BMF CEO John Kawola on 3D printing parts smaller than a human hair
Ever since I was a boy, I was fascinated by the idea of miniaturization. I read Isaac Asimov’s Fantastic Voyage and then, when I finally got my hands on the movie, I probably watched it a dozen times. The premise was that a team of scientists were miniaturized to the point where they could be injected into a person and perform surgery from the inside.
Another movie with a similar premise was InnerSpace, starring the incredibly well-matched team of Martin Short and Dennis Quaid. There was the whole Honey, I Shrunk the Kids series of movies and TV shows, and I ate them up as well. Fast forwarding to present day, there’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Ant Man, which also involved a teeny-tiny man doing amazing things at super-miniaturization level.
Part of what fascinated me was the idea that machines and gear, whether tiny ship or environmental suits, could be shrunk down to a level that traditional machining just couldn’t go. For decades, the idea of producing components smaller than a human hair was nothing short of pure science fiction. But no longer.
In this article, we’re going to chat with John Kawola, CEO Global, Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF), where we’re going to talk about 3D printers that can actually produce parts that are fantastically small. If John’s name is familiar to you, we met him two years ago when he was president of Ultimaker North America, a leading manufacturer of FDM (fused deposition modeling) 3D printers — the filament-based 3D printers most people are familiar with.