3D Printing

3D Printing

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes.

In an additive process, an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.

Examples & Applications of 3D Printing

  • Education: Educators and students have long been using 3D printers in the classroom. 3D printing enables students to materialize their ideas in a fast and affordable way.
  • Rapid Prototyping: Manufacturers have long used 3D printers in their design process to create prototypes. Using 3D printers for these purposes is called rapid prototyping.
  • Rapid Manufacturing: Besides rapid prototyping, 3D printing is also used for rapid manufacturing. Rapid manufacturing is a new method of manufacturing where companies are using 3D printers for short run / small batch custom manufacturing. In this way of manufacturing the printed objects are not prototypes but end user products.
  • Automotive: Car manufacturers, restorers and repairers have been employing 3D printing for a long time. Automotive industry experts only expect the use of additive manufacturing technologies to grow in the coming years. Companies are using it to produce not just parts, but tools and interior elements. It has also enabled on-site development, leading to a decrease in dependence on foreign manufacturing.
  • Aviation & Aerospace: The aviation industry currently uses 3D printing in many different forms. If you want to see 3D printing applied in the wildest ways imaginable, look no further than the aerospace industry. From materials to concept printers they are doing some of the most interesting, cutting edge research in the entire field, all for the purpose of making interstellar exploration more habitable
  • Architecture & Construction: Can you print buildings? – You sure can, companies are experimenting with 3D printing and are producing fascinating results in construction. A project by Shanghai based WinSun uses recyclable materials to print houses for $4,800 dollars per unit. In this case, all the parts are printed separately first and later on assembled.
  • Medical & Dental: The outlook for medical use of 3D printing is evolving at an extremely rapid pace as specialists are beginning to utilize 3D printing in more advanced ways. 3D printing technology has been studied by biotech firms and academia for possible use in tissue engineering applications where organs and body parts are built using inkjet techniques. Layers of living cells are deposited onto a gel medium and slowly built up to form three dimensional structures. We refer to this field of research with the term: bio-printing. The dental industry is embracing 3D printed goods in a rapid pace. These printers allow dental professionals to craft appliances in the exact shape that clients need them in for a fraction of the usual cost.
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