Sometime in the year 1984, there was a man named Chuck Hull. He worked for a company that used UV lamps to develop durable coatings for tables. One day, while he was into his daily business, he was hit with an idea. An idea like never before. He wondered if he could take advantage of the ultraviolet technology to make small prototypes for products he developed. And soon, the first ever 3D printer was invented.
Today, Chuck Hull is the father of the 3D printing machine. Meanwhile, the evolution of 3D printers has been tremendous. But before we get there, perhaps it is important to define 3D printers first. Also, the need for its invention which are contrary to things we are losing with technological progress.
3D Printers and Its Build Materials
A 3D printer is an additive manufacturing device that can print down successive layers of material to form a complete object. In it, each layer is a cross-section of the actual object, thinly sliced. Murray Leinster first described the general concept and procedure used in a 3D printing device.
3D printing was invented to design and build small-scale models (or 'prototypes') for testing. Once the testing went successfully before a full-scale product became easily viable of the same model. The 3D printer worked on the principles of rapid prototyping technique that was useful in avoiding mistakes during manufacturing. As a result, it also helped in potentially saving a lot of money and time.
Most 3D printing materials are thermoplastics, plastics that become liquid when heated but solidify when cool and are not weakened. However, as technology advances, researchers are discovering new materials that can be 3D printed, including edibles.
Development of 3D Printing
As you know the impact of technology over human lives has been immense, 3D printers too have contributed significantly to it. 3D printers were originally invented to create prototypes and small-scale models. However, over time its application grew in massive popularity. Hull's company 3D Systems became influential in the additive manufacturing industry. Also, with their backing, things really took off to new heights.
The first 3D printer was based on the invention of stereolithography (SL). Following stereolithography, more advanced forms of 3D printers emerged. Its popularity included Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). It remains patented by Carl Deckard. It even included the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) patented by Scott Crump. Likewise, the various forms of additive manufacturing processes and devices, different products and their application were found. Let's take a look at some of the amazing examples of 3D printing.
Amazing Real World Examples of 3D Printing
The progress of 3D printers has brought it way outside its root cause of invention. Today, it serves a critical purpose in various fields. And to know a few about them, let's look at some amazing real-world examples of 3D printing.
Homes and Building
3D printing can potentially create entire houses within buildings. It is a feat so remarkable that it can save lives in areas suffering from natural disasters. The only problem that may arise is the amount of time it might take to build the buildings. To give one example of the production speed, in Moscow, Russia, a team used 3D printing to build a 400-square-foot house in less than a day.
Prosthetic Body and Limb Parts
3D printing has contributed significantly to the medical industry. Right from producing custom prosthetic legs, it can now create human heart prototypes to aid surgeons.
3D printing has emerged as a highly disruptive force in the manufacturing world. It has provided numerous manufacturing solutions to build better products and even buildings. Take for example, the automotive and aerospace industries. Both the industries have had firsthand experience with the effective use of 3D printing technologies.
Other than that, today the manufacturing industry has even started integrating 3D printing into the production processes. After all, 3D printing the replacement and functional parts allows the manufacturers to save a lot of resources and time.
Music plays an immense part in human life. And 3D printing has its influence on it too. With additive manufacturing technologies, 3D printing has already produced musical instruments such as violins, flutes, banjos. The first live concert featuring entirely 3D printed instruments was held at Sweden's Lund University, which was a huge success. You can further use 3D printing to create accessories and even other instruments.
Military and Firearms
The ability to 3D print fully functional firearms has been a hotly debated topic. The "Liberator" by Defense Distributed has sparked heated debate because it is a working plastic gun created using 3D printing technology. Many consider this to be an extremely dangerous ability because anyone with a 3D printer and the design blueprints can create their own guns. Whether you agree with it or not, every country has its military. And out all, several countries have started implementing 3D printing to create products such as drones and guns.
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