Tuesday, January 5, 2016

3D Printing

We all are aware of the term printing. What we really know about is 2d printing. Pouring ink on a specific area on a sheet of paper, that would generate a pattern which stands for a letter in any language,or number or it can resemble an image.

In a traditional 2D printer, the printhead pours ink over the paper, cloth or other material only once. 2D printing essentially transfers information.

However when it come to 3D printing, the print head would pour the material step by step creating a 3 dimensional physical object. The movement of the print head is controlled by a computer so the the material is poured with great levels of precision. 

3D printing has existed since 1984. However in the last 3 or 4 years, the 3D printers have become affordable and more widely used. Many different kinds of things are made from 3D printing in all shapes and sizes.
Prosthetics are made from 3d printing that are customised to the fit the user. In case of physical deformity customisation is very important since every person may have a different need. With 3D printing better prosthetics are made at a fraction of a cost. 

NASA is planning to 3D print food in space. Scientists have 3D printed tissues and are planning to 3D print organs in the future. Patients have been implanted 3D printed skull, 3D printed bones. Portions of houses are made by 3D printing. In fact engineers are working on technologies to 3D print houses out of concrete.

The 3D printed houses will be cheaper and they would offer greater amounts of design flexibility as compared to traditional methods of home construction. Technologists working on the technology claim that a 2000 sq ft two storied house can be constructed in 20 hours. Since the walls of the house need not be rectilinear, the house can more artistic, aesthetically appealing, stable and resistant to earthquakes and other natural calamities. Rectilinear walls that we have in traditional methods of construction are not very earthquake resistant.  

On YouTube you can easily find examples of 3D printed bicycles, 3D printed cars, 3D printed artefact's, 3D printed shoes, 3D printed skirts etc.

The great advantage with 3D printing is that machine does not make any discrimination between simple and complex objects. 3D printing is really an exciting field of technology that gives individuals power to create anything they like,all they have to do is to design it in the computer and let the machine do the rest. 

Its like a dream coming to reality, you imagine a design in the mind, put it in computer graphics and then ask the printer to create the object for you. A home 3D printer normally uses ABS plastic. If an individual does not design well, he can simply chose to copy other designs. 

3D scanners are available that can scan a product and create its replica, if you want you can make modifications in the original design as well. With 3D printing people don't have to depend on designs made by others.

For industrial 3D printers, the cost savings they provide can be huge. According to this article, Prodrive saved huge amount of money it otherwise had to spend for modification of its tools. Modifying their tools would have cost them £10,000, however they were able to 3D print their tools for £10. That's a cost saving of 99.9%. 

In this post I have shared a video as well which describes how 3D printing can potentially change our world. There are lots and lots of 3D printing videos available online, you can find hundreads of them on youtube. 

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