Three-dimensional printing is the technology that tends to make a physical three-dimensional object as per the two-dimensional digital input images through a process called layering. 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process. The layering method used by 3-D printing machines typically involves the deposition of the material layer by layer according to the commands given by the user. The user initially loads the commands into the computer. The processing system of the computer further assigns the input commands to the actuators connected to the device in a controlled manner. The movement of the actuators or the arm of the printer is performed in a strictly precise manner. The second layer is added to the object only after the first layer gets properly dried up and so on. The material generally preferred by 3-D printers for the manufacturing of three-dimensional models or objects is molten plastic.
Applications of Three Dimensional Printing
The technology of three-dimensional printing offers a wide variety of applications in daily life. Some of the most common applications of three-dimensional printing are listed below:
One of the most important applications of three-dimensional printing machines can be observed in schools, colleges, or other educational institutes. Constructing 3-D models of objects help a person gain a better understanding of the concepts. For instance, while studying biology, the working of certain body organs can be studied easily with the help of 3D printed models. Three-dimensional printing technology makes learning comparatively more interactive and improves the experience by adding visualisation to the traditional learning techniques.
Usually, before implementing any project in real life, a prototype of the idea is constructed to perform simulation and to observe its behaviour and operation at a small scale, thereby helping the designers to estimate and calculate the risk factors in advance. This experimental stage of the product is generally executed by forming an exact miniature model with the help of machines such as 3D printers. Here, the 3D printing reduces the chances of failure of the product after being implemented in real life, allows the designer to easily introduce modification into the base model before the manufacturing of the product at a larger scale begins, and helps estimate the cost of the overall project.
3. Medicine and Healthcare
One of the prime applications of 3-D printing can be seen in the medicine and healthcare department. The current use of 3-D printing in such fields is somewhat restricted due to certain setback factors, but it is a promising technology that has the ability to revolutionize the field in the near future. Some of the current uses of 3-D printing in the medicine and healthcare field include the manufacturing of prosthetic limbs and various other body organs. Various researchers are working on regenerative engineering, i.e., the process of developing a technique that would help in the development of cells and tissues for a speedy recovery from diseases and injuries. 3D printing technology also enables the manufacturing of customised medical products and tools.
4. Construction and Architecture
The use of 3D printing in architecture and construction is quite advantageous to architects and engineers as it helps them observe the shape, rigidity, appearance, strength, and various other properties of the final establishment in advance. This also helps in the approximate estimation of the amount of material required during the construction. The miniature model of the building or the architecture to be created also enables the disaster management professionals to perform various tests and determine the amount of pressure the building can withstand, the nature of the interlocking joints required to hold the structure together, and to estimate whether or not the design would be able to bear the adverse effects of the natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods, etc.
3D printing plays a prime role in designing customized accessories and jewellery pieces such as bracelets, watches, rings, bangles, etc. Such products have the advantage that they perfectly match the expectation of the consumer and have fewer chances of being a misfit.
6. Manufacturing Industries
Various manufacturing industries such as automobile industries, robotics, electronics, etc. make use of three-dimensional printing before actually implementing their designs in real life.
7. Decorative Items
Decorative items such as vases, pen holders, photo frames, lamps, and other showpieces can be easily manufactured with the help of 3D printing technology. The main advantage of using 3D printers to manufacture such products is that it makes the making of complex designs comparatively easier.
8. Art and Craft
The implementation and application of 3D printers can be easily observed in the development and assembly of art and craft pieces.
The designing part of aerospace engineering needs to be precise and accurate in nature. For this purpose, the ideas are initially implemented graphically on a piece of paper, then the simulation model of the project is formed and tested, finally, the real-life implementation of the product is initiated. The simulation model of the aircraft is generally formed with the help of three-dimensional printing technology. The 3D printers are also used to manufacture the repair and spare parts of a particular machine or system according to the current need. Also, the spare parts of the obsolete models or products can be easily manufactured with the help of 3D printers.
Almost all of the engineering domains make use of three-dimensional printing technology to construct the miniature models of the projects and perform various experiments on them before deploying the actual model in real life at a relatively large scale. 3D technology can also be used by engineers to estimate the budget required for the project, test different design approaches, and find the most optimal and best-suited design. It also facilitates the addition of variations or modifications to the temporary design of the product multiple times with minimum inconvenience.
11. Fashion Designing
The process of three-dimensional printing is prominently being used in fashion designing. The manufacturing of clothes, shoes, accessories and various other related products with the help of a three-dimensional printer is preferred over the traditional procedures of manufacturing goods as it provides the user with the ability to flexibly design and customize the products as per their requirement. One of the prime advantages of using 3D printers in the manufacturing of fashion wearables is that they tend to eliminate the size issue.
The film industry also makes use of three-dimensional printing technology to improve the movie experience. Various props and costumes used in theatres or movies are typically designed with the help of 3D printers as they are easy to access and allow flexible configuration of products in the desired manner. This helps improve the movie experience by making things appear more realistic. The graphics introduced in sci-fi movies highly depend on 3D printing technology.
3D printing plays a prominent role in various dental applications. Typically, a 3D printer can be used in applications such as to perform dental implanting procedures, manufacture dentures, form teeth crowns, etc. 3D printers are also helpful in certain teeth aligning procedures.
14. Instant Repairs
The application of three-dimensional printing technology can be easily observed in the handheld version of the 3D printers, typically known as 3D printer pens. These pens are generally used for the purpose of instant repairing of broken objects such as pavements, boxes, daily life articles, etc.