3D printing technology has cemented its place as among the most remarkable achievements in the industrial design and marketing spheres of our ever-competitive economy. It grants us the possibility of building a solid part within a few hours. 3D printing technology is the process of creating a solid object of whichever shape using a digital model. In this kind of printing, layers of materials used are laid in various shapes using an additive approach, making the process get another name, additive manufacturing. Others call it rapid photocopying because of its high speed.
How a 3D printer works
Using the digital 3D model, the 3D printer deposits flat layers of raw materials microscopically gradually, progressively building up the 3D object. The raw materials used include metal, ceramic powder, synthetic resin and glass.
The uses of 3D printing
Apart from its uses in various industrial applications, various non-industrial applications are beginning to adopt the use of 3D printing technology. This is more so considering that the costs of acquiring the raw materials and 3D printers, haven dropped considerably. The most current uses of 3D printers include:
• Production of jewelry
• Making of sculptures
• Making of toys
However, there are current major steps in the utilization of 3D printing technology. They include:
• Creation of pharmaceutical drugs
• Cloth printing
• Food printing (such as making of chocolate)
• Space explorations
Benefits of 3D Printing
There are numerous benefits accrued from the use of 3D printing technology. These benefits include the following…
Innovative Structures and Shapes: Manufacturing industries rely on cutting and moulding methods in building structures and shapes. A 3D printer can create many complex and complicated figures. Advantage here is that the structures developed are of a higher durability and physical integrity. With 3D printing technology, the virtual model and the physical structure are very similar.
New Material Combinations: It is always quite hard to mix several raw materials using the usual manufacturing techniques. 3D printing helps to nullify most of these limitations. Currently, many companies can produce several materials with varied appearances and textures such as metals and ceramics, boasting of wider range of strengths and resistance.
Significantly Reduced Wastes: manufacturing industries dealing with plastic and metal objects usually register a higher percentage of waste products. For example, many aircraft building industries register about 90% of waste materials. If 3D printing is used to do the same job, waste products are significantly reduced. This is very vital since it ensures that the environment remains safe.
Reduced Manufacturing Costs: with the use of 3D printing, companies can save up to 70% on manufacturing costs. This is because the raw materials are cheaper and less workforce is required. In the end, the whole process becomes economical and profitable.
Faster Manufacturing Process: 3D printing is faster as compared to the traditional process. 3D printing enables the production of a product within hours as opposed to the traditional methods that can achieve the same goal within two or even more days depending on the nature of the product. This enables a company to satisfy large demands from the consumers hence retaining their loyalty and the success of the company business.
When it comes to the prices of the leading industry 3D printers, they will range from approximately $15,000-$60,000. However, there are 3D printers, which cost less than $15,000.