The world around us has advanced so much that science fiction is no longer science fiction today. Additive manufacturing, commonly referred to as 3D printing has now expanded to full-scale replacement part production and full-scale end part production.
Regardless of whether it is a 3D printed bionic ear that helps to hear much beyond human hearing frequency, 3D printed cake toppings or 3D printing dream house within just a few hours, 3D print is revolutionizing every walk of life. According to a report, revenues from 3D printing are anticipated to exceed the $21 billion mark by 2020.
3D Printing Finds Usage in Multiple Industries
Think this way. You are at home and need something. You just print it. This can be anything from shoes, chess set or a violin.
Powered by 3D design software, this technology allows the creation of complex objects in a single piece, bypassing the traditional modes of production and design. 3D printing, also referred to as additive manufacturing has moved well beyond manufacturing plastic objects or rapid industrial prototyping. Today, the 3D printers do not just handle materials from titanium to human cartilage but produces fully functional components including complex mechanisms.
It’s producing a transformative effect in medicine. Parts of car and the houses are 3D printed today. Multinationals today are investing millions of dollars to help people take advantage of this technology.
In the domain of medicine, 3D print of complex living tissues is opening up new ways for regenerative medicine. With improved understanding of the technology, the researchers are trying to catalyze natural healing mechanism of the body. They are doing this through the creation of porous structures that help with bone stabilization in the domain of orthopedics. This technology, along with stem cell research is quite likely to revolutionize made to order organs. Even intricate parts of the body like brain are possible to replicate with 3D technology. This facilitates complex medical surgeries.
The aerospace industry is already designing 3D printed parts saving material, cost and time in the process. It also offers an advantage critical to the aerospace industry, weight reduction. It accelerates supply chain.
The automobile world is witnessing crowd sourced and open source 3D printed vehicles that are driving off showroom floors. With the 3D printed cars on the availability list, making the auto parts are no longer a challenge. It seems that the smell of rubber will soon be a thing of the past.
Commercial 3D Printers
Though there are many who are yet to hear the term 3D printing, this process has been in use for long. The manufacturers have been using the 3D printers for quite some time. However, till the last couple of years, the equipment was slow and expensive.
The fast 3D printers are now available at affordable rates, saving companies many times the amount spent in the prototyping process. Nike makes use of the 3D printers for the creation of multi-colored prototype of shoes. Earlier, they used to spend thousands of dollars on the prototype, waiting weeks for it. Now, the cost is less and moreover, the changes are possible to make instantly on the computer and the prototype printed on the same day.
Several companies today use the 3D printers for custom manufacturing. Here, the objects printed are not prototypes but the end user product.
Personal 3D Printers
Till now, we have been speaking only about the commercial 3D printers. Apart from this, there are also personal and DIY hobbyist models. And these are getting quite affordable too. You need not even be a 3D modeling expert or an engineer to create 3D models on your own. While the expensive and complex CAD software comes with a steep learning curve, there are several other programs, some of which are free and easy to learn.
If you do not have a 3D printer of your own, there are several 3D printing bureaus that can inexpensively print and deliver objects from a digital file that you upload on their user-friendly website.
3D printing is a technology with mammoth proportions, casting its impact on energy usage, customization, art, medicine, product availability and manufacturing. It is bound to change the world before you know it.
Information Share By Architecturalrendering.co.uk