Monday 1 July 2013

what has #3DPrinting ever done for you?

It may or may not come as a surprise to you that #3DPrinting has been around for a 
while since 1984 here is an extract from ''  by Christopher 
Barnett 2013.

“3D printing is an additive technology in which objects are built up in a great many 
very thin layers. The first commercial 3D printer was based on a technique called 
stereolithography. This was invented by Charles Hull in 1984. Stereolithographic 3D 
printers (known as SLAs or stereolithography apparatus) position a perforated platform 
just below the surface of a vat of liquid photopolymer. A UV laser beam then traces the 
first slice of an object on the surface of this liquid, causing a very thin layer of 
photopolymer to harden. The perforated platform is then lowered very slightly and 
another slice is traced out and hardened by the laser. Another slice is then created, 
and then another, until a complete object has been printed and can be removed from 
the vat of photopolymer, drained of excess liquid, and cured. Stereolithographic printers 
remain one of the most accurate types of hardware for fabricating 3D output, with a 
minimum build layer thickness of only 0.06mm (0.0025 of an inch).”

Models created by early #3DPrinters were very expensive because hardware and computer software in the 1980’s was very expensive, so was the cost and time involved in the design and printing of models. Now the costs are significantly cheaper because the groundwork has already been done; the returns on investments for research and developments on some types of processes have mostly been recovered.

Since the early days it could be cost effective to use expensive #3DPrinting in the processes for making the moulds used by mass production injection moulding machines, where the unit costs are usually very small.

#3DPrinting is also used for rapid prototyping of new or redesigned components; and is common in many manufacturing and design processes to check aesthetics or suitability of fit in final assemblies, before committing to mass production.

Stone Spray Project from Stone Spray on Vimeo.

From a different perspective any use of CNC and Robotic arm could be seen as a form of #3DPrinting; what is different about today’s hi-tech #3DPrinters is the flexibility to precision manufacture efficiently, very complex designs in many types of materials. One such printer is the EnvisionTEC 3D Printer... 

It is highly probable #3DPrinting has already had an important effect in your life.

Views expressed here are mine!
I hope this is useful to you :-)

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