Imagine a time when you can 3D print anything and everything in your own house or your neighborhood.If you need a dish plate, a broken piece of your device, a machine part or just a toy. Or why just a toy, you can 3D print your jewelry, your broken car parts, or your dream house in which you want to live your whole life. Or why just a house, your doctor can print a prosthetic arm, skin or an organ in the worst case you need it. Many of these things are achieved and the rest of these will be achieved in near future and this time is not far away from the present. Then the only limitation to print will be your imagination. 3D printing is revolutionizing the present with its miracle like transformation in technology. This article will cover all you need to know about 3D printing and the objects you can 3D print in various industries in short.
WHAT IS 3D PRINTING?
3D printing (or additive manufacturing) is a process which is used to print an object in three-dimension, layer by layer under computer control. Unlike material removed from a stock in the conventional machining process, 3D printing or additive manufacturing builds a three-dimensional object from computer-aided design model by successively adding material layer by layer.
Objects can be of any shape and are produced using digital model data from a 3D model. It can also be produced by an electronic data source such as an Additive Manufacturing File (AMF) file. Stereolithography (STL) is one of the most common file types that 3D printers can read.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF 3D PRINTING
3D printable models may be created in many ways. It can be created with a computer-aided design (CAD) package, via a 3D scanner, or by a plain digital camera and photogrammetry software. To reduce the errors, 3D printed models should be created with CAD and the errors can be corrected easily before printing, allowing verification in the design of the object before it is printed.
The CAD file needs to be converted into the STL file and this needs to be processed by a piece of software called a “slicer,” which converts the model into a series of thin layers and produces a G-code file containing instructions to a specific type of 3D printer. During the 3D printing process, this G-code is used to instruct the printer, which is done using a 3Dprinting client software.
The resolution produced in 3-dimensional printing is sufficient for many applications, but when a slightly oversized version of the object is desired then removing material to get higher precession and better surface finish with a higher-resolution subtractive process is better.
What objects can a 3D printer print?
A coffee mug, high heels, hanging lights, iPad stand, acoustic guitar, a wheel rim or a whole car, a house plan, a cement wall or a whole house, a prosthetic arm, synthetic skin, bone….. the list is too long. So let us see a detailed list in each of the industry, what we can print and what cannot be printed.
Check this list-
1.Daily household things
It will be fun if we can customise our daily used objects as per our desire. You will not need to search some remote shop or ask your friend where I can find it. Your object, your design, your colors, sounds nice, but of course, we cannot print with any material. Hope this can also be done in 3D printing in coming years. Let us see a list of some objects-
1. Your custom iPhone cover
2. Coffee mug
3. High heels
4. Hanging lights
6. iPad stand
7. Shakuhachi Flute
8. Acoustic Guitar
10. 3D Printed Bikini – N21
11. Soap dish
12. Earbud holder
And many more beautiful things like these-
modular mounting system
big straw glasses
wooh.. that was a lot of things.
2. Automobile Industry
companies are adopting 3D printing for jigs and fixtures.3D printing jigs and fixtures can lower costs, provide lighter and more ergonomic tools, and more. Furthermore, it has shown a consistent reduction in lead-time by 40% to 90% and cost reduction up to 60%. 3D printing rapidly designs a prototype saving precious time of the design team allowing them to concentrate on other important design aspects. In 2014, Local Motors printed the first 3D-printed car from an ABS carbon-fiber blend (about 80/20 respectively) called Strati.
Today, the company has three models and an autonomous electric-powered shuttle named Olli. Also, Honda released a newer version of the Micro-Commuter in October 2016. A single-seater with about a 50-mile driving range, the body and majority of the panels on the Micro-Commuter are 3D printed.
Yes these cars are 3D printed
3. Architecture Industry
Architects, Engineers, and Construction (AEC) professionals understand the paramount importance of accurate and tangible scale models. It helps them and their clients visualize ideas realistically and vividly. Traditional ways of designing and assembling a scale-model are time-consuming, and are very costly, and rely heavily on skilled craftsmen.
3D printing will revolutionize the way architects designs and innovate their ideas. 3D printing for architects empowers them easily create complex, accurate and durable scale models quickly and cost-effectively. The 3D printed models can be used to demonstrate and impress the clients, seizing more opportunities, all this in a matter of clicks.
4. Aerospace Industry
From complex engine parts to cabin interiors, aerospace companies are turning to the capabilities of 3D printing to produce better performing parts for their commercial aircraft and/or spacecraft. The ongoing development of the industry itself will surely lead to more breakthroughs in the near future. In the aerospace industry, the benefits of adopting 3D printing will be reduced material weight, part consolidation, improved part performance, virtual warehouse, and many more.
5. Electronics Industry
With 3D printing replacing the conventional manufacturing processes, in the electronic industry opportunities are growing in terms of ease of customising a product for a user or a customer. The production of relatively low volumes is possible in the industry because of 3D printing. Like for example, if the small startup needs to make 30 pieces of their product, by the conventional process the initial setup would be too costly and it will not justify the cost of a single piece of product.
Producing sand molds and cast metal parts is a relatively straightforward job and suitable for automated methods. The most common method is to produce aluminum patterns, fabrication of which is often very difficult, expensive and time-consuming. These aluminum patterns are machined using a CNC machine. The biggest problems with this approach are the high cost and long lead time. On the CNC machine, the intricate gate and runner systems cannot be produced. So, the gate and runner system are cut from Ren board and then hand carved to the finished shape.
The problems associated with traditional pattern production are many and this process takes much time and money. So foundries have long been interested in 3D printing. With 3D printing systems available, foundries can fabricate patterns with either inkjet-based technology or FDM Technology. This results in savings, in cost, labor and time, ultimately speeding new product development.
3D printers are used to manufacture a variety of products in the medical industry. It includes those products with complex geometry or features that match a patient’s unique anatomy.Sometimes a standard design is copied to make multiple identical copies. Other devices are called patient-specific devices. This type of devices is created from a specific patient’s imaging data.
Commercially available 3D printed medical devices include:
Implants (e.g., cranial plates or hip joints), and
External prostheses (e.g., hands).
Manufacturing of living organs such as a heart or liver via 3D printing process is in early stage of development. Scientists are still researching such methods and process.
Things that can be 3d printed are-
Tissues with blood vessels
Low–Cost Prosthetic Parts
Many startups have been seen in this field recently.A 3D printing startup from Hong Kong, called POESIS, has successfully completed its crowdfunding campaign for a smart 3D printing jewelry system. This system allows anyone to easily create unique and resilient rings and bracelets. A study by YouGov, a prominent data research firm, indicated that marketing efforts by high-end jewelers for Millennials are proving to be inefficient. This market-segment is spending approximately $49 billion annually on products within various luxury categories, however, only a limited percentage of this money is being spent on fine jewelry.
It is defined as the use of living system for the production of goods and products .It is a branch of biology which deals with the technique of using live organisms, enzymes orbiological processes to develop products and provide services for human welfare.Making curds or bread which involves microorganisms can be considered as the oldest form of technology.we alsofind the application of fermentation in the production of wine and other alcoholic beverages.
Most of the biotechnological processes gradually became more sophisticated.They are being used toharvest various valuable materials like vitamins and antibiotics produced by microbes.Today biotechnology is undergoing resurgence in the wide range of applications.Biotechnology involves DNA manipulation s (recombinant DNA technology), tissue culture , protoplasts fusion, cell catalysis ,immobilizer enzymes , proteins engineering,etc.
Many techniques are included under biotechnology , for example ,in vitro fertilization leading to a’test tube’ baby , synthesizing a gene , developing a DNA vaccine or correcting a defective gene, etc.Advancement in plant tissue culture has enabled plants breeders to create new crops which grow more rapidly , require less fertilizer and thrive in poor soils.Many techniques included underbiotechnology have wide applications in the field of agriculture, medicine, chemical industry,pharmaceutical industry and environment.
The new definition of modern biotechnology given by EFB(The European Federt ofBiotechnology) is :’Biotechnolology is the integration of natural sciences and organism ,cells,parts thereof and molecular analogue for products and services.
BARRIERS TO SUCCESS IN 3D PRINTING
The market in 3D printing is growing day by day with new startups each month. This industry holds the potential to capture the major market in the coming future in the automobile, aerospace, jewelry, architecture, medical, foundry, the electronic industry as well as in the market of production of household items.
But there are certain limitations to the great success, faced by the 3D printing industry today, the barriers which should be broken by the industry in the near future to build their empire strong and competitive. So let us take a leap from the world of words to the real world and see what are the challenges faced by the 3D printing industry today which must be overcome.
Scale and Size
In 3D printing, only one item is produced at a time. To print multiple objects at a time you will need multiple machines working simultaneously like a DNC machine. The cost of a single 3D printing machine is much higher than a CNC machine working on the same material. All this means due to the restriction of high initial cost only one object can be produced at a time. Multiple items cannot be simultaneously produced on a 3D printer, this is not the only limitation with respect to scale and size. Another limitation is the size of the product or the object being printed.
If the polymer is produced, the majority of 3D printers which are present today can only print items measuring up to 1 cubic yard and only 1 cubic foot if the metal is used as the printing material.
3D Printed Objects May Require Heavy Duty Post Processing
If anyone has seen 3D printing live, will know that the finishing quality of the printed objects is not that good. These products cannot be used directly by the consumer without processing done on it. Also, the problem isn’t only the lack of surface finish or polish, it is more about the dimensional accuracy produced by these 3D printing methods.
3D Printing Belies Economies of Scale
The most advantageous benefit of 3D printing, the sword of this king is the fact that this process allows maximum customisation potential. Unfortunately, this same fact carries one of the more potent disadvantages of 3D printing. That is the absence of economies of scale.
In simple language economies of scale is the cost advantage gained by the manufacturers when they increase the size and scale of the manufacturing system. This means to improve the profit margins, a manufacturer can mass produce them. So, decreasing the cost per item he has to put in and increasing the profit.
Large Scale Adoption Will Result In Significant Job Loss
Let us take for example, in a factory two type of scrap material exit the belt. A worker separates the two and places them in two different containers. If now the company engineer automates this system by placing some kind of separating machine at the exit, then the owner can remove this worker, resulting in the loss 0f job by the poor worker. So an innovation in the present technology or the process ends up taking away jobs amongst the masses.
This has happened throughout the human history. It happened when industries automated their processes, the same happened during the Industrial Revolution, during the Digital Revolution, and surely will happen in the future too. The machine operators will lose their jobs with the development and availability of 3D printers.
3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing, which means building in additive fashion i.e. layer by layer addition of material from the ground up. While the technology is a major process breakthrough, there is a very limited number of materials today which allows 3D printing.
Some materials in which 3D printing is done are – ABS plastic, polyamide, epoxy resins, steel, wax, titanium and some more. The list seems interesting but very limited.
How small can you go in 3D printing? If you’re using a typical desktop 3D printer (or an industrial Stratasys FDM printer), the nozzle is about 0.35 mm in diameter. This means the sharpest outside corner that can reproduce is also .35mm in diameter, we cannot produce dimension less than this. On other precise systems, you could reasonably expect this figure to be around 0.116 to 0.175 mm in diameter.
Cost of Buying and Setting up A 3D Printer Is Very High
The cost factor is the biggest disadvantage of 3D printing. Yes, it is true that over its whole life a 3D printer pays for itself more than once, but the initial cost still remains something which needs to be put in once, at a time. Since the initial cost is such a high, the risk of setting a costly business comes free of cost.
For example, the top end 3D printing devices can cost between $300,000 and $2 million. Even the consumable items can end up costing a very high price ranging from $100 to $200 for every pound of material consumed.
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