“Everyone is a maker; only I’m a Printer” – Josef Prusa.
For years the digital world had been working on developing 3D printing technology, and lately, it has accomplished that goal. Today we have 3D printing technology helping in various fields such as healthcare and aerospace, etc.
So, let us check out the eight ways the latest 3D printing technology is used.
But before that, let’s have a look at what, exactly, the 3D printing technology is?
3D printing, as the name itself suggests, is the creation of three-dimensional solid objects by converting the digital blueprints and layering additive materials on top of one another. Organizations can use this technology in several ways, such as small-scaled prototypes during their planning phases, and some can even run a complete end-to-end design process with the help of it.
With that been said, the use of the first 3D printing process goes back to the 1980s where it was used to develop the first additive manufacturing equipment. However, in recent years people have been able to harness the real underlying power in it, and since then 3D printing has seen more widespread use at a more affordable cost. Let us now look at some of the top-most creative ways to use 3D printing.
With the Covid-19 hitting the entire world badly, 3D printing came on its own to help humankind fight against this deadly virus that originated inside a lab in Wuhan, China. A Telford-based company named Ricoh 3D had implemented a 3D printing application to prepare 40,000 3D printed face shields to protect the NHS staff against the coronavirus. Likewise, several nations including, United Kingdom, have taken up various 3D printing applications to tackle the Covid-19. Besides this, 3D printing is being used as an alternate prosthetic option due to its lightweight designs that are also relatively cheaper comparatively. Also, even the surgeons have benefitted from the 3D printing technology as it helps them plan to carry out the transplant operations.
3D printing has also been a great help to aerospace organizations. As with 3D printing solutions, several industries can kickstart their aerospace dreams. There is an important technique known as Focused Deposition Modelling (FDM). With this technology, the aerospace industry can develop strong and durable 3D models with fire retardant properties required for aerospace safety. Other benefits of FDM are it produces environmentally resistant thermoplastics, temperatures, UV rays, and chemicals that don’t absorb moisture.
Aviation and manufacturing industries, especially the big ones, have also benefited a lot from the 3D printing technologies. Perhaps, aircraft manufacturing has helped the most out of everything else in the aviation industry. For example, Finnair was able to manufacture the small batches in its Airbus 320 aircraft with the help of 3D printing. Today, several airlines, including the German industrial manufacturing company, Siemens, have invested in the 3D printing application to embrace the growth of additive manufacturing in different ways.
3D printing had a great positive impact on the engineering industry in many ways. For example, the British Formula One motor racing company Williams F1 had created some parts for their racing car models with the application of 3D printing technologies to test them in wind tunnels. This allowed them the usual time scale that takes for the part developments.
3D printing has revolutionized the automobile industry with the creation of vehicles. For example, a whole 3D printed electric car was developed by Local Motors. It was named Strati and was the first-ever 3D printed electric car in the world. Also, in 2018, MINI, a car manufacturer, started its customization service to let its customers design their car parts, such as the side plates and the car handles. Even the motorbikes had benefited from this technology. Divergent, an automotive manufacturer, had developed “Dagger” motorcycles by using 3D printing technology.
Some of us might already be familiar with the 3D print houses since it is something that might soon become a mainstream thing. Dus Architects developed a “3D print house canal.” It is an Amsterdam-based architecture firm that developed it as a part of its three-year research and design project. These canal houses had each room separately printed before it was assembled and stacked to build the house.
Another industry that has benefited significantly from 3D printing technology is the fashion industry. Earlier, Adidas, in 20117, had launched training shoes with 3D printed soles in partnership with the Silicon Valley startup Carbon. Following the footsteps, its rival Nike had also started developing several prototypes using 3D printing technologies.
3D printing has boosted problem-solving abilities and creativity in schools. In subjects such as engineering, 3D printing has helped design prototypes across some institutions around the world. Even the primary and secondary schools have benefited from the various 3D printing programs where they are taught to design and test their real-life objects.
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