3D Printing: Innovation, History, and Impact

3D Printing: Innovation, History, and Impact

3D printing is the innovation of modern technology; it is any of different processes in which material is joined with the control of a computer to create a three-dimensional object with the material being added together layer by layer. During the 90s, the 3D printing technique was considered as a medium to produce functional or aesthetical prototypes. In short, 3D printing can be defined as a process of creating three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.

The creation of a 3D printed object is done by using additive processes. In this process, an object is created by laying down the layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers is seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object. 3D printing allows creating difficult shapes by using very little material.

History of 3D printing

In the history of 3D printing, the sci-fi author, Arthur C. Clarke is a famous name. He was the first person, who had described the basic functions of a 3D printer in 1964. In 1987, the first 3D printer was released by Chuck Hull.

According to Wohlers the uses of 3D printing is increasing on a rapid pace; in the year 2015 to 2017, more than 1 million desktop 3D printers were sold globally, in 2017, the sales of industrial metal printers got doubled compared to the previous year.

Impact of 3D Printing

Advantages

  • The efficiency and unique methodology make 3D printing quicker. It is faster than numerous manufacturing techniques like molds and subtractive production. From a prototype to final production, 3D printing observes ideas and produces the design instantly.
  • There is no doubt that labour costs play a huge role in determining the amount of money to be spent on creating a prototype. Traditional prototyping methodologies are expensive as they need a lot of human labour. While 3D printing requires only one person to issue a print command so, there is no need to hire many people.
  • 3D printing provides design freedom and allows customizing any design as per choice. Because the present additive manufacturing technologies work in making single parts one at a time, they are most appropriate for one-off production.

Disadvantages

  • As one machine finishes the task of many individuals, it reduces the work in this field. The reduction of employment in manufacturing will affect the economy and slow down the progress.
  • Presently, the size of objects created with 3d printers is limited in numbers. Though, very soon, large items like architectural structures will be built using 3d printing.
  • No doubt, the traditional manufacturing of products has a huge variety of raw materials to use. Present-day, 3d printers are able to work almost 100 different raw materials and building products that use more raw materials are still under progress.
  • Violation of Copyrights is the biggest disadvantage of 3d printing. If anyone gets a hold of a blueprint, he can counterfeit products easily. It is making difficult for copyright holders to protect their rights and businesses producing.
  • 3d printing is giving place for the production of dangerous items like plastic knives, guns, and any other hazardous objects. It makes easier for terrorists and criminals to carry weapons and other such items easily.

Bottom Line

3D printing contains numerous positive points; it has some disadvantages as well.  One side where it is transforming the way of printing and making it cheaper, another side, it is reducing the job opportunity in the industry, so 3d is the mixture of both. Hopefully, emerging innovation will bring more positive changes.

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