3D printing is gaining in popularity and penetrates into many areas of human life. Using special printers, it allows you to quickly and accurately create a sample of any object. Its advantages over mechanical processing are the absence of production waste and significant material savings. The technology has become indispensable in industry, medicine, construction, architecture, cinema and other fields.
What is 3D Printing?
3D printing is the process of creating a physical object from a digital 3D model. It is performed without human intervention. The model is developed in a special program, saved in STL format, and then sent to a 3D printer, which creates a real object layer by layer. One layer of material is superimposed on a horizontal flat surface, and gradually all the rest on top until the entire product is formed. The software controls the process and sends the necessary commands to the printer, which almost completely eliminates the possibility of errors or defects.
3D printers allow you to print from a variety of materials. Used ABS and PLA plastic, gypsum, metal, biomass, resins, etc. The variety of materials used significantly expands the printing possibilities.
Applications of 3D printing
3D printing is used in all areas of medicine. It plays an important role in dentistry. The use of this technology eliminates the need for manual modeling of crowns, prostheses, plaster models, and instruments. Patients no longer have to go through a series of fittings and modifications and wait for the installation of the desired part. It is enough to scan the oral cavity and, after a while, get an ideal design.
An ear model has been 3D printed at Princeton University. It was made from biomass with a high content of stem cells, which can be transformed into cartilage tissue. Visually, it imitates the human ear, and functionally is a device for the perception of radio waves.
In 2011, a living human kidney was created. The process took only 3 hours.
In 2012, a titanium jaw was implanted. Doctors admit that in the near future there will be no need to look for donors for transplants. All the necessary organs will be printed by a 3D printer.
3D printing helps in the training of future healthcare professionals. It allows you to recreate a copy of the human skeleton or individual organs to practice the techniques that are needed for a successful operation.
The University of Southern California researchers were able to create a 3D printing system for working with large-area objects. It functions as a construction crane, erecting concrete walls in buildings. It makes it possible to build a two-story house in just 20 hours. All that remains to be done is to complete the interior decoration of the room, as well as install doors and windows.
Today, 390 thousand shades of the CMYK color scheme are used for 3D printing, which allows you to realize any architectural design. 3D printing is used to make models of individual rooms, multi-storey buildings, microdistricts, villages with the necessary infrastructure: roads, transport stops, street lighting devices.
The British company MakieLab has developed a free application for mobile phones Makies Doll Factory, which allows you to create a doll, develop its appearance and clothing items. The model is printed on a 3D printer and sent to the customer. The cost of the finished toy is $ 88. The company is able to seriously compete with toy manufacturers.
Thanks to 3D printing, it is possible to make a toy in a short time. The product can be made by the child himself and have any shape, size and color.
If earlier it took a lot of time to create a wax model of a jewelry, now, using special software, it is possible to design a product in a short time, and then print a prototype of jewelry on a 3D printer.
Thanks to the technology of three-dimensional printing, jewelry models have a smooth surface and do not need additional processing or adjustment.
3D printing significantly speeds up the work cycle for making molds for injection molding. It takes only a few hours to produce an exact prototype on a printer, and up to several months using traditional methods.
3D equipment makes it possible to produce objects that exactly correspond to their digital models, as well as products with a geometric shape that cannot be replicated by traditional production methods.
Design and advertising
With the help of 3D printers, it is possible to produce test layouts of packages and bottles of commercial products. Prototypes can have an original shape, any color, and include design elements such as a label, slogan, barcode, logo. In order to save money and the possibility of making changes to the structure and appearance of the object, the finished models are shown to customers before the start of serial production.
The use of 3D printing makes it possible to produce structural elements of devices of almost any geometric shape and complexity without traditional tools and machines. The technology helps to shorten the development time of parts: from the idea of the product to the market.
Other applications for 3D printing include apparel and footwear, animation and cinematography, education, aviation and automotive, and consumer goods manufacturing.
Advantages and prospects of 3D printing
The speed of 3D printing is the main advantage of the technology. It takes only a few days from the stage of product design development to its release into production.
3D printing also offers such important benefits
- Saving money on production (no personnel and special equipment is needed: automatic machines, machine tools, cranes, etc.).
- Easily make changes to the model using a computer program.
- The ability to use different materials and their zero waste in production.
The enormous possibilities of 3D printing are clearly illustrated by a musical violin made with it, which was tested live on CNN by a fifteen-year-old student. This proves that technology allows you to recreate almost any object while preserving its properties.
NASA has awarded a $ 125,000 grant to engineer Anjan Contractor to develop a 3D printer to make food for astronauts during their space flight. By mixing ingredients from cartridges, the equipment can provide a varied diet. The first dish printed on the printer will be pizza.
Inventor Kai Parti has developed the LAYWOO-D3 fiber for the RepRap 3D printer, thanks to which wood can be printed. The material is a composite of woodworking waste and harmless, inexpensive plastic. It could be revolutionary and reduce deforestation.
In the near future, it is possible to print objects with variable characteristics, for example, with variable transparency. Scientists predict that traditional manufacturing methods will fade into the background, as 3D printers make it faster and easier to create products with a high degree of detail, especially small items that require painstaking manual work.
To order 3D printing services at KLONA, contact our managers. They will advise you free of charge and answer your questions.