This could be the future of knife making.
|These beads are the results of 3D printing
These beads are 3-D printed
plastic and can be any color, texture or shape you want by Chroma Scales. You could customize any sort of knife
scales/handle you want. This is the
beginning of the future.
Several years ago I saw a
demonstration of 3-D metal printing. Essentially
it was a computer-controlled arc welding system that would deposit a spot of
metal and build up a 3-D component. This
has evolved into printing metal engineering components and prototypes using
high purity metals and laser beams.
Lincoln Electric is using this technology as is 6K Inc. Many companies now offer this service.
|Miniaturization is a economical driving factor. Big things will get smaller and find a way into your home. Look at computers and microwave ovens
One video showed a company printing out manifolds out of 316L, a low carbon stainless steel. Not the best for knife blades, I grant you. They video demoed a Trumpf TruPrint 3000.
Prices are still high, but you
can buy 3-D printers that use plastic on Amazon now at reasonable prices, from
under $200 to around $3000. The polymer
used is very affordable.
I was able to find glass fiber
reinforced polymer, which gives the finished product high strength. I believe carbon black reinforced polymer is
available. High strength metal alloys
are just a bit farther down the road.
We’ll see the big guys, like
Spyderco, Benchmade, Civivi, or Buck use it first to print unique blade shapes
and designs. But what about temper and
hardness? How will they heat treat it
and such? I remember those same questions
asked about powdered metal. Early adopters
had problems with porosity, just ask Kimber.
They found answers.
The big change will occur then you
no longer buy a knife, but purchase a program to print your own. I suspect there will be acceptable options
built into the software which will come with a license for one or more
printings at which point it erases itself.
Code hackers will find a way to tweek the code to make unique knives or
print unlicensed copies. We see that
problem with knockoffs.
There will be laws forbidding
this and a new class of criminals.
Remember the Star Trek episode ‘Tomorrow
is Yesterday’? A plot complication occurs when the ship beams up an Air Forse
security officer from the 1960s. They
keep him in the transporter room as to minimize the historic contamination from
the future. Scotty tries to relax him by
offering the fellow Scotsman a dish of haggis from the replicator. What is a replicator but a fast 3D printer?
You’ve seen the future.