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3D Printing (Working, Advantages and Applications)

3D printing: Here, we are going to learn about 3D printing technology, its working, advantages and applications.
Submitted by Sudarshan Paul, on September 24, 2018

3-Dimensional printing is the latest technology that deals with creating a physical object from a digital design that has been created using the high-end graphics related software on the system. There exists a wide range of materials that can be used in 3D printing based on the requirement but the basic concept remains the same i.e. a particular blueprint is turned into a solid three-dimensional physical object by adding material layer by layer.

3D printing Image 0

Image source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/O2thSsQrZUM/maxresdefault.jpg

Working

The elementary step in 3D printing is creating the basic design for the object. The design is segregated into thin layers before feeding it into the 3D printer. The choice of printer and the type of technology that is to be employed for 3D printing differs on the requirement basis. For small-scale printing projects, desktop printers can be used which melts down the plastic material and spreads it over the printing platform. For industrial projects, high tech machines that emit laser to melt metal powder is used. The process is highly time-consuming and after printing is over, it undergoes many processes in order to reach the desirable finishing. The choice of material includes plastics, rubber, sandstone, metals, and alloys which is highly specific to the type of printer and process used in the project.

Advantages of 3D Printing

1) Creating sophisticated designs

The technology can be used to create complex designs which are generally difficult to illustrate using the existing modes of printing. The cost of such printing is obviously on the higher side but considering the high detailing and quality of printing, the cost factor can be little ignored.

3D printing Image 1

Image source: https://cdn-blog.adafruit.com/uploads/2013/05/dsc07995-chain-mail-as-built.jpg

2) Offers high Customizability

In order to make changes to the item, altering the digital blueprint of the object will be sufficient to reflect them over the finished product without the need for extra manufacturing cost. Thus one can make frequent changes and verify the feasibility of the design or structure.

3) Minimal Wastage

The conventional manufacturing methods require the use of various tools, raw materials, and equipment for preparing the appropriate design. But with the application of 3D printing, The amount of wastage during the process has been greatly reduced. Since it involves generating the product layer by layer hence only the raw materials which are needed for making the particular part of the object is used at a time. The materials used can also be recycled for preparing other 3D models.

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Applications of 3D Printing

1) Automobile manufacturing

3D printing is used in the car manufacturing industry so as to create the prototype of various parts to test the durability of the design. It is of great help when creating customized cars.

3D printing Image 2

Image source: https://3dprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/a3.png

2) Medical

The various medical aids such as hearing devices, prosthetics are largely developed by using 3D printing technology. This has made the production of such devices much easier without much involvement of manual labor.

3D printing Image 3

Image source: https://3dprint.com/wpcontent/uploads/2017/02/fairings_3d_printed_scott.jpg

3) Drone Manufacturing

The drone has always fascinated experts from every field but due to its limited production, difficult repairing and availability of spare parts, the concept was very limited for adoption. The 3D technology has overcome this barrier which allows the users to produce spare parts with just one click from a list of predesigned parts. Hence the users are able to customize their drone equipment with their creativity as per their requirements.

3D printing Image 4

Image source: https://www.3dprintwise.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mini-quadcopters-796x448_c.jpg

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