3d printing has been around for about 40 years which implies that it is not as new as you think. It was not popular because only a few people could access it. However, it is fast becoming more accessible.
So, why is 3d printing important?
The prices of 3d printers are falling and almost everyone can now print their imaginations.
Video: Why is 3D Printing Important
If you prefer learning by video, this article is also explained here.
Currently, more people apart from designers and engineers can benefit from this advancement in technology. The printers are gradually becoming smaller and easy to move around.
Since we exist in an era where fast results are desired, 3d printing is indeed relevant.
What are the Benefits of 3D Printing?
The benefits of 3D printing are:
1. Quick action. It creates prototypes and objects with accurate precision and speed.
2. Unique design.
3. Low cost for small scale production
6. High quality
7. Consistent pattern
8. Improved production
What is 3D printing in Manufacturing?
3D printing in manufacturing is the use of digital models to produce objects. This process involves using a 3D printer to manufacture objects layer by layer. Also, it helps manufacturers to design prototypes in no time.
Additionally, corrections can be made to a design’s dimension before printing. And if you need to create a complex design, it is possible.
Irrespective of your printer’s size, all you need to do is print in segments and couple them later with glue or screws.
3d printing is changing our outlook towards business as consumers can now give specifications on the product they need.
How Does 3D Printing Affect the Economy?
3D printing affects the economy in the following ways:
1. 3D encourages the production of new products and services that are of immense value.
2. It minimizes the use of plastics and reduces waste in the environment
3. It also reduces the cost of production through the use of effective and efficient techniques.
Soon, one may walk into a boutique and get a dress printed instead of trying to make a choice from the available designs.
Children are artistic in nature and many of them have catalogs of artworks at home and in school. When you introduce 3d printing to your kids, the results can be terrific. Because with this technology, they can breathe life into every piece of artwork.
How Does 3D Printing Work For Children?
3D printing works for children by using a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to design simple 3-dimensional objects like cups, toys, and shapes. These objects are printed out slice by slice with a 3D printer.
Just like the invention of computers, 3d printers are gradually becoming common. In the near future, it will be in every household.
It will be on our desks, kitchen countertops, and in our palms so that we can print as we move. And with artificial intelligence taking the lead daily, almost everything is possible.
Importance of 3D Printing Technology
The importance of 3D printing technology is evident in the following areas:
1. Health care improvement
2. Customized goods
3. Food processing
5. Vehicle assembling
3D printing is important as we can apply it in our everyday life. We will examine some of the applications of 3d that makes it valuable to mankind in detail as you read on
What is 3D printing in Health Care?
3D printing in health care is the use of 3D printers to print surgical equipment or drills, prosthetics, and specific replicas of body organs, bones, nerves, and blood vessels for patients. This is a revolutionary innovation in the health care sector.
Researchers have come up with new ways of applying 3d printing in health care, to improve the health conditions of people.
What Medical Fields Can 3D Printing Be Applied?
3D printing can be applied in medical fields such as:
1. Cardiothoracic surgery
5. Maxillofacial and oral surgery
8. Orthopedic surgery
9. Plastic surgery
12. Radiation oncology
13. Transplant surgery
15. Vascular surgery
However, applications of this technology in medicine are not limited to these fields.
What Are the Uses of 3D Printing in Health Care?
In health care, 3D printing is used for the following
1. Printing cadavers for scientific research
2. Printing personalized prosthetics
3. Producing effective drugs with the right proportion of dosages
4. Printing human organs like kidney, liver, teeth, and bones
5. Printing surgical drills and equipments
These days, doctors and surgeons do not need a conventional cadaver as they now have access to a printed version. This was formally a challenge because cadavers could be scarce and difficult to transport to where they are needed.
What is a Cadaver?
A Cadaver is a human corpse used by medical students, physicians, scientists, and researchers to study anatomy, diseases, determine autopsy results, and repair tissues or cells in a living body.
With a 3d printed cadaver, surgeons can practice and plan for surgery ahead of time. The cadaver will be designed to have the same type of health problem that the surgeon will be handling.
This model has proven to reduce time spent on surgery and increased the chances of post-operation recovery for the patient. Surgeries are gradually becoming easier and more affordable.
Prostheses are also becoming more personalized. It is no longer business as usual. 3d printing technology is offering a more affordable cost, unlike traditional prosthetics.
What is Prosthetics?
Prosthetics is an artificial attachment used as a replacement or substitute for body parts like joints, teeth, back, and facial bones. It can be made with plastic, light-weight metals, wood, rubber, and composites.
How Are 3D Printed Prosthetics Made?
3D prosthetics are made by molding thin layers of plastic to fit the specification and size of any part of the human body. 3D prosthetics are one- directional, as a result, if turned in an opposite direction, it can break.
Also, a person’s bone condition can be vetted, and an accurate treatment plan will be drawn.
Can Bones Be 3D Printed?
Bones can be 3D printed. They can be customized and fitted to feel like the natural type. Also, they can serve as replacement until the body finally heals. They can be scratched, cleaned, and recycled.
Over the years, the medical field has witnessed successful implant surgeries of 3d printed ankles, jaw, pelvis, windpipe, and skull. Organs and tissues can now be replicated using bioprinting techniques.
What Is 3D Bioprinting?
3D bioprinting is the use of biomaterials like living cells and tissues to print 3D organs. It uses cryogenic method. This method involves using low temperatures to freeze cells with carbon dioxide,while printing the tissues or cells layer by layer.
Researchers have come up with printers that use human cells to print in place of plastic.
This method of printing has been used in producing cells that can survive in the human body and replicate itself. Other organs like the kidney, ear, and liver have been printed successfully.
The application of 3d printing has been extended to the way drugs are being manufactured. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the printing of drugs in 2015.
You can now take a high drug dosage in a small size. This has been proven to be effective in cases of epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. Taking small-sized drugs makes the patient comply with the treatment schedule.
Are 3D Printed Drugs Safe?
3D printed drugs are safe. However, it should be taken with caution and adequate prescription. This is because of the proliferation of 3D printers which makes it possible for numerous producers to produce drugs. Make sure it is from a reliable source, before using a 3D drug.
As a result of printing drugs, specific drugs can be produced for individual illnesses and on-demand. This will ensure that patients get their drugs on time.
What Are Customized Goods?
Customized goods are products specifically made and designed for customers. They are characterized by drawings, logos, patterns, text art, colors, and effects. Also, customized goods are always unique.
Conventionally, manufacturers produce goods in mass to meet up with the consumers’ demands. For manufacturers, the mass production of goods saves them the cost of designing and producing.
As a result, any consumer that needs customized products will be expected to pay higher. That explains why luxurious goods only come as limited versions.
Why Are the Prices Of Customized Goods Higher?
Prices of customized goods are higher because they are perceived to have high service quality, customer satisfaction, customer happiness, and customer trust. For instance, when a product is customized in a person’s name, the product will find increased value in the sight of the customer.
Over time, we have seen that mass-produced goods may not suit our taste. Since we cannot afford to customize our goods, it means that there is still a gap in demand and supply.
On the other hand, the narrative is gradually changing because of 3d printing technology. Companies now have various software that enables consumers to customize items, place orders, and get them printed and delivered.
For instance, the Nokia cell phone casing designs which allow users to customize their phone cases.
Are Producing Customized Goods a Waste Of Time?
Producing customized goods is not a waste of time. Accordingly, customized goods tend to attract more customers. 3D printing technology has proven to be cheaper and faster in producing single to larger items.
Furthermore, some manufacturers think that producing customized items may be a waste of time and resources as opposed to mass production.
Video: 3D Printed Dinner
This video presents 3d printed food as the future of food sustainability.
The food industry is experiencing a shift as companies are now trying their hands at printing food. Here, the printer uses food ingredients either in liquid or powder form.
How Is 3D Printing Used In the Food Industry?
3D printing in the food industry is used to produce 3D food through additive techniques or technology. Food materials in liquid or powdered form are extruded, then deposited with a nozzle on a print bed. The nozzle prints are guided by a digital model. Foods like pasta, chocolate, cookies, pizza, candy, and cakes can be printed in various sizes and shapes that you can imagine.
The use of 3d printers in the food industry has revealed that it is easier than the traditional methods of food processing.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has indicated an interest in food printers.
Why Is National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Interested In 3D Food Printing?
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is interested in 3D food because it can be used to produce food that aeronauts can consume while in space. Accordingly, it is also funding further research on the possibility of nutrient stability and variations of food for the maximal benefit of crews while in space.
This will cut down on food waste as you can only produce what you need to consume.
In the future, 3d printed food may be the solution to consuming the accurate amount of nutrients in a whole meal. This is possible because 3d printers are accurate and print to precision.
What Are the Benefits Of 3D Food Printing?
The benefits of 3D printing include:
1. Healthy Diet. This is because the right proportion of calories and ingredients you need is measured accurately
2. Food Processing. It can be used to process other nutrient sources to edible forms
3. Stress- free
5. Low cost
6. Improved outlook. 3D foods are usually beautiful and uniquely dressed.
So, you could eat a healthy number of calories provided the printer has the right mix of ingredients. This is very important for people who need to adjust their lifestyle due to a health problem.
Furthermore, unusual nutrient sources that you may not want to consume can be made edible with 3d printing. For instance, insects are rich in protein. They can be processed into powder form and mixed with other ingredients.
Complex food designs that cannot be made by hand can be produced using a 3d printer. Kids love food with a variety of shapes and colors.
Hence, 3d printed food may make them consume more healthy food especially when it has the shape of their favorite superhero character.
What is 3D Fashion?
3D fashion is anything that is wearable and printed with a 3D printer. It includes dresses, shoes, jewelry, bikinis, and eyeglasses. It is a revolutionary trend that is breaking into the world of fashion.
How Is 3D Printing Used In Fashion?
3D printing in fashion is used to turn flexible and recyclable materials like Filaflex, nylon, organic cotton, and silk into clothing. 3D printing of clothes uses Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technique.
The fashion industry is one that is known to follow trends. Since 3d printing is trending, fashion designers are now subscribing to 3d printed apparel.
Printed clothes come out really nice as one can achieve any pattern. Complex geometry can be designed with the printer.
How Can Cloth Be 3D Printed?
A cloth can be 3D printed by following these steps.
1. Download Computer-Aided Software (CAD). You can use blender software
2. Select a suitable model. This model will serve as the design platform
3. Start designing the parts of the cloth- the arm, neck, length, and shoulder. This should be done with accurate measurement.
4. Place a flexible material in the 3D printer
5. Transfer the STL file to the printer, then start printing.
Gradually, the narrative is changing from pattern drafting, cutting, and sewing of fabrics to designing and printing. You can now combine different textures of materials – transparent, rigid, flexible, or waterproof – for cloth making.
Unlike traditional cloth designing, 3d printed clothes are made to fit the user perfectly. As earlier mentioned, the device prints with precision.
3d printing is important in the assembling of vehicles as the various parts can be printed. This way, production is cheaper and faster.
How Is 3D Printing Used In the Automobile Industry?
3D printing in the automobile industry is used to create prototypes. These prototypes are used as spare parts. In addition, it can be used to design models of cars, thereby, increasing new innovations in the industry.
As a result of global warming, 3d printers are being used to produce vehicle parts that will reduce fuel consumption. Lesser fuel consumption means lesser carbon footprints.
As opposed to cars with bulky parts, 3d printed parts are lightweight and allow the flow of air within the vehicle. This is because the complex parts are printed in layers and then coupled with screws and/ or adhesives.
Before now, assembling vehicles was expensive and time-consuming but with 3d printing, speed can be achieved.
A car named Urbee was assembled using 3d printed parts including the entire body and windows. Also, in 2015, Airbus produced a vehicle that had over a thousand parts that were 3d printed.
The Airforce is also utilizing it in printing spare parts for its planes.
3d printing technology can be used to create components for construction. Conventionally, constructing a building may take some time because of the procedures involved.
How Is 3D Printing Used In Construction?
3D printing is used in construction to create engineer waxed 3D printed molds. These molds are used to precast glass concrete and concrete blocks for construction. With recent technological advancements in 3D printing, houses can be printed directly layer by layer with a 3D printer.
However, with the aid of 3d printing technology, buildings can be constructed with speed and accuracy. Research is ongoing to see if buildings can be created in space.
Astronauts are currently using technology to produce tools that can also be recycled.
Importance in the Home
The importance of 3D printing in the home include:
1. Flower vase
5. Key holders
8. Cloth hangers
9. Spare keys
10. Tools such as screwdrivers and pliers
11. Bolts and nuts
12. Door bolts
13. Door handles
The technology is very important in our homes because we can 3d print just anything we need at home. As a result, the list is endless because you can create anything, as long as you can imagine it.
3d printing can be applied in several other ways that this article may not cover. Hence its importance cannot be overemphasized.
Here are some other detailed articles you may find useful:
- What Can You Make with A 3D Printer
- How Much Does A 3D Printer Cost?
- How Much Does 3D Printing Cost
- How To Make Your Own 3D Printer
3D Printing Vs Traditional Methods of Production
Why Is 3D Printing Better Than Traditional Methods of Production?
3D printing is better than traditional methods of production because:
1. It reduces production time
2. It reduces cost of production
3. it is flexible in nature
4. It is consistent quality-based
5. It has a high level of access to improved technology
6. It is environmentally sustainable
Reduction in Time of Production
Rapid prototyping (RP) is one of the benefits of 3d printing.
What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is a set of techniques used to model a 3D part or prototype quickly. It is done with the aid of a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software.
RP speeds up the process of production from designing to manufacturing, and to test the product. All these can take place within a very short time.
The dimensions of a design can be adjusted, and it will not alter the printing process. This is because 3d printers are precision machines.
Before now, it took producers several weeks to create a prototype of a product. If there is an error in the prototype, it will take several more weeks to get it fixed. This explains why it takes a company about 1 to 2 years to come up with a new product.
Currently, companies can produce various products using the 3d printer, no shipping is required. Everything will be done within the company. With this, less time is spent on manufacturing products.
Also, there will be no waiting period which often came up as a result of outsourcing a section of the production.
Reduction in Cost of Production
Traditionally, the cost of producing a prototype is high but 3d printing makes it affordable. You do not need to hire complex machinery to get results, unlike the traditional method.
Also, you do not need to hire technicians and operators for the machines.
Flexible Nature of the Printer
What Makes a 3D Printer Flexible?
The simplicity of 3D printers makes them flexible. You do not have to be a professional to use a 3D printer. What is needed is basic knowledge of how it works.
The conventional types of machinery usually require different tools, jig, molds, or die for different shapes of products. However, a 3d printer uses the same nozzle for every kind of shape. Printing can be done without changing any part of the machine.
Different materials can be added to the product while printing, unlike the traditional method. This way, a product can have different textures, colors, and other details.
Whether you are an engineer, a pro designer, or just a farmhand, you can use the 3d printer. There are available designs that can be customized to suit your needs.
Quality and Consistency
In traditional methods of production, there is limited assurance of quality. Something may go wrong and your prototype will not come out as planned. However, with 3d printing, quality is assured. The device is smart and prints to specification.
While printing, if you discover an error in your design, you can correct it without ruining the entire prototype.
High Level of Access to Improved Technology
As the days go by, more people are able to access 3d printers. These printers are cheaper to set up compared to buying machinery for production. The technology requires little technical know-how unlike the operation of machinery that requires technical skills.
What is Environmental Sustainability?
Environmental sustainability is the interaction of humans and the environment to avoid depletion. It involves ensuring that natural resources are secured and environmental quality is maintained.
How Does 3D Printing Sustain the Environment?
3D printing sustains the environment by recycling materials that can cause harm to the environment. Through this process, it degrades wastes into useful materials. Also, 3D products are environmentally friendly.
A company does not need to outsource the majority of the production activity. Since the outsourced parts are usually shipped, the lesser we outsource production parts, the lesser carbon footprints we leave.
The future holds a lot for 3d printing technology, and we are yet to get to its peak. As 3d printing advances, a lot more will be achieved with it.
Imagine walking into a car factory and creating the car of your dreams. Take some time and visualize yourself wearing a perfectly printed cloth for that emergency interview. You don’t have to look like you left in a rush because 3d has got you covered.
From the things we wear to the food we eat, 3d printing holds a lot more value for the world. Someday, developing countries will have access to quick medical aid because drugs can now be printed.
When doctors go out on medical missions in third world countries, with 3d printers, they will never be short on medical equipment.
If you are the type whose shoe size is difficult to find, with 3d printing, you can get your perfect fit.
Why Is 3D Printing Important- Related FAQs
Is 3D Printing Still Popular?
3D printing is still popular. It is an advancement in the field of technology that has come to stay and will continue to launch innovations in several decades to come. 3D printing, since its introduction by Chuck Hull in 1983, has passed through various trends and dynamic stages to the phase it is presently.
Most manufacturing companies in America, Asia, and Europe have embraced 3D printing. This development has yielded tremendous results in higher productivity levels coupled with flawless and unique designs.
3D printing is an emerging technology that is set to revolutionize the entire globe in the nearest future.
Will 3D Printing Replace Traditional Manufacturing?
3D printing will not replace traditional manufacturing. This is because they both play distinct and important roles in the manufacturing industry. 3D printing is expensive which makes it difficult for some manufacturers to afford it. This leaves them with no alternative but the traditional means.
Traditional manufacturing methods can manufacture a great number of objects but not all objects can be manufactured by 3D printing. This makes it limited to an extent. The materials needed for 3D printing are limited and, in most cases, expensive.
3D printing will, therefore, have its special place, but it will not replace traditional manufacturing.
Is 3D Printing Bad?
3D printing is not bad. It has experienced a wide range of acceptance within a decade of its existence. It has added a lot of advancement to the production of items, cutting across a wide range of human activities.
However, 3D printing has its negative side effects that cannot be eliminated. It is dangerous to human health. This is because of the emission of substances and components that can constitute a threat to life and the ecosystem.
Also, it consumes more energy and releases styrene which is a known cause of headaches, fatigue, and drowsiness. It is therefore not advisable to use a 3D printer at home.
Is 3D Printing the Future of Manufacturing?
3D printing is the future of manufacturing. It has continued to grow in a steady manner. This is because almost all manufactured goods or products make use of less than 1% 3D printing. Most manufacturing companies have incorporated 3D printing at certain levels.
The 3D printing industry is predicted to be worth more than $32.7 billion by 2023. This is not a mirage as it is achievable. 3D printing is now widely used in food processing and health sectors. It is indeed a viable future for the present generation and those yet unborn.
Is 3D Printing More Economical?
3D printing is more economical for producing a large volume of objects. It is also faster and accurate in printing the already designed objects. However, 3D printing can be cost-effective at the start. The cost of purchasing a 3D printer and the materials are high. This scares most manufacturers away from using it.
3D printing holds more value after the procurement cost. It is highly effective and productive. As a result, you spend less and produce more. It is also less laborious and time-saving.
How Will 3D Printing Impact the Future?
3D printing is set to have tremendous impacts in the future. It will impact the agricultural, health, educational, industrial, fashion, and arts sectors. In the future, it will become quite common and will be used to solve a myriad of problems.
In the Agricultural sector, it will give a boost to food processing and production. Food will be designed to suit the required nutritional needs of individuals.
Healthwise, it will be used to create body organs that will be functional. Also, education will become more fun as students will be allowed to become more creative with 3D printing.
Additionally, industries will blossom with the creation of prototypes that will aid perfect production. And arts will also receive a boost with the creation of beautiful and unique art pieces.
The future indeed holds a lot for 3D printing.