The Essence of 3D Printing Technology
3D printer is a special device that allows creating items in three dimensions, unlike the conventional printer that displays only two-dimensional data on a sheet of paper. The basis of the three-dimensional printer is the principle of layered manufacturing, or building up a hard, physical model. Initially, the CAD-program creates the layout of a physical object in three dimensions. Then, this three-dimensional data of the prototype is electronically downloaded to a printer which creates a physical object sequentially from one layer to another.
All objects printed on this device are constructed exactly from individual layers. The printing process begins with the lower layer, after which the device waits for its drying or fixing and applies the next layer on the top of the first. The process continues in the same way until the completion of the manufacturing.
The thickness of such layer reaches on average only 0.1 mm. At the same time the objects created on the 3D printer can have a height of 75 cm or more. At the observance of the printing technology the result is a real object with the specified characteristics which were given during the modeling. The cultivation process itself actually takes place without human intervention. It is only necessary to specify the layout for the 3D printer, which can be created using specialized software.
The entire manufacturing process is controlled by software which eliminates the risk of any technical defects or errors. A variety of materials can be used, depending on the technology used for the cultivation of the item. Among them are plastic, nylon, fiberglass, composite materials, polycarbonates, titanium (3D Printing).
3D Printing and Business
3D printing has opened great opportunities for experiments in such areas as architecture, engineering, medicine, education, fashion design, small-lot production, jewelry, and even in the food industry.
In architecture, for example, 3D printing allows creating three-dimensional models of buildings or even entire districts with the entire infrastructure - squares, parks, roads and street lighting. Due to the cheap gypsum composite material which is used, there is a low cost of ready-made models. And more than 390 thousand CMYK color shades allow realizing any, even most courageous imagination of the architect.
In building industry we have all grounds to assume that in the nearest future construction of buildings will be much faster and easier. Californian engineers created a 3D printing system for large objects. It works on the principle of a construction crane, building up the walls from the layers of concrete. Such a printer can build a two-storied house during 20 hours. After that, workers will only have to carry out decoration elements.
3D printers are gradually conquering the strong position in the small-scale production. Most of all these technologies are used for the production of exclusive products such as art objects, figures of characters for role-playing games, prototypes of models of future goods or any structural details.
In medicine, due to the three-dimensional printing technology, doctors got the opportunity to reconstruct a copy of the human skeleton, which allows working out techniques more precisely to increase the guarantee of successful operations.
3D printers are increasingly used in the field of dental prosthetics because these technologies allow obtaining the prosthesis much faster than with the help of traditional manufacture.
As we can see, the possibilities offered by 3D printing in almost all spheres of human activity are truly unlimited. Printers which create culinary masterpieces, reproduce human organs and prostheses, toys and teaching aids, clothing and footwear are not the imagination of fiction writers, but realities of the modern life (3D Printing).
Influence of 3D Printing on Humanity
Recently 3D printing was something beyond the fantasy, but today really came to our lives. The massive spread of technology that enables to do 3D models of any complexity started to strongly influence our lives and the further dissemination of technology, on the basis of which it became possible to conduct small-scale production, will lead to even greater changes.
Optimistic scientists say about the technological paradise where the concept of individualism will dominate. Fast creation of products will allow manufacturing most of the things independently or on personal requests.
In connection with the development of technologies plotting courses became especially popular, 3D prototyping is studied almost by every student. All progressive mankind learns to create something new, which certainly has a positive impact on improving the personal qualities and the ability to think.
A number of already created developments resulted in using this technology for the manufacture of parts to assemble the entire house, production of organs for transplantation, clothes, shoes and even food.
If we talk about the pessimistic trend, it can be mentioned as the most realistic, as it talks about the social danger carried by the development of 3D-technology. As this technology can be used for dual purpose, there would definitely appear such people who will necessarily apply 3D printing for criminal objectives. Such side of 3D printing will certainly make governments of many countries to take a number of statutory prohibitions on the use of this technology for dangerous purposes. For example, some countries have already issued a law banning the manufacture by 3D printing the parts of weapons and guns themselves. Like any other innovative technology, 3D printing makes it possible to more easily realize the human creativity, regardless of his abilities and inclinations. We may only wish that the abuse of application of the technology in individual cases will not lead to some strict bans (IFLA).
IFLA. “The future impact of 3D printing”. Trends Ifla. N.d. Web. 30 April 2016
3D Printing. “What is 3D printing?”. 3dprinting. N.d. Web. 30 April 2016