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All You Wanted To Know About 3D Printing

If you have not heard of 3D Printing you are probably living under a rock.This amazing tech lets you turn 2D designs into three-dimensional models of just anything.This includes toys, computer chip, models for your project, etc  People can actively pursue their creative side by becoming engineers,designers and even architects.Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is making an object layer by layer. How is that different from the usual methods? Simple: Traditional manufacturing takes material away to create a desired shape.

Early 3D printers were expensive,difficult to make and handle without special training. But personal 3D printers being offered  by companies like MakerBot and 3D Systems, home manufacturing is now reality. With a little bit of an investment , you can now make parts for an appliance at home, a pair of glasses,jewelry etc.. It’s easy to imagine a marketplace in which, instead of buying an actual product you can make your own.

 

But How Does It Work?

This entire process starts with a digital file, the Computer-Aided Design file, which serves as the instructions for what to print. The file is like a blueprint. The machine then prints layer after layer of plastic, metal, nylon or another of the many materials that can be used. These layers eventually create the final shape.

Say you’re printing a plastic trinket — the item is built layer by layer, as powder is laid down within the building chamber. Lasers then cut through the material and create the desired shape. The powder layers are then adhered together to create a solid within the chamber. The unused powder is collected and recycled for the next printing, making it more sustainable than some other manufacturing methods, in which you’d just have to scrap the carved out materials.

There are several different methods that can be used to 3D print, depending on variables such as what material you want to use and how much you want to spend. The most common is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). With this method, an object is produced by use of melted thermoplastic material to form layers. Each layer stacks on top of and fuses with the previous layer as the material hardens almost immediately to create a 3D object.

 

Why Should I Care?

3D printing also offers far more room for personalization. Let’s say you have a 3D printer of your own and you purchase the file for a pair of shoes. Other than the general shape the shoes will take, there’s a lot of room to make personal choices about aspects like color and the way the shoe fits. Or maybe you want to add some sweet wings?Then you can go right ahead and add those.It can also be used to create prosthetic limbs for accident victims.The posssiblities of this technology are endless.

 

What can i print using the 3D Printer?

Just about anything can be 3D-printed — glasses, bikinis and jewelry. The technology enables previously impossible shapes, like the Klein bottle to exist.Because you can print numerous items in the same machine to optimize output and efficiency, the prices can come down to be quite appealing A bracelet can be $100, a silver ring can be $40.And 3D printing has commercial applications, too. Boeing and Airbus have already 3D-printed certain pieces of their aircraft.

 

The Obstacles of 3D printing:

3D printing is likely the future of counterfeiting. With high-fidelity 3D printers, someone could easily create a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers, and the result would be a pair of glasses that’s hard to distinguish from the real thing. Individuals doing this for their own use could hurt a brand’s bottom line, but the real nightmare is counterfeiters who have access to those printers.The customer gets ripped off — having bought fake sunglasses. If you’re not sympathetic to multibillion-dollar international corporations losing money because of 3D printers, consider this: Counterfeit items are more that just intellectual property theft, as they can also be harmful. These items don’t go through any sort of official inspection, so there’s no telling what chemicals one might have be using. And while 3D printing is good for manufacturing in the sense that prototyping and production can be done locally, there may be a downside for workers involved in the manufacturing process. If more and more manufacturers start relying on 3D printers as opposed to workers to make goods, some jobs could become obsolete.

This is a technology that was only possible in the wildest dreams once upon a time. You should  watch a video on Youtube about the technology. If the urge to acquire one overtakes you, don’t feel buyer’s remorse about being an early adopter. Remember, that’s what everyone once said about smartphones.

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