Whenever new technology is born it gets debated over benefits and/or its harmful effects. We forget that tool is just a tool, the hands holding it makes it useful or harmful. 3D Printing is yet another technology being debated since long. In this article we will discuss about what 3D printing is and how it can be very revolutionary for the future of manufacturing products.

3D or three dimensional printing is very innovative idea that has turned out to be very useful. With the help of this technology you will be able to create a physical object from a digital model designed on your computer.

It all started in around early 80’s and was called ‘rapid prototyping’. It was so named because the main purpose or the main function of the technology was to create prototypes or objects faster and at a cheaper rate.

Technology has evolved a lot since then. Due to this technology today 3D printers offer some very promising and amazing results. Today you can create almost anything you can think of, with the help of these printers.

3D printing uses the technology known as “additive manufacturing” a term that describes all about how this technology works to print or rather create objects.

Here the word “Additive” refers to the concept of succeeding or consecutive addition of thin layers which are approximately between 16 to 180 microns or even more to create a selected digital object by you. Almost all the 3D printing technologies used today paradigm an object simply layer by layer to create desired three dimensional complex objects.

How does 3D printing work?

First Step

It is a great combination of computers and 3D printer. First you will be required to create a 3D modal on a computer before you print something in three dimensional forms. You will be able to design 3D modals on a computer using any available 3D modeling program. You can use Auto CAD (Computer Aided Design) or you have another alternative in the form of 3D scanner that allows you to scan the object you want to print. You can even search online repository of 3D models which is a collection of already designed 3D models ready to be used. These 3D models have been created and shared by people with similar interest and are part of the community. For example- “Youmagine.com” is one such online 3D model repository that you can search to find desired objet that you want to print.

Second Step towards Printing

The second step is the main step and is very important in the entire printing process. You will be required to choose printing material that suits best for the object that you want to print. It will help you achieve the specific properties that you require for your printing object.

There are varieties of material that are used in 3D printing for different purposes. These materials include:

  • Plastics,
  • Ceramics,
  • Metals,
  • Resins,
  • Textiles,
  • Sand,
  • Biomaterials,
  • Glass,
  • Even Food

Most of these materials also allow the user for plenty of finishing options that enable you to achieve the precise design result that you were thinking of, and some others, like glass for example, are still being developed as 3D printing material and are not easily accessible yet.

Third and Final step

The third step is the final as well as finishing process. When the object is first time printed, often it cannot be directly as it is not in its true finished product form. As a final step you will requires some specific materials and skills to finish your product as intended. It might require sanding, polishing or painting your object to further enhance its looks and usability.

The material you choose for the project also affects and determines which type of printing methods should be employed for printing your object.

What all can be created using 3D printers?

You can create almost anything, and if not now very soon in the near future. The objects that can be made with help of 3D printers are endless, and they’re nowadays becoming a common place tool in fields like:

  • Engineering,
  • Product design,
  • Manufacturing and
  • Architecture

Here are some typical uses:

  1. Uses in education:-
    • Engineering  students can print out prototypes of their project
    • Architecture students can print out small 3D models of their big projects.
    • Graphic Design students can easily print out 3D versions of their artwork.
    •  Cooking students can create molds for their food products
  2. Uses in medical applications:-
    • Medical applications for 3D printing are expanding rapidly and are expected to revolutionize health care.
    • Medical uses of 3D printing for both actual and potential can be organized into several broad categories, including: tissue and organ fabrication;
    • Creation of customized prosthetics, implants, and anatomical models
    • Pharmaceutical research regarding drug dosage forms, delivery, and discovery. The application of 3D printing in medicine can provide many benefits, including: the customization and personalization of medical products, drugs, and equipment; cost-effectiveness; increased productivity; the democratization of design and manufacturing; and enhanced collaboration.
    • However, it should be taken in consideration that despite recent significant and exciting medical advances involving 3D printing, notable scientific and regulatory challenges remain and the most transformative applications for this technology will need time to evolve.
  3. Uses in manufacturing:-
    • 3d printing technology eliminates or reduce the need for producing tools and realizes products in days instead of months
    • Customizing  the useful parts to exact requirements at no extra cost
    • 3D printed manufacturing aids help to elevate shop floor quality and effectiveness very easily and in less time and less cost.
    • With the help of 3d printing technology, you can print complex components as one piece.
    • It’s possible to produce parts with far lower costs and lead times over normal manufacturing
    • You’re able to create products locally, eliminating the need for huge stocks that require complex logistics
  4. Uses in fashion:-
    • It’s easy to customize  each design to fit your needs at very less cost
    • U can create any complex or geometric shape or design with ease without much effort.

Conclusion

 3D printing technologies and process are very useful and important for development as well as well going of a country as it enables to do complex things  very easily and in less time.

This technology will also be very in future ,as in future, this technology would get more advanced as compared to now, and then every complex thing , whether it is a huge building or any small toy would be prepared with the help of this technology!!!