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Blog - What promise 3D Printers?

What promise 3D Printers?
By 3DPEDIA 2/19/2016 12:21 AM
The history of 3D printers, which commercialized particularly in 1980 - 1990s, is as old as the history of the computers which are actively used in every home today. Recently 3D printers come more and more into our lives and attract more and more people every day. Well, what is a 3D printer, how it works, where it is used?

With 3D Printers designs are converted into real, usable objects by using .STL formatwhich is anoutput of computer design programssuch as SolidWorks, 3dmax, AutoCAD, Google Sketchup. In this process objects are not shaped only by drilling or cutting like in the CNC machines. According to the target product different technologies are also used; SLS (Selective Laser Sintering -Laser Sintering), FDM (Fused Deposition Model -Composite Masonry), Stereolithhography (polymer curing) are the most common used technologies. It can be said that among them the most widely used technology is FDM technology. With this method, three-dimensional computer design turns into three dimensional objects by stacking two dimensional layers on end. Unlike our standard home printer’s ink cartridges 3D printers use different materials like thermoplastic, metal, ceramic powder, paper, photo polymer, polycarbonate according to the production techniques and target product. These raw materials are drawn into the printer’s reservoir during production and melted. This melted solution is used to build up layers of design. After cooling and hardening ofthe formed design, at the end 3D printer provides a three dimensional object which is same as the digital design.

Nowadays, almost everything with a 3D model can be printed. Objects without a 3D model, can be easily transferred to digital environment with the help of 3D scannersand transformed to another format to communicate with 3D printers to be a new 3D object. 3D printers are used especially in automotive, medical and construction sectors in order to prepare prototypes, but also in other industriessuch as education, games, gifts and clothing sectors which appeal to more people. As well as the clothing consists of moving parts, shoes, personal designed objects, popular sport shoe brands Adidas and Nike, we all know and use them, have designed special shoes and started preparations for launching them where 3D printers used in their production. In addition to the bicycles which all parts are produced with 3D printers, NASA also sent 3D printers to international space station to help astronauts. Additionally, NASA has been working on food production with 3D printers to overcome the nutrition challenges on space travel. Thus, with the help of 3D printers astronauts can be able to convert basic nutritional food to more enjoyable foods like pizza, pasta or steak. Besides, especially the products produced in the biomedical field improve the quality of patient’s lives while making doctor / patient communication more visual and straightforward.Test operations before risky surgery with 1-1 original size 3D printouts, artificial veins, ears, hand / leg prostheses are really promising for the future. Thanks to the 3D printers patients before having a cosmetic surgery can be able to compare their before and after appearances not on a 2 dimensional paper but with 3 dimensional objects. Besides all these positive added value in the medical sector, the companies Audi andBoeingare not hesitating to announce theirmarket that they have been making researches on3D manufacturing. The R&D Team of Audi indicates that their biggest goal is integrating3D metal printers with their mass production. Although Boeing already use around 20.000 3D print outs, with a new patent application Boeing plan to replace most of the pieces in planes with 3D printer outputs.

3D printers are machines that designed to see the final version of the products before their mass production process,in other words to evaluate the prototype. Thus, with early detection of potential problems and taken measures cost-saving is planning. As well as cost-saving it also promises revolution in logistics. Holding products in different stock centers, transportation to end users, taking precautions in these processesfor any possible delay is a huge time and material burden. On behalf of to overcome these problems, maybe in the future digital designs will be sold mostly in onlineand final consumer will be responsible for supplying the output. Perhaps we are on the edge of the most important change relates to the production after the industrial revolution. When we look after all the 3D technology in general it seems to bring a lot of innovation in our lives and the boundary,here,is just the imagination of human.