What is 3D Printing?
3D printing is a concept that many producers and consumers are not entirely familiar with. Printing in 3d is a bit of a misleading phrase because when we hear “printing” we typically think of 2D printing on paper. This kind of printing can literally turn a 3D computer model into the actual 3 dimensional object right in front of your eyes. This technology has been put to use when making small scale models of a larger product, models of certain parts of a product, and it can also create fully functional parts and products.
The items you plan on creating with these printers are going to determine the exact type of printing technology that you utilize. In general, this process is carried out by a specialized printer which creates your item (whether it be a model or fully functioning part) by laying down many thin layers of powder or other substance that is then bonded, typically by way of lasers. By creating layer upon layer the printer eventually cuts and forms your item in its entirety. The versatility of printing in 3d is what draws many people in for good. You can print objects that are metal, plastic, and a large quantity of other materials to your exact specifications. The type of material that you will be printing out will also play a role in understanding which technology would be best.
Then, Now, and in the Future
Having been created towards the end of the 1980s, the concept of printing in 3d and all of its associated technologies are still new on the scene. A lot of companies and industries are only just beginning to realize the wide array of possibilities stemming from the use of 3D printers. The idea of eliminating some, if not all, transportation and production costs for a product or part of a product is really enticing to companies and entire industries.
In the beginning the products able to be created by use of this kind of printing technology were limited and often times very crude replicas of larger scale items. As the benefits of three dimensional printing began to be realized the need for better technologies also became evident. The 1990s saw a few different companies take charge and come up with ideas and printers of their own. It was at this point that 3D printers became more well known. Even today there are all sorts of advances happening in the field and the use of these technologies has never been more beneficial.
The hope for the future is that three dimensional printing technologies become commonplace for all companies. Effectively using this production process can eliminate a surprising quantity of costs associated with taking your product from an idea on the computer screen to a product able to be bought by consumers. Imagine a world where even the most complex products are created, designed, produced, and shipped from the same facility; that is the type of future that this method of printing can bring about.
Advantages of Three Dimensional Printing
When assessing the advantages of this printing method it is important to recall how companies produce products currently. Once a product is though of and designed, those design plans are then sent to another facility that is capable of making the parts for that product. After the parts are made they must then be assembled and once the product is fully assembled it can be shipped out to the end consumer.
With the use of three dimensional printing a company can draft up the design for a product, produce all the parts, assemble, and ship the product all without any transportation costs. Printing in 3D can also help eliminate the cost of human workers because these printers can take the place of a number of sets of human hands.
The ability you will have to design to your exact specifications is amazing too because if you do not like how something turns out, you can simply print it out again. The advantages that you can receive from this method are unrealized for many at this point because a lot of people remain unaware that 3D printing and associated technologies actually do exist.