3D printing: the next industrial revolution?

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3D printing is a process that can create three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The printer reads the digital file, adds layers of material according to the design plan, and slowly builds up an object that is usually very strong due to its crisscrossing internal structure.

3D printers are handy for designers. If you can think of an idea, you can quickly make a prototype and test it. This allows designers to experiment more with their designs and gives them confidence since they can try it before putting time and money into manufacturing the design.

3D printing is also beneficial for companies because it reduces waste, increases efficiency, and cuts costs. Because 3D printers make many of the same objects, companies can cut down on resources that would have been used to produce many different types of goods. Also, 3D printing reduces shipping since it is easier to send one sizeable digital file than dozens of tiny parts across the world.

3D printing has made an impact in the medical world as well. Major surgeries have been performed with the use of 3D-printed implants and organs. In recent years, 3D printing has grown exponentially because of its many benefits to various industries. A good example is that NASA now uses a 3D printer on the International Space Station to make parts for equipment instead of sending them up from the earth. 3D printers like this can use multiple materials and create solid objects, allowing them to be used in high-risk situations where parts might usually break under stress.

3D printing has changed the way that people think about manufacturing and design. It makes it easier and faster for designers to make prototypes and for companies to cut down on waste and shipping. 3D printing allows people to create custom products with a high quality that would be impossible with traditional manufacturing.

ARK believes 3D printing will revolutionize manufacturing, growing at an annual rate of roughly 60% from $12 billion last year to as much a whopping 120$billion in 2025!3-D Printing Saves Time, Cost, and Waste While Creating Radically New Part Architectures. 3D printing collapses the time between design and production, shifts power to designers, and reduces supply chain complexity at a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing.

There are many benefits of 3D printing for the aerospace industry, including rapid prototyping and low costs. Most notably, it lowers the weight of low volume, highly complex parts by creating them rapidly through additive manufacturing (AM). AM uses digital design data to quickly solid objects directly from computer-aided design (CAD). It begins with printing thin layers. After each layer is printed, the printer adds another layer on top of it. This process continues until all the layers are fused to create a strong object.

Another element that 3D printers can offer low-costs and rapid prototyping (write out in full: “low-cost rapid prototyping”). Rapid prototyping reduces costs by eliminating waste between trial and error iterations during manufacturing processes, minimizing defects through testing before mass production, and discovering errors at an early stage when they cost less to fix. The time needed for speedily achieving these benefits (e.g., by completing one prototype instead of five) saves high costs.

Benefits don’t have to be discussed in order of importance. For example, the benefits could be presented where they naturally fit in your article. 3d printers also significantly reduce labor and material costs by automating much of the production process (e.g., costly manual labor).

3D printing has great potential to bring considerable savings and efficiency to the aerospace industry: it saves high costs and lowers weight, allowing aircraft components to be lighter and more efficient (e.g., Boeing’s Dreamliner is 2/3 composite carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic; AM allows for internal structures such as wings that would otherwise require heavier aluminum or titanium frames). Whoa! Slow down there with all those heavy words. Recommend reading this guide on how to write an article or term paper, especially the section on “Wordiness.”

Conclusion

3D printing is taking a business to the next level. The impact 3D printing has had on manufacturing cannot be denied; since its debut it has allowed manufacturers to lower their cost-to-market by improving speed and creating “one-off” products.

According to Forbes, 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) can reduce production time from months or years down to days or weeks. It also allows for mass customization of products like never before seen in history. Although 3D printers have been around since the 1980’s they were slow, expensive, and not entirely user-friendly. Today that is no longer the case as there are many desktop units available online at reasonable prices to consumers with a plethora of options available for businesses looking for something more high tech, and many companies offer 3D printing services.

3D printing is not just for plastics anymore; it is able to print in metal and even in food cremating. Researchers at the University of Southern California have developed a “reciprocating gait bi-material 3d printer” that they claim allowed them to create a prototype with an articulated ankle joint.

Not only can we expect 3D printing to keep changing manufacturing, we can also expect manufacturers will find new ways to benefit from this technology. For example, GE’s Aviation division recently announced that it would be printing its Next-Generation A350 XWB jet engine. It is not only the largest 3D-printed part ever made, but it is stronger than other parts composed of the same material. This plane will have 50% fewer parts while being 20% more fuel-efficient! I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to take a ride on that plane someday.

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