The Many Uses of 3D Printing
Whether you are a designer looking for a new tool for your production line or a manufacturer seeking to cut costs, 3D printing can help you produce your product more efficiently and quickly. It is an increasingly popular production technology, and more companies are realizing the potential for its applications. Some 3D printed parts are very light and strong, while others are made from materials specifically tailored to the application. The technology is not only useful in the manufacturing industry; it can also be used to create bespoke parts.
In the early years of 3D printing, the focus was on polymers. Then, a new technology called fused deposition modeling was invented. This technique used a liquid polymer that hardened layer by layer until the object was completed. FDM is often the most affordable method.
Another method is material jetting. This process involves spraying colored glue-like binder onto successive layers of powder. Often used to create parts in full colour, material jetting is the most expensive method, but it is also the most precise. However, the parts it produces tend to be brittle and are not as durable as parts produced by more traditional manufacturing methods.
Another method of 3D printing is called stereolithography. This method uses a selective light source to melt and solidify the cross-section of an object in very thin layers. It was introduced in 1984, and it is still used today.
In addition to being used for manufacturing purposes, 3D printing can be used for medical applications, such as creating prosthetic limbs for patients. The technology has also been used to make custom hearing aids. It can also be used to create moulds for replacement parts on machinery and mechanical devices. For example, GE Aviation has used 3D printing to create fuel nozzles for its LEAP aircraft engines. This has saved the company $3 million per aircraft.
3D printing can also be used to create emergency shelters in the event of a disaster. In fact, scientists at Lund University in Sweden have created the world’s first live 3D printed band. It was modeled after the Stradivarius violin.
The rail industry is also using the technology to repair rails. One of the quickest methods is multi-jet modeling. This process uses several jets to spray colored glue-like binder onto successive layers. The final part must be strong enough to stand up to significant wear for a certain period of time.
Aside from making prototypes and replacement parts, 3D printing can also be used for making architectural models. For example, Dubai has plans to construct 25% of its new buildings using 3D printing by 2030. Similarly, NASA has been accepted to develop a colony design for the moon and Mars.
3D printing can also be used for making bespoke musical instruments. It can create parts that are water repellent and have high heat resistance. In addition, it can be used to make prosthetics and artificial teeth. It can also be used to make surgical guides, which can be used to help patients recover from injuries. In fact, 3D printing is even being used to create made-to-measure implants.