hiring around these projects, and that it includes the printing onto already manufactured objects, certainly is interesting. Way back in 2012, HP issues a technical report in which they highlighted some of the reasons glass may be a good candidate to 3D print with.  In that report, they stated:

“Glass is a silica-based material. With 90% of the earth’s crust composed of silicate minerals, there will be no shortage of silica resources. Glass is easy to recycle and is environmentally friendly. Glass is inexpensive but looks precious, is pleasant to the touch and is so familiar that customers will not be disappointed by its fragility – under certain conditions. A major need, and concomitantly a major challenge, for 3D printed glass is transparency.”

There are so many possible applications within the manufacturing industry where printed glass onto already fabricated objects could be of value. Will the announcement that HP promises to release by October of this year have anything to do with printing glass, or printing onto already produced objects? Who knows? Let’s hear your thoughts on HP’s additive manufacturing aspirations in the HP 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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