The history of technology demonstrates that innovation–more often than not–yields greater efficiency and higher productivity. When the 19th century dawned, so did carbon paper, making the reproduction of printed documents a fast and simple process rather than the arduous chore it once was. Time has progressed but the cutting-edge spirit lives on in one of its latest manifestations: 3D printing. Also known as additive manufacturing, this technology produces three-dimensional objects from computer-generated designs. As a writer composes a document on a word processing program, producing a hard copy by means of a printer, so an engineer can now do likewise.
How does it work?
Just as a standard printer uses ink or toner to create content on paper, 3D printing can employ plastic, concrete, metal or other materials. The four necessary ingredients to creating a three-dimensional object are the material, a computer, the 3D printer, and the applicable software — known commonly as computer-aided design, or CAD. The printer is constructed such that it creates objects incrementally by placing one layer of material atop another. The dimensions, shapes, and thickness of each layer are dictated by the CAD software. This continual augmentation of material is why this kind of printing qualifies as additive manufacturing.
Conceived at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and related to other innovations like CNC machining service, this new method promises a seemingly endless list of applications. Key to each one of them is the ability to synthesize the needed materials according to the exact specifications of the software.
Uses for Additive Manufacturing
As airlines, military services and freight carriers seek to reduce fuel costs and emissions; reduce the weight of their planes; and enhance their fleets with greater longevity, they turn to a 3D printing service for durable yet lightweight and available replacement parts. These components constitute engines and turbines, as well as various elements of the interior cabin. They also play a role in space exploration vessels.
Dental Implants and Medical Prostheses
In prior years, wearers of medical prosthetic devices–artificial limbs, for example–had a difficult time adapting to their use. With 3D printing service, doctors and engineers can tailor these anatomical restorations to the specific needs and body of the patient. These include hands, legs, and feet. Designed for all ages, 3D prostheses often sell for only a fraction of the price of their traditionally manufactured counterparts. Dental patients, too, can appreciate crowns, implants, and dentures made with 3D printers. The speed and convenience of these fixes improve workflow and customer service at dental offices and laboratories.
Fashion and Textiles
A designer’s label makes all the difference when clothes are important. Yet even some of the most prominent apparel creators are turning to 3D technology to explore new directions in their craft. 3D printers help them to experiment and view their conceptions as tangible clothing as opposed to standard drawings and sketches. A 3D printing service, then, benefits leaders in all kinds of industry.