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Today we see a greater widespread and application of process manufacturing turned digital, marking a new beginning for engineering and production. The label “Manufactured digitally” has emerged as the greatest challenge to traditional manufacturing technology. The technology allows users to print physical creations of whatever they like.
According to The Independent, 3D printing or additive manufacturing is a new generation of machine that can used to produce or create a number of goods and every day items. The Independent article also explains that the process is like printing the same page hundreds of times, eventually leading to build up of ink on the paper. After layer and layer of ink, the object will gradually take shape. If your 3d object is designed in your PC and connected to a 3D printer, you will be able to produce your creation instantly.
In the commercial manufacturing world, 3D printing is generally referred to as additive manufacturing, wherein thin layers of molten material, such as plastic, are gradually composed and placed on top of each other, ultimately leading to the creation of an object.
What is amazing is the possibilities with 3D printing; a brand new cup for your morning coffee, air craft engine parts, even human organs. According to Live Science.com, 3D printing can brings medical science high-speed computer-guided precision when printing living cells, layer by layer, to make body parts such as hearts, kidneys and livers.
According to the Wall Street Journal “printers that can print 1000 materials have been developed including hard plastic, flexible plastic, ceramics and metals.” However 3D printing is not new. According to Mashable.com, Chuck Hull invented stereolithography, popularly known as solid imaging, in the mid-1980 and was the founder of 3D systems.
Large, greasy production facilities with oily machines operated by a bunch of tools and hundreds of men inside big factory sheds may become ancient history in the years to come. 3D printing technology is more flexible, cost-effective and more reliable in contrast with conventional manufacturing methods and will have a disruptive impact on many industries in the future.
Today, 3D printing technology is on the verge of creating a boomerang effect on traditional production lines and may hammer down concepts of big production facilities because everything can be done in our own backyards.
For example you can print you own hardware tools at home without the hassle of traveling to buy it in a store. That is the magic of manufacturing. Is this technology going to reshape tomorrow’s manufacturing platform and techniques? It all depends how well this technology helps in reducing costs, and its ability of cater the demand.
However, additive manufacturing should be considered a groundbreaking technology as it brings us the opportunity to produce and design at home. It is one of those occasions where technology is both friendly and futuristic at the same time. This manufacturing method has created an opportunity for artists, hobbyists, designers and other creative folks to create whatever they imagine, at a low cost.
Image credit: 3D Printing and Physibles via Facebook