Rapid prototyping and 3D printing is full of buzz today. Most engineers and scientists know this technology has been around since the 1980s, but it wasn't as widespread and readily available at low cost until 2010 when the open-source hardware and software movement picked up the cause via the RepRap community.
I joined this thriving community in 2011 and never looked back. The ability to have a finished part in your hand within a day changes the entire product development process by closing the loop between design, test, and integration. With this technology it is possible to take more risks in design choice because the result can be quickly verified, or changed if necessary.
3D printing is an empowering tool for engineers and scientists. I will continue to use it as much as possible to speed up the product development process.
Shown on the left is an opto-electronic enclosure for a tracking device, and below that is a prototype for a modular beer tap lever handle for a local microbrewery. Directly below this text is a series of enclosures made for a camping accessory.