World in Three Dimensions-The 3D Printing Technology

World in Three Dimensions-The 3D Printing Technology

In the 3D printing, a 3D printer needs instructions for what to print. It needs a data file that contains the product’s design that is created with the use of a 3D modelling application. The application creates the file that is sent to the 3D printer.

Following three technologies are used for 3D printing:

  • Selective laser sintering (SLS)
  • Fused deposition modelling (FDM)
  • Stereolithography (SLA)

 3D Printing

Materials used for 3D Printing

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene): Safe and strong-used for things like car bumpers, and kids toys. It is made from spaghetti like filament. It creates 3 layers per 1mm of produced object.

PLA (Polylactic Acid): Easiest material to work-it is a biodegradable thermoplastic that has been derived from renewable resources such as corn starch and sugar canes.

Ceramics: It has a shiny appearance and is heat resistant. Mostly used for home decor and tableware products. It creates 6 layers per 1mm of produced object.

Titanium: It is the strongest 3D printing material available. Titanium powder is used for printing purpose. It creates 30 layers per 1mm of produced object.

Bronze: Bronze is a cheap and strong material for printing 3D models in metal.

Resins: Ideal for small or very finely-detailed visual models, where high accuracy is required. Transparent resins are used for models needing a good, smooth surface with a transparent look. It creates 10 layers per 1mm of produced object.

Stainless steel: Stainless steel is very strong and the cheapest form of metal printing. Used for printing very large objects. It creates 6 layers per 1mm of produced object.

Glass: Glass powder is used layer-by-layer and bonded with adhesive spray for the printing of glass products.


3D Printing Trends

Currently 3D printers are being used for producing toys, art, jewellery, aerospace components, architecture, fashion design and interior design.3D Printing Application

Surgeons are now producing mockups of parts of their patient that need to be operated on.

A research team from Washington State University lead by Dr Sushmita Bose printed a bone-like material comprising calcium phosphate,
silicon and zinc. This material was integrated with a section of undeveloped human bone cells. In few days, growth of new bone was seen along the structure. This new bone-like material dissolved into human body eventually and did not harm the patient.

Bio-ink comprising stem cells and cells from a patient are being used layer by layer to form a tissue. Human body organs such as bladders, blood vessels and kidney portions have been replicated using this technology.


Future of 3D Printing

3D printing is an important application not just for its current capabilities, but for the wide future potential of the technology.

Solar Panels: 3D printed solar panels are a concept being explored by scientists. The environment-friendly material is being used. A combination of copper, gallium, indium, selenide is being tested for the production of 3D solar panels. It will cost low, so that costs can be passed down to homeowners. These 3D printed solar Panels will be easier to install and perform better in cloudy day, thanks to their low weight.

Virtually any food: In next few years a 3D printer will be found in each house that will be capable to print healthy meals from powders.

Liquid metal parts: Recently researchers from a university developed a metal alloy that remains at a liquid state at room temperature. Now, the next step is to design a 3D printer for the purpose of printing this liquid metal. With this printer, it would be possible to create bendy electronics products.

Bionic ear and jaw bone:  The potential of 3D printing in the medical field is incredible. A bionic ear was printed from calf cells and hydrogel and antennae made from nanoparticles. This bionic ear was capable enough to hear at superhuman range. In 2013, an 83-year-old Belgian woman got transplanted jaw bone printed by 3D printers.


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