3D printing is possibly one of the most important technologies to be developed this century. Its possibilities are limitless. There are so many life changing benefits associated with 3D Printing that we decided to dedicate a slot in our Blog and regularly keep you updated with the latest news on this fantastic method of printing.
For those of you who are not totally familiar with 3D Printing, let us bring you up to speed with this mind boggling technology.
What is 3D Printing?
3D printing aka additive manufacturing is simply the process of making three dimensional objects from a digital file. In 3D Printing an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire process is complete. It is very like wide format printing where the ink is laid down on paper through the print head over a series of passes to complete the image.
With the advancement in 3D technology we can expect to see people purchasing consumer friendly printers for their home. The first step in 3D printing is to create a digital blueprint of the object you want to create. Using specialist software makes this quite an easy task. You can use modelling software like Blender or visit websites like Thingyverse to source objects other users have already created.
Some printers use renewable bio plastic to create the objects. When data is send to the printer the plastic is melted and deposited to the plate where it cools and waits for the next layer to be deposited. Plastic is the most commonly used material in 3D printing but not exclusively.
What Materials can be used?
Many different materials can be used for 3D printing, such as ABS plastic, PLA, polyamide (nylon), glass filled polyamide, stereolithography materials (epoxy resins), silver, titanium, steel, wax, photopolymers and polycarbonate.
Human cells are now been tested in a process called bioprinting. The technology and is still at an early stage but there is great hope and excitement in the medical world. According to Dr Muhanad Hatamleh, a senior clinical maxillofacial prosthetist at King’s College Hospital,
“3D printing is revolutionising every aspect of the medical industry. It saves time, it saves more lives and it improves the efficiency of the surgery as well”- Dr Muhanad Hatamleh
3D printing advancement is moving at such an exponential rate its difficult to keep up with the technology. One thing that seems to resonate especially in the U.S is that desktop 3D printers will revolutionise households across the world. Imagine breaking your favourite cup and then printing it and drinking tea from it minutes later. Its like having Dunnes Stores, Homebase, Woodies, Wal-Mart in the palm of your hand. What a thought.