3D Printing set to take over
3D Printing is set to take over; it is a revolutionary piece of technology which allows solid three-dimensional objects to be produced from a digital file. It can be used in a wide range of industries from producing car parts to making implants and many other products.
It is ideal for prototyping and short production runs as it eliminates the investment in tooling required to make new components. This means it becomes economical to produce items that would otherwise have required too large an investment for the numbers sold.
Over the next few years, we are likely to see 3D printers appearing in schools and colleges to teach about design and manufacturing processes. The potential for 3D printing is huge and is set to increase thanks to their flexibility and lower costs.
It’s likely that in the future 3D printers will be sufficiently affordable for home use, making them attractive to hobbyists, model makers and crafters. They are able to design toys and jewellery on your computer- or download ready-made designs from the web- and simply print them off at home.
Machines like the Cubex 3D printer create objects using PLA (Poly Lactic Acid). This has a lower melting point than the materials used in some other printers and it sets quickly. This means less chance of distortion and warping. PLA is good for the environment too as unlike other plastics it’s made from corn starch not petrochemicals. It can be painted with acrylic paints and when it reaches the end of its life is biodegradable, making it environmentally friendly from start to finish. Compared to conventional manufacturing processes 3D printing uses less energy too.
It will not be too long before each household has something that has been produced using a 3D printing process. It is a technology that holds the potential to transform the world we live in.
How do you feel about the prospect of 3D taking over?