It seems like everyone from the Caribbean to the gigantic glaciers of Antarctica is talking about 3D printing these days, but what does it mean? Christened as “The next face of technology” by experts, 3D printing has become a lingo across industries such as health, manufacturing, and even construction. What’s more, a particular company in the healthcare domain has attempted to recreate a man’s face using 3D printed bone. Sounds fancy.
3D printing has been around for decades. In the past, the craft was expensive and only left to big industries. Today, 3D printers are available to the average consumer. With as little as £500, you can buy a 3D printer and start building your designs. That said, let’s cover everything you need to know about 3D printing. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be more than ready to start “printing” commodities.
What’s a 3D Printer?
These are sophisticated, next-generation machines that can build everyday things. They can produce different types of objects, in other materials, all from one device. With a professional hand, the team at PRTWD.com explains that you can turn your designs into a physical product. A 3D printer can make anything from plastic toys, machine parts, ceramic parts, or even (one day in the future) parts of the human body. These printers replace conventional factory production lines with a single machine, just like smartphones replaced landline phones. With a 3D printer, the sky’s the limit!
What 3D Printing Means
Commonly termed additive manufacturing, 3D printing builds layer by layer: this is different from conventional manufacturing that assembles other parts or uses moulds. When it comes to 3D printing, many people have a hard time understanding the basics. Here’s a simple exercise to help you know it:
- · Head over to your home printer and switch it on
- · Print any text on the paper
- · Take a microscope and observe the text
After using the microscope, you’ll quickly note that the letters don’t just stain the paper —they’re sitting lightly on the surface of the page. Now pay attention; this next part is essential. If you print the same page a few hundred or thousand times, the ink will build layers on top of each other. This, in turn, creates a solid 3D model of each number or letter. This idea of building a physical form out of small layers is how 3D printers work.
The success of 3D printing relies on different software architecture. Luckily, these tools are available in the market. Many vendors supplying 3D printers also provide software guides to help consumers in their printing. If you’re a beginner, experts recommend starting with Tinkercad. Tinkercad is free and is compatible with major internet browsers. Even better, Tinkercad offers beginner tutorials for the novice printer. It also has an in-built feature to help you export your models as printable files.
Best Examples of 3D Printing
3D printing encircles several forms of materials and technologies. Why is this so? As mentioned above, many industries have adopted 3D printing as a means of material production. That said, you can view 3D printing as an assemblage of diverse industries with many different applications. Here are some examples:
- dental products
- re-building ancient artifacts
- movie props
- Industrial products (prototypes, functional end-use parts, etc.)
3D Printers: How they Work
3D printers function relatively easier than you think. First, you start by designing a 3D object on your computer software. Second, connect your 3D printer to your computer, and press ‘print.’ Finally, sit back and watch everything unfold. Sounds easy, right? You’re mistaken. You’ll need to have some fundamental basics in 3D printing before you can make your designs. But once you understand it — the sky’s the limit/
Benefits of 3D Printing
3D printing production provides more benefits compared to traditional manufacturing methods. The services include those related to design, cost, time, among many. Here are two main advantages of 3D printing:
- Flexibility: With 3D printing, you can design and print better designs than traditional manufacturing processes.
- Print on Demand: 3D printing doesn’t require spacious areas to stock inventory, unlike conventional manufacturing processes. This way, you save on space and costs as you don’t need to print in bulk unless required.
3D printing is changing the manufacturing processes in many industries. Today, many companies in different sectors are embracing the 3D printing process. Even better, 3D printers are now accessible even to the average consumer. This way, you can start making your designs and selling them to consumers. Over to you!