What is 3D Printing?
3D printing is an innovative technology that allows you to create a physical object from a digital model. So what is exactly 3D printing definition?It started in the 80s with the name of “rapid prototyping” because this was the purpose of technology: to make a prototype faster and cheaper. Much has changed since then, and today 3D printers offer amazing results and allow you to create anything you can imagine.
How does 3D printing work?
3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing, because unlike traditional subtraction manufacturing, 3D printing does not remove the material, it adds layer after layer.
To print something, you will first need a 3D model of the object you want to create, which you can design in a 3D modeling program (CAD – Computer Aided Design), or use a 3D scanner to scan the object you want to print. There are also simpler options, such as looking online at Youmagine.com for 3D models that have been created and shared by others.
Once your design is ready, all you need to do is import it into Cura, our open source printing software. Cure then convert your design into a gcode file ready to be printed as a physical object. Simply save your file to the supplied USB memory, insert it into your Ultimaker and press print.
But, how does the printer work? Although there are several 3D printing technologies, most of them create the object by placing many successive thin layers of a material. In general, desktop 3D printers use plastic filaments (1) that are fed to the printer by the feeder (2). The filament is melted in the print head (3) which extrudes the material in the construction plate (4) creating its object layer by layer. Once the printer starts printing, all you have to do is wait, it’s that easy. Of course, when you become an advanced user, playing with settings and adjusting your printer can lead to even better results.
This is the Future of Manufacturing
The future has arrived, that is what one could rightly say about 3D printing and its effect on human lives. By reading this, 3D printers are creating new forms and, consequently, shape our future. They have been applied with inspiring success in aviation, education and, most importantly, healthcare. Only in the USA UU., The value of this type of printing technology was $ 13.2 billion in 2016, while GE forecasts that it will increase to more than $ 30 billion by 2023.
Much of that amount will be spent on manufacturing, considering how much the production process is changing as it becomes easier and more creative. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at what exactly is happening in this area.
You do not have to know how 3D printing works to take advantage of its potential (although it’s a pretty interesting process), and the most obvious way to recognize it is in the design possibilities. For a long time, designers struggled to make their paper (or computer) ideas come true. Most of the time, the most original ideas had to be discarded due to the fact that it was impossible to build such a form using existing machines and technology, and ordering new parts was often too expensive. However, today designers can increase their creativity with 3D printers.
In addition, it also offers more space for customized products. Nowadays, customers may decide to order a product that is going to be made according to their own idea. For example, you can go to disneystore.com and create your own completely original Star Wars robot.
Another great feature of 3D printing would be that it is quite easy to compose several different prototypes, print them out and decide which one is best for the market. It also gives you the opportunity to replace some parts easily and quickly if you think you could serve better. Needless to say, this saves not only the time, but also the money that would have to be invested to make several prototypes. In this way, more research is provided at a very low price.
Low volume production
If 3D products are so amazing, why not make more of them using only the printers instead of other machines? In reality, this has become a reality, at least when it comes to low volume production. There is also the opportunity to change products weekly if the occasion arises. It is not necessary to verify the entire operation process to change, or to order the new machines and parts. Simply enter the new design and you’re done.
When it comes to the mass production of products and merchandise that are partially printed in 3D (that is, a part of them came out of the printer), one of the most famous examples are the famous Adidas 4D FutureCraft shoes. Their soles are completely made by a 3D printer. One of the greatest advantages of such production lies in the fact that there is no additional material, more commonly recognized as waste. Since the entire sole is basically one piece and is not built with several pieces, which inevitably leads to scraps, such production actually offers an ecological alternative to other production methods.
Having taken everything into consideration, one thing is for sure: 3D printing has reached manufacturing and is here to stay. As it seems, both consumers (lowest price) and producers (easier manufacturing process) have many reasons to be excited about the future.
Printing Revolution is Here
Advances in 3D printing fundamentally change the economics of manufacturing and create new markets by producing unassembled parts, said Keith Moore, E85, vice president of research and development at HP Labs, October 18 at the School of Engineering.
Moore, visiting the School of Engineering as part of the Dean of Engineering lecture series, described how 3D printing is revolutionizing the fields of medicine, manufacturing, and consumerism, and described “fascinating applications”: from hearing aids and dental implants to auto parts and new types of fabrics – from a historical and philosophical perspective.
Noting that all inventions take time to mature, he said HP’s 3D printers rely on steady progress in thermal inkjet printing.
Pointing to a range of 3D printed products displayed on a nearby table, including a tambourine (“What really intrigued us was how thin the top could be”), a splint for the arm and a Identity Holder – Moore said, “What happens when you have inkjet printers that can hold 30 million drops per inch? . . . Innovation is about applications and who will use it. And it takes forever for immediate success. It’s always a series of small innovations. “
If Moore has a particularly patient vision of innovation, it is because he saw first-hand how seeds of new ideas are planted, nurtured and marketed successfully. He joined HP after graduating from Tufts with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and a Master of Computer Science from Stanford University.
He has risen through the ranks and now leads the company’s 3D and Adjacencies lab, where he and his team develop and study the underlying materials science and microfluidics for HP’s polymer and metal 3D printing technologies. Prior to his current role, he was Vice President of Research and Development for all HP LaserJet and Inkjet Software. He is also an inventor, with more than thirty-five patents and has seen his inventions shipped in almost all HP LaserJet and commercial printing products.
While he said he could predict the future, he said, “I just can not tell you what year it will be.
The medical field has changed dramatically because of 3D printing, he said, stressing its impact on dentistry – crowns, bridges, prostheses and implants – but also in the technology of custom corsets and orthoses, such as partial and total custom knee prostheses.
These specific applications in turn give ideas on how to further push the potential of 3D printing in an era of “generational design”. He cited, for example, the development of honeycomb patterns to maintain strength and flexibility in various devices.
As a result, some products “are starting to look more like nature,” he said. As such, “3D represents a huge opportunity for transformative design” and can help manufacturers understand “how to get the lightest weight but the strongest structure”.
The rise of 3D printing is also drastically changing consumer goods, including distribution and supply chains. In this one area, 3D printing is “transformative”, he said. “At the moment, the model to use for the world of consumption would be to print one million or 100,000,” he said, brandishing a cliché that can be used on a backpack.
“But you do not have to,” he says. “And you do not need to store it anymore. If your dishwasher is missing and you need to replace it, simply reprint it. You will see a more localized manufacturing. “
The major consequence, he says, will be about market distribution strategies. Remove the incentive to look for low-cost foreign labor – whose costs, he says, are largely associated with assembly – and the “economic nature of manufacturing” moves away from production large-scale overseas and storage of products in warehouses.