Is 3D Printing the new face of Manufacturing? Some experts are saying yes. Find out what all the fuss is about.
The word “print” conjures up different meaning for different people. Some might think of writing text out in block letters, others might envision a laser jet printer shooting out pages of copy, and people in the manufacturing industry might think of punching pieces out of sheet metal or other materials. But, I'm sure that few people would imagine using the term to apply to creating three dimensional objects.
The advances in 3D printing technology, which allows printer machines to fully create customized objects, may revolutionize the way that manufacturing is done in the future. The benefits of this type of technology is that unlike mass-produced goods that all look the same, the printing process can give customization and personalization without additional costs.
Right now, the technology is still new and cost prohibitive, but as that changes, it could make a huge difference to manufacturing. Right now, a 3D printer can cost upwards of $20,000 with the top of the line models costing around $58,000.
If you aren't familiar with the process of 3D printing, this is how it works.
- First, you create a 3D design using an AutoCad program. The design can be a figurine, a coffee mug, a special part made out of metal or whatever it is that you need.
- Then, you upload the design to the 3D printer and fill the printer with the base material for creating the object.
- The printer then creates the object to your specifications inside the build chamber. There are several different types of printers, depending on the type of materials and the curing method.
Here is a picture of a design turning into an actual product:
It will be interesting to see how this new technology will change the way that companies manufacture goods and provide custom products to meet specific needs.
Have you ever seen 3D printing in action? Let me know in the comments.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for ManufacturingWorkersBlog. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.