What distinguishes 3D printing from traditional manufacturing methods is its ‘additive’ process which builds its components throughout its manufacturing as opposed to introducing previously manufactured elements to the product. This radical departure from previously dominant manufacturing techniques seeks to expedite and eliminate costs and reduce tools, thereby revolutionizing countless industries.
The elaborate process involves file preparation and conversion, necessary prior to printing stages. The complexity of these steps also depend upon the products and the type of printing being made. Various processes include stereolithography, DLP (Digital Light Processing), Extrusion, Inkjet, SDL (Selective Deposition Lamination) and EBM (Electron Beam Melting).
Material types that are utilized in 3D printers include ceramics, plastics, metals, paper, food and even living tissue. Another benefit that the process claims is its energy efficiency.
The various markets in which 3D printing is expected to reimagine are vast and diverse. Prototypes are currently being developed for multiple businesses and consumer needs with no signs of letting up. Which field or industry will reap the most rewards from 3D printing remains to be seen. Of course it won’t be seen the way we saw it before, but that’s the whole point, isn’t it?