Apr 17, 2013

Four Person factory

Dirk Vander Kooij's furniture-making company, Studio Dirk Vander Kooij, in the Netherlands needs only a skeleton crew of four people. The hard work is carried out by an old industrial robot that Vander Kooij fashioned into a 3D printer. He converted an old industrial CNC (computer numerical control) extruder into an interfaced mechanical arm that prints, level after level, continuous layers of low-resolution plastic into furniture.

Using plastic recycled from old refrigerators, the machine "prints" furniture the way an ordinary printer uses ink to print documents. Many analysts expect 3D printing to revolutionize manufacturing, allowing more small firms like his to make products without hiring many people.