Technology has consistently been advancing as time progresses, and manufacturing is definitely oneo f those technologies. Typically, things have been made by one of three methods. First, many people have been creating parts by hand. Specialists in shops have been carving pieces, gluing pieces together, sanding them, and painting them. Work with various tools has created some crude, and some intricate pieces. Second, quite a few people have been jumping into various types of molding & casting for their manufacturing needs. Some of these methods have been around for hundreds of years; think of a blacksmith making weaponry. This technology still exists today through various niches of casting, including jewelry, modern day casting, and mold manufacturing. Third, various forms of machining has been around for at least one hundred years. People using saws, drills, and machinery to remove material of certain pieces is definitely a popular process. It is a very popular process for truly custom pieces, just like hand made parts. These forms of manufacturing have definitely served their own purposes, but I want to talk about a new form of manufacturing that is already starting to blow the doors off these traditional forms of manufacturing. I want to talk to you about 3D printing.
First off, what is 3D printing? This manufacturing technology, simply put, is the creation of products layer by layer. 3D printing is often referred to as additive manufacturing. What is so significant about 3D printing? First off, this technology can create pretty much anything. A machine will create products through an automated process known as CAM, or computer aided manufacturing. Essentially, if a product can be designed on the computer, it can be created through a 3D printer. When a printer receives the design, it will begin to create the product according to the design in a layer by layer process. Let me compare 3D printing to the 3 types of manufacturing that were listed earlier.
Comparing 3d printing to creating pieces by hand is very… interesting. Sure, some positive factors will come through hand making pieces. Artwork in particular stands out above 3D printing in some senses, however not all. Many artists and sculptors have been designing models to create through 3D printing. Quite honestly, 3D printing can create quite a bit more than what an artist could make by hand. Due to the layer by layer process, detailed centers can come about in a product – whilst an artist hand carving or making a piece couldn’t even get “inside” of a product to work on it.
The same thing applies to machining. If a model has an intricate center, it will be very difficult to replicate without 3d printing. A drill has a hard enough time creating organic curves, and still struggles with that. What about detailed centers? Machining simply doesn’t hold up.
Mold manufacturing can offer some cool pieces, especially on a mass produced level. However, some models simply can’t be made due to detailed centers. The molds can’t even be manufactured!
3D printing sticks out in the manufacturing world for being able to create a wide variety of intricate centers, organic curves, high levels of intricacy, and truly unique pieces.
3D printing is a very fascinating process in the manufacturing world. It isn’t a new manufacturing method, but it seems as if it is, as it is only recently becoming much more available to the people and businesses. In fact, 3D printing is a relatively underground process at the moment; however it is gaining serious momentum. This style of manufacturing has a wide variety of materials to choose from; over 60 in fact. 3D printing allows for the creation of virtually anything with virtually no geometrical limits on each design. Organic creations can come out of this manufacturing method, as well as rigid pieces. I want to cover one method of 3D printing in particular, sometimes referred to as infiltration. This method is used only by a company known as X1 with sand, and zcorp.
In a nutshell, this manufacturing process uses 3D printing to create a weak and porous product, which is then dipped in epoxy, wax, or super glue. Whatever chemical or material that the 3D part is dipped in will then fill into the product like water to a sponge. Based on the final product being so porous, it doesn’t take much for the wax, epoxy, or super glue to fill in, yielding a reasonably hardened product. Let me cover the full process.
Like all 3D printing processes, a computer image will have to be created in some form of CAD software by an engineer or 3D developer. This computer file will then be sent to the advanced computer on the 3D printer. All 3D printing processes are CAM processes, or computer-aided-manufacturing processes. What does this mean? This means that the computer in the printer will tell the jets exactly where to move, and when to do it. When the 3D printer starts up, it will begin by laying down layers of powdered material on to the build envelope, or the “build table” within the printer. Each layer is around 25 microns thick or so. A human hair has a diameter of 20 microns in many cases. Within each layer, the 3D printing process involves laying down an adhesive chemical to hold the material together in accordance to the 3D blueprint designed earlier. The 3d printing process will repeat as each layer is laid down and fused together until a final 3D printed product comes through. The product is pulled from the build envelope I mentioned earlier, where the excess material powder surrounding the product it is recycled. The product will be covered with excess powder, but it can easily be dusted off. The product that leaves the printer is very weak. It will have a lot of air trapped within it; in fact, up to 40% of the product could consist of air. This means that the product is very porous. To fix the product from crumbling very easily, a process known as infiltration is applied to the product. The product is dipped in epoxy, wax, or superglue to gain integrity. Based off of the porous nature of the product, it will essentially suck up the epoxy, wax, or superglue very easily. This results in a final product of a material like sandstone which is somewhat fragile, but very unique.
Due to the advancement in science and technology, many inventions have emerged today to help us in our work. It makes us even more efficient and productive. It helps us see even the minute details of thing. More than that, we are able to make products which are accurate and precise or the exact replicas of the original. One of the very useful inventions of today is the printer. Printing has evolved through time and today, it is even designed to provide benefits to a lot of people in different sectors of work, from engineering to designing and also up to manufacturing.
The 3D printer is designed to produce an output with three dimensions with the use of different layers of material. It provides designs and output in a single process. 3D printer for rapid prototyping has been used to day in different applications especially in the field of designing, medicine and engineering. It saves a lot of time and effort for people to print out separate parts and glue them together to make a complete product. The three dimensional printing will provide you with an exact structure of what you are copying where there is no need to cut and glue the sides and corners.
Biotechnology is already undergoing studies on tissue formation so that possible organs and body parts can be formed through 3D printing. This technology will aid especially in possible organ replacements such as that of the hip. Whenever this happens, the artificial body parts used will be exactly like the original with all its dimensions.
Aside from that, it is used in architectural designs. It is very hard to put on the parts because it would really need lighter hands to glue them all together. Any slight mistakes can ruin the design. With 3d printing, you will be able to produce the design just like what you want it to be. With the exact size, length, width, shape and form, you will be able to see the result of your structure once you are done. It can also be used in the world of art where artists will express their passion for art with the use of 3D printers.
It is also used in schools and universities today especially when it comes to technology and designing courses. This would be a great advantage because even at school, students will be able to learn how to use high end technologies and also push designing beyond its limits by making use of 3D printing.
The 3D printer costs are worth its use. It has a lot of benefits especially that it is very easy to use and the speed of producing an exact result is immediate. The accuracy of the dimensions and its ability to copy what you want it to replicate are great advantages for people involved in medical engineering, architectural, arts and designing. A large number of this kind of technology is available in the market today that is why it is widely used today.