Where Can 3D Printing Help?
Before I go in to more depth about what this technology does, let's talk about what it is. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the layer by layer creation of products. This means that layers are 'added' - hence the 'additive' manufacturing. Layers of material will be laid down to build a final product. In order for these projects to even begin, a 3D design must be created. A designer, engineer, artist, or whatever will work on the computer using various software such as 3DS Max, Blender, Zbrush, or AutoCAD. After a design is created on the computer by the artist, the design will then be sent off to the printing facility for the actual manufacturing to occur. Through 3D printing, a technician is required during some parts, but 3D printers are relatively low maintenance during manufacturing. A technician will load the files, organize how the prints will be laid out, then he or she will press 'go' to start. The machine will work to produce parts within hours, and these parts will then be removed from the machine. Once these parts are removed from the machine, some touching up may be necessary depending on the type of printing involved. Some situations call for a technician to dust off powder. Other forms of additive manufacturing call for the technician to remove support materials.
Regardless, 3D printing is pretty significant in my opinion. There are so many ways for engineers, consumers, product developers, concept artists, or whatever to create products. There are also a wide variety of materials to choose from. One of the common materials to choose from is ABS plastic. Another would be PLA plastic. Engineers are taking advantage of the metal printing, including titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, and Inconel. They are also utilizing the heat resistant materials, translucent materials, and other options. Some doctors and biomedical engineers are even taking advantage of bio-printing! There are so many options as to where this technology could go. Whether you're working in Hollywood, a small business, or an engineering firm, 3D printing can help!
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