3D Printing is the latest emerging technology. It was the biggest eye catcher in the Consumer Electronics Trade Show (CES) held recently in Jan 2012.
Before going into detail, let us first understand what exactly 3D printing is. 3D printing is the process of creating three dimensional objects from digital file using a materials printer, in a way similar to printing images on paper using our normal inkjet printers.
Since 2003 there has been huge growth in the sale of 3D printers. Moreover, the cost of 3D printers has also gone down. 3D Printing is also quite useful in the fields of jewelry, footwear, industrial design, architecture, engineering and construction, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education, geographic information systems, civil engineering, and many others. Although as of now it has not progressed much and has its limitations. We still can’t print our favorite sports car to drive around.
However that day is not far when you no longer need to purchase a chair in a shop or using an online retailer, but instead buy the design for the chair via internet. You would be able to customize this digital blueprint and then email the file to a local manufacturing store where the finished item would be produced and ready for collection. This futuristic scenario describes the potential of 3D printing, a form of the cutting-edge technology known as Additive Manufacturing.
How does 3D Printing Works:
Next question that would come to your mind is that how actually it works. 3D Printing is part of a group of rapid-manufacturing technologies that convert digital designs into objects that are printed three-dimensionally by a machine. More or less it works in the same way as that of a domestic inkjet printer difference being that the inkjet printer prints over a sheet of paper placing ink on the page, the 3D printer adds layer upon layer of material to build objects from bottom up. It may be worth noting that the products are created with all the inside and outside parts complete so assembly is not required. Another advantage is that user would be able to customize the material based on your need.
3D Printers unveiled recently: The Replicator
In Jan 2012 MakerBot has unveiled “The Replicator”, a new 3D printer. It has the ability to print a 3D model up to the size of 100mm x 100mm x 100mm. It solves one of the technology’s biggest problems at the moment of printing large. It also offers Dualstrusion technology, making it possible to print in two colors. The Replicator can take either ABS (the plastic found in Lego) or biodegradable PLA plastic. The Replicator will cost $1,999 for the dual extruder or $1,749 for a single.
3D Printers in India:
In India, The Pune-based DesignTech Systems has also launched the world’s first sub-$15,000 3-D personal printer. It has the ability to build objects of up to 8 inch X 6 inch X 6 inch. It uses tough but light plastic material that is said to be ideal for creating quick models and prototypes. In India it will cost around Rs 7 lakhs.