What is the 3D Printing Revolution all about – A Knowledge Guide
Is the way we make things about to become the next revolution? Traditional manufacturing techniques like milling, casting and gluing could soon be replaced by 3D printing -saving enormous amounts of material and energy.
Aircraft maker Airbus is already benefiting from the new manufacturing method. Beginning this year, the A350 airliner will fly with printed door locking shafts. Where previously ten parts had to be installed, today that’s down to just one. It saves a lot of manufacturing steps.
And 3D printing can imitate nature’s efficient construction processes, something barely possible in conventional manufacturing. Another benefit of the new technology is that components can become significantly lighter and more robust, and material can be saved during production. But the Airbus development team is not yet satisfied.
The printed cabin partition in the A350 has become 45 percent lighter thanks to the new structure, but it is complex and expensive to manufacture. It takes 900 hours to print just one partition, a problem that print manufacturers have not yet been able to solve. The technology is already being used in Adidas shoes:
The sportswear company says it is currently the world’s largest manufacturer of 3D-printed components. The next step is sustainable materials, such as biological synthetic resins that do not use petroleum and can be liquefied again without loss of quality and are therefore completely recyclable. This documentary sheds light on the diverse uses of 3D printing.DW Documentary
3D Printing or additive manufacturing is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model. It can be done in a variety of processes in which material is deposited, joined or solidified under computer control, with material being added together (such as plastics, liquids or powder grains being fused), typically layer by layer.
These 3D printable models may be created with a computer-aided design (CAD) package, via a 3D scanner, or by a plain digital camera and photogrammetry software. The 3D printed models created with CAD result in relatively fewer errors than other methods. Errors in 3D printable models can be identified and corrected before printing.
3D printing or additive manufacturing has been used in manufacturing, medical, industry and sociocultural sectors (e.g. Cultural Heritage) to create successful commercial technology. More recently, 3D printing has also been used in the humanitarian and development sector to produce a range of medical items, prosthetics, spares and repairs.
The earliest application of additive manufacturing was on the toolroom end of the manufacturing spectrum. For example, rapid prototyping was one of the earliest additive variants, and its mission was to reduce the lead time and cost of developing prototypes of new parts and devices, which was earlier only done with subtractive toolroom methods such as CNC milling, turning, and precision grinding. In the 2010s, additive manufacturing entered production to a much greater extent.