Have you ever thought of producing your unique abstract imagination into a tangible object? Yes, you can produce it using 3D printing technology. Certainly, 3D printing is a kind of additive manufacturing process wherein a 3D solid object can be created using any kind of digital designing file.
However, the 3D printed object can be achieved by a unique printing process. Wherein an object is created by laying down successive layers of filament until the object is created.
This process can be used to produce any kind of complex shapes and design using fewer materials than that of conventional manufacturing technologies! Therefore it is being widely used in manufacturing industries, aviation industries, the Architectural sector, rapid prototyping, automotive sector, construction sector, and recently it’s being used even in the medical sector.
In simple terms you can just say that anything which you imagine, however complex your imagination maybe can be designed and printed in a 3 dimensional way so that you can touch and feel your imagination
What’s in it for me?
- How does a 3D printer work
- Materials used in 3D printing
- Applications of 3D printing
- 3D printing technologies
- Cost of a 3D printer
- Scope of 3D printing in India
- 3D printing services
How Does A 3D Printer Work
Firstly, it all starts with 3D modelling. These 3D modelling can be done using any modelling software such as Catia, NX, Creo, SolidWorks, SketchUp etc. Or if you do not know modelling u can still get the design files! From many reputed websites such as Thingsverse or any other by searching on google. Once you get your design file ready convert your file into STL file. As many slicing software’s can process your file when it’s in STL format. Now once your design file is ready in STL format you need to process them using the slicing software.
For instance, there are many slicing software available in the market. Industrial-grade software can cost you thousands of Rupees per year as license fees. And there are many free software’s also available in the market such as Cura from Ultimaker, ThinkerCad, etc. However, we always recommend beginners to use free slicing tools.
Now once you have your model design in STL format and slicing software. The next process you have to follow is to slice your design in the slicing software
Slicing The 3D Model:
To clarify, as the name itself suggest Slicing is the process where a 3D model designed is cut into the small horizontal or vertical layer to process the design easily. So to make the machine understand your design slicing process needs to be carried out. Secondly, the G-code created is copied in the USB and the data is provided to the printer.
Materials Used In 3D Printing:
A variety of materials can be used in the 3d printer based on the requirement. These materials are available in the form of a wire feedstock often called filaments. For example, some of the filaments available are PLA, ABS, TPU, WOOD, PLASTIC, CONCRETE, POLYMERS, SLA, PET-G, HIPS, etc. Certainly, the most commonly used and the relatively cheaper filament is PLA. Which is widely used in printing mechanical and architectural parts. It’s very important to know the characteristics and the uses of each of these materials before using them. So we will look into each of these materials in detail in our next blog on materials used in 3D printing
Applications Of 3D Printing :
As said earlier 3D printing technologies have a wide range of applications. As this process is the latest and trending procedure used in additive manufacturing. Further, let’s discuss one by one in which all sectors this technology is used. For what purpose they are making use of this technology. This may help users to know how we can make use of these kinds of new technologies.
Automobile manufacturers are using this technology for a long time, these companies are printing their spare parts, jigs, fixtures, and other mechanical parts.
Any car industry before manufacturing a car they go for the prototyping of a small scale. And then go for the 1:1 prototyping. So the small scale prototyping is done using this technology this helps the manufacturers to understand their design in a better perspective and they can rectify it if any changes are required.
The aviation industry uses 3D printing technology in many different ways. Firstly, to manufacture smaller components of aircraft, to build the prototype, etc. Nowadays the aviation industry is relying more on 3D printed smaller components such as for fuel nozzle as the 3D printed parts have good strength to weight ratio.
Till now we came across many amazing applications of this technology. By seeing these amazing applications I have the excitement of constructing a 3D printed house. Wait – What? Is it possible to construct a 3D printed house? – Yes, it is! 3D printing is believed to be the future of constructing the house! Meanwhile, this reduces the labor, material, and many other expensive burdens. Above all, a very nice and affordable house can be built using concrete filament.
Consumer Products :
This amazing technology is even used to manufacture many consumer products such as footwear, mobile back covers, Pen drives, Card Readers, customizable gifts, eyewear, jewelry, etc.
The Healthcare industry also has a huge application of this additive manufacturing technology. A lot of research work is being carried out in this field mainly called bio-printing. Above all, this technology is mainly used for hip replacements by orthopedician’s. Research is being carried out even on heart transplantation.
One of the field where this amazing technology is widely used is in dental field here they manufacture the molds using both resin and powder based processes.
3D Printing Technologies :
However, there are different ways to 3D print an object, mainly all these processes differ from each other in the way the layers are built to create an object. But, some methods use softening materials to extrude and some other use photo-reactive resin with UV rays layer by layer
Some of the notable 3D printing technologies are VAT POLYMERIZATION, STEREO-LITHOGRAPHY, DIGITAL LIGHT PROCESSING, CONTINUOUS LIQUID INTERFACE PROCESSING, MATERIAL JETTING, BINDER JETTING, FUSED DEPOSITION MODELLING, FUSED FILAMENT FABRICATION, POWDER BED FUSION, SHEET LAMINATION, DIRECTED ENERGY DEPOSITION all these processes will be discussed in detail in the upcoming blogs.
Cost Of 3D Printer :
Cost of a 3D printer varies based on the size of the bed of a printer, which company printer your purchasing if you opt to buy Prusa 3D printers you may find it costly whereas if you opt for Chinese companies such as Crealty you may get it a better price. Certainly, based on all these factors 3D printers range from Rs. 9,000 to Rs.10,00,000.
However, the size of the printer may vary depending on your need and the purpose of its use. Moreover, you may purchase a printer for your personal and research work or you may use it for commercial use depending upon which you can choose the size of the printer bed.
Scope Of 3D Printing In India :
As 3D printing is a growing technology it has a lot of scopes in the present as well as in the future. Many people know about 3D printing and it’s applications but they don’t know how to use them technically or simply don’t want to invest the extra amount into one more depreciating asset so many industries, as well as research individuals, prefer to get it print from the other 3D printing agencies so if you are planning to start your career and business in this industry its really amazing which gives you a good ROI.
Even if you are an Architect you can use this technology for smart presentation of your designs to your clients. This technology has a lot of scope so you should surely consider to invest in 3D printer if you are planning to start a small scale industry with low budget.
If you are not sure if this technology is not the right manufacturing process for you, you can try out from many 3D printing services available to see the quality compare it and then decide whether to invest in it or not.
Meanwhile, by going through this article you might have got a clear idea about 3D printing, its application it’s pricing, and why this technology is said to be the future of additive manufacturing. Certainly, this will clear your idea about the 3D printer and the printing industry. To know more about such exciting topics you can do check out our other blogs on materials used in 3d printing, thermal power plant, and Softwares used in this industry.
Now a days 3D printing is being taught in many Mechanical engineering colleges in their curriculum you can do research of such colleges and join them or else you can do the internships with the 3D printing industries.
As 3D printer prints the object layer by layer it takes more time to print the object depending upon how many grams of filament its using for a particular design, so at present its difficult to go for mass production using this technology but yes as more and more research work is going on in this sector we can expect 3D printing to evolve as a mass production technology very soon
Yes, there is a lot of scope for 3d printing and it is pretty easy to make money here.
Yes there is a recent development in the technology where even metal is being used to 3D print an object you can read out about metal 3D printing in detail in our next upcoming blogs.
No 3D printing is not so dangerous it all depends on the filament you are using some of the filaments are even edible and very few such as SLA, TPU, WOOD metal and concrete may be a bit harmful.
Charles. Hull invented SLA technique 3D printer in the year 1980.
TPU is the most flexible material in 3D printing which is similar to that of a rubber band.
I am a mechanical engineer very passionate in latest technology and recent advancement in the field of technology and also a active Stock market investor.