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The buzz at the Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California’s CAD/CAM Symposium in November 2005: rapid prototyping technology. First developed in the 1980s and used in the automotive and aerospace industries, the technology had laboratory owners enthusiastic about what was called the “next generation of CAD/CAM.” Advocates said the additive technology would result in increased efficiency and less material waste.
Those forecasts were spot on. The technology continues to revolutionize the way laboratories fabricate waxups and metal restorations. And, like CAD/CAM, it’s changing things quickly. Since 2011, the percentage of laboratories who offer 3D printed metal restorations has tripled (from 8% to 24%) and the percentage with a rapid prototyping system for wax has more than doubled (from 8% to 17%), according to LMT’s Digital Technology Surveys.
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