The Brilliance of Simplicity
We keep thinking of our man McCoy Fields, a Yard Ramp Guy licensee, and his list of Great Things:
- The Lever
- The Pulley
- The Wheel
- The Ramp
- The Pile
McCoy calls them “history’s finest inventions,” and we’re inclined to agree. What connects them is the relative simplicity of their design. Each has few components, and each has served to improved civilization in countless ways. (Yes, we’re still trying to figure out The Pile in his list, though there’s no doubt that tossing laundry in one spot is better than scattering it all over the place.)
With that in mind, we came across a recent article on the Phys.org website: “Advancing additive manufacturing by slashing support.” Seems that 3-D printing technology’s requirement—and limitation—is that each component of a complex structure is built on top of the one immediately preceding it. If one layer is compromised or damaged, it’s extremely difficult to replace that one layer.
Think of a seven-layer cake, and your layer of chocolate has collapsed under the weight of the sponge cake layer above it. In the 3-D printing technology world, you’d have to bake another cake. (In our world, we’d just eat the cake.)
The article then describes one researcher’s attempts to minimize the number of required components “without risking damage to the finished part.” His approach?
“Qian developed a method for calculating the amount of surface area on a component that needs support—without knowing the part's final geometry ahead of time. He says the key was defining a new measurement called the projected undercut perimeter.”
Which makes our eyes glaze over a bit. And so, we return to our man McCoy Fields and his appreciation for the brilliant simplicity of those revolutionary inventions.
McCoy eloquently addresses the simple machine notion on his blog. (Simple machine: a device used to change the direction or power of a force applied to something in the simplest manner possible.) “Ramps,” he writes, “make up half of the classical simple machines.
We love new technology and the potential to streamline operations for the industries we serve. We also love the simplicity and the powerful effectiveness of the yard ramp.