We hate to say it, but if you haven’t heard about 3D printing by now, you might have gotten caught under a heavy piece of furniture. We kid, but it has really taken the printing (and technical for that matter) world by storm. The truth is that the technology is not really new, but it’s only recently begun being used outside of engineering and even inside people’s homes. Want to learn more? Read on for what you should know about 3D printing.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is the creation of a three-dimensional object. How does a 3D printer work? It may sound complex, but can be explained quite simply. As HP Tech Takes explains, “At its core, 3D printing is the creation of a three-dimensional solid object printed in successive thin layers of material, as directed by a digital file you create.”
As we mentioned above, this was initially crucial to engineering prototypes but has since expanded into being useful in many other industries. It is now being used to cast in concrete for engineering and architecture projects. It can also be used for printing and customizing auto parts. The automotive industry is now using the technology to better simulate crash impacts by assembling crash test dummies. And perhaps most astoundingly, researchers have begun using it to enlist isomalt sugar as a scaffolding to create complex biological structures for tissue and human cell growth. And it’s not altogether strange to begin seeing these in people’s home offices either. We take a further look at that below.
What is 3D Printing Used for in the Home?
They’re not a household name just yet, but people have begun to realize how many uses there are for 3D printing in the home. Some DIYers use it to fashion unique gifts for friends and family members. Other resourceful folks have even begun to use it for repairing furniture and appliances as well as to create prototypes. It’s also been enlisted to bring cutting edge art projects to life.
How Does a 3D Printer Differ From an Inkjet Printer?
It’s similar to an inkjet printer in that it automatically builds the model from the bottom upward at the request of the digital file. However, as this ExplainThatStuff.com article notes, “Instead of using ink, which would never build up to much volume, the printer deposits layers of molten plastic or powder and fuses them together (and to the existing structure) with adhesive or ultraviolet light.”
What Are the Benefits of 3D Printing?
For one, 3D printing allows to you to produce complex yet functional shapes while using less material than traditional manufacturing means. Some of the other benefits of 3D printing as listed in this article by Tractus3D.com are:
- Reduction in project time
- Staying ahead of the competition with cutting edge technology
- Reduction of errors
- On Demand Production
You might be wondering what confidentiality has to do with 3D printing. As the Tractus3D.com article puts it, “Continuous prototyping and manufacturing in-house with a 3D printer ensures that designs never leave the company premises, safeguarding your intellectual property.”
Never thought you’d need a 3D printer in your home or work environment? After reading this—what are you waiting for?