3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), refers to processes used to create a three-dimensional object in which layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. Objects can be of almost any shape or geometry and are produced using digital model data from a 3D model or another electronic data source such as an Additive Manufacturing File (AMF) file. STL is one of the most common file types that 3D printers can read. Thus, unlike material removed from a stock in the conventional machining process, 3D printing or AM builds a three-dimensional object from computer-aided design (CAD) model or AMF file by successively adding material layer by layer.
How 3D Printing is useful everywhere
3D Printing applications broaden horizon of many industries
Sculpteo 3D Printing service partners with many industry pioneers to challenge product development processes and production habits. 3D Printing applications cover various sectors from education to industry, and the whole value chain from prototypes to spare part management. In this page, you’ll learn how Sculpteo online 3D printing service can help you develop faster, produce better and improve your business. A section focuses also on personal uses of 3D Printing.
APPLICATION OF 3D PRINTING
1. 3D printing applications in Architecture and Construction
Many leading scale model makers as well architectural firms have already reaped the benefits of 3D printing in architecture. 3D printed architectural scale models effectively convey the final appearance of design making design tangible leaving a lasting visual impression.
2. 3D printing applications in Maritime Industry
3D printing and the U.S. military are starting to become very good friends, such as seen with a recent collaboration between the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. Navy, which saw the creation of a submarine hull prototype in only 4 weeks! In order to achieve such a big feat, the partners used the Big Area Additive Manufacturing technology (BAAM) to create the 30 foot, 6 carbon fiber composite material sections.
Because the cost of manufacturing a typical submarine hull is usually between $600,000 and $800,000 with building taking around 3 to 5 months to complete, it is expected that 3D printing will help to reduce these costs by 90%!. With this latest endeavor, we are sure to see bigger and greater things for the U.S. military soon!
3. 3D printing applications in Healthcare and Medical
Medical applications for 3D printing are expanding rapidly and are expected to revolutionize health care. Medical uses for 3D printing, both actual and potential, can be organized into several broad categories, including: tissue and organ fabrication; creation of customized prosthetics, implants, and anatomical models; and pharmaceutical research regarding drug dosage forms, delivery, and discovery. The application of 3D printing in medicine can provide many benefits, including: the customization and personalization of medical products, drugs, and equipment; cost-effectiveness; increased productivity; the democratization of design and manufacturing; and enhanced collaboration. However, it should be cautioned that despite recent significant and exciting medical advances involving 3D printing, notable scientific and regulatory challenges remain and the most transformative applications for this technology will need time to evolve.
4. 3d printing applications in Chemical Industry
Give new life to your projects in the chemical industry by using 3D printing.
It can be hard to capture the exact look and feel of a molecular structure with only a description. However by introducing 3D printing technology you can look at the structure from all angles. You can also hold and touch it which adds another level of understanding. Thanks to rapid prototyping, you will be able to 3D print your molecules and watch your 3D image to come alive with your 3D model.
You can 3D print in several materials, such as plastic or resin and many more. These materials have great technical features. For example both plastic and resin are durable and solid enough to easily move and use the 3D printing. You can also use our multicolor material which allows for distinction between molecules on the same chemical compound.
Limitations of 3d printing
- Surface texture is generally too rough.
- Materials have low heat deflection temperatures.
- Materials generally have low strengths.
- Material prices are far too high restricting the growth of the market.
- Parts are generally not as dense as parts made by CNC and other processes.
- Color is only possible with Mcor and Zcorp and these do not provide for functional parts.
- It is too difficult to design for 3D printing.
- The software toolchain is too complex.
- It is too difficult to 3D model.
- Making complex parts or organic parts requires a lot of 3D modeling training.
- 3D scanners are not good enough and create holes in final files.
- Remeshing software is not good enough.
- Printers are not large enough.
- Printers are not fast enough.
- Build quality and uptime on desktop systems is terrible.
- Industrial AM machines are too expensive.
- Machines are generally too slow.
- Very little R&D is done in 3D printing.
- Every process is different so silos are being developed not one common development effort.
- The AMF file format has not been widely adopted by software tools leaving us stuck with STL.
- Many desktop people are over-promising and using overclaim to sell their products.
- The media is saying “with a 3D printer you can make anything on the desktop” which it untrue.
- There is a reality distortion field whereby people assume that all the inventions done by many companies over many decades are simultaneously happening now.
- Many industrial 3D printing vendors are prisoners of their own patents, developing only technologies that fit squarely into their portfolio.
- There is too much manual labor in manufacturing with 3D printing, 30% of costs.
- Certification of materials is taking too long and not enough materials are certified for many uses.
- There is no closed loop control on machines.
- It is difficult to obtain surface finishes and looks of parts that are comparable to mass production parts.
This report shed light on some interesting trends in 3D printing. The price history was somewhat predictable with massive drops in the initial years. In the years 2010 – 2012, there was vast developments in available technology and the introduction of many new companies. Both of these factors would play a large role in the average price dropping considerably. Another interesting statistic was the lack of improvement in the average print volume. As previously mentioned this may have been a result of different priorities and limited room for improvement on the cheaper, lower-end of the market. The final prediction was that the average price of a fully assembled entry level 3D printer would drop below $300 in the year 2018. I feel this is a fairly accurate and realistic prediction. Even if it is 5 years before they are in every household, the printers will become increasingly available. Already in the USA, there are many private stores that own and rent 3D printers.