3D Printing- added dimension to manufacturing

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, was first developed in the 1980s. It has opened doors to design complicated hollow structures. Such structures are extremely difficult to develop with the traditional manufacturing processes. Processes like milling, boring, drilling, turning, etc. which produce up to 70 to 80 % of wastage of material. Here 3D printing comes into the picture. This technology has rapidly moved from prototyping to the manufacturing of actual functional machine components.

 

Aerospace and Defence

3D printing is ideal in the sector of Aerospace and Defence engineering where low volume production is required with extreme precision. Using the technology, complex geometries can be easily manufactured with less investment in tools and equipment. This method is a cost-effective way to produce small batches of parts. 


It helps in creating lightweight parts, reducing payloads, which results in considerable fuel savings. 


It produces less waste than traditional subtractive methods. There is a wide range of materials available for selection from engineering-grade thermoplastics to metal powders (high-performance alloys, titanium, aluminum, stainless steel). 


3D Printed Organs

The method of printing organs is called Stereolithography which uses jelly-like materials known as hydrogels. The researchers released a seven-second video sped up from 19 minutes. It shows a fully printed hand created in very little time than the conventional 3D printing time of 6 hours.


Source: Pioneer Minds




The technology we’ve developed is 10-50 times faster than the industry standard, and it works with large sample sizes that have been very difficult to achieve previously,” said in a statement the study’s co-lead author Ruogang Zhao, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering of University of Buffalo, New York. 


This model significantly reduces part deformation and cellular injuries caused by the prolonged exposure to the environmental stresses that are commonly observed in conventional 3D printing methods. In the future, this technology will boost printing cells with blood vessel networks, different body systems, and a lot more to offer. 


Chemical industry

It is very difficult to predict the structure of a molecule with a description or by a chemical reaction. However, by introducing the 3D printing technology, the chemical structure can be viewed from all angles, easily be understood by touch and hold. With the help of rapid prototyping, molecules can be 3 D printed from scratch, and watch 3D images come alive with a 3D model.


Apart from the Aerospace, medical and chemical sector, it has a wide range of application in the automotive industry, where giants like Ford and Volkswagen produces automotive components and equipment for vehicles.


What holds it back?


Mass production is key for any industry to survive. In 3D printing, it takes insane time to print even a single component. It takes more time and cost for the mass production of components. 




 

The fatigue life of the 3D printed component is very less. Fatigue life measures how many cycles of stress a component can withstand before breaking. 3D printed material has a lot of imperfections that cause cracks easily within the structure which leads to fatigue breakdown. Hence the final product requires a significant amount of post-processing techniques like Hot isostatic pressing, used to fill pores of structure. 








8 Comments

  1. 3D printing could be the next big thing, as we have seed some videos flying around the internet of people making buildings or a human organs out of it. But as mentioned here it needs to cut down the costs of manufacturing. With just few tweaks who knows it might replace giant plastic products manufacturing companies one day.

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  2. Sir I read your all blogs and they are really very knowledgeable. I am in 11 th standard but after reading your blogs my knowledge is anhensed very much. please keep on it . It's really good

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