What is 3D Printing and the Benefits of 3D PRINTING
3D printing also known as additive manufacturing is a major design technique used by architectural, engineering and graphic designers for creating all shapes and sizes of solid objects. For those with little or no knowledge of 3D printing, a simple description of it state it as a process of making or designing any three dimensional object virtually from a digital model.
Printing digital models is done virtually with the use of 3D computer aided design software. This software allows the user import digital models into a workspace, and use the different tools available on its platform to carry out a series of modeling functions such as extrusions, intrusions and granular binding of the different materials/components used to create a particular model.
3D printing is used in the Following Industries Engineering and Construction Industry: most engineering manufacturing processes involves the design of different electrical and mechanical components which when put together make a whole system. The use of model printing allows engineers digitally design a 3D model of each component of a system from an already existing digital image. While in construction, 3D printing can be used to create digital 3D models of structures such as cantilever beams.
Industrial Design: industrial design is quite similar to engineering designs, and additive manufacturing is used to create digital prototypes of scanned drawing of any invention. This prototype can also be animated ton show the different functions of a manufactured product.
Architecture: generally, architects draft their designs and structural plans in 2 dimensions, with the use of CAD drafting tools as well as manual tools. In some cases, the designer or employer might request for a realistic representation of an architectural draft and this can be done with the use of 3D CAD software to develop a 3 dimensional representation of a particular draft.
Medical Industries: innovative medical aids, appliances and prosthetics are usually virtually designed first to allow the manufacturers have an in-depth glimpse into the functionality and capability of a particular invention. 3D printing makes the developing of such devices in 3 dimensions possible.
What is a 3D Printer? A 3D printer can be described as a device that can be used to print and scan objects to create a digital model of the particular object. The majority of printers available in today’s market, were built for commercial use which makes the affordability of a commercial printer above the purchasing power of the average CAD user but there are some manufacturers trying to eliminate this problem by providing printers for domestic use. Companies like Rep Rap and Solid doodle are currently setting the pace and they have 3D printers that can be bought at approximately $600 to $800.
Application of 3D Printing
As stated earlier, additive manufacturing is used in different industries to simplify manufacturing process in the following ways:
Rapid Prototyping: additive manufacturing is used in industries and institutions that require quick visual representation of industrial items. 3D printing machines accelerate the prototyping process due to the high processing speed of these machines.
Mass Customization: the mobile phone and smart devices/tablets industry utilizes these techniques to create multiple designs for phone cases, keyboards and customized tablet holders. These designs can in turn be customized en-mass for public use.
The Benefits of 3D Printing
The benefits of additive manufacturing are self-evident to individuals who have some knowledge about its use in different manufacturing process and capacities but I shall outline its basic benefits and how it proposes to change the face of mass production in the near future.
It allows designers to print components and entire products in minutes. This ability is bound to speed up the customization and manufacture process of entire industries.
3D printing is poised to eliminate the use of cardboard to craft 3 dimensional representations of architectural structure/plans. By employing the use of different CAD design features such as extruding, and animating, architects can create real-time renderings of an architectural draft.
Artisans have now gone digital for they can create sculptures, and draw 3D representations of their ideas with the use of CAD software applications.
3D printers allow artist/graphic designers create realistic representations of historical objects, without the fear of loss or damage occurring to the object.