Additive manufacturing today

Additive manufacturing is the process of creating a 3D shape by adding more and more thin layers of material, until the full form is complete. The most prominent device working on the basis of additive manufacturing is the 3D printer. Many different versions are on the market today, including small ones for home and large ones for industrial manufacturing. Many companies have the whole range, and many, like the Dibbsto 3D printers, focus mainly on the home-friendly versions of the device.

3D printing Process

The working principle behind this device, as we mentioned, is additive manufacturing (AM). But how does it actually work? First, you need computer-aided design (CAD) programs to create the virtual 3D version of what you’d like to print in .stl format. If you are not skilled in 3D design, don’t worry, there are plenty of ready templates you can download off the internet. There are even libraries with a large collection of files available for free. After you obtain the file you want to print, you are going to need slicing software. It basically ‘slices’ your model into the smallest layers possible, which gives the 3D printer clear instructions and a step-by-step of sorts. Usually, 3D printers come with their own software, but if you are not happy with it for any reason, you can always get another software online. 3D printers mostly use one main material for printing (plastic, metal, etc.). Load the material through a special port and you are good to go!

Possibilities

Naturally, there are limitations when it comes to 3D printing. Mainly those are limitations in size and in the difficulty of material combinations. But let’s face it, there are houses being printed from recycled plastic as we speak. This technology has gone very far in the past couple of decades and there are no signs of stopping. People are able to print personalized prosthetics, building materials, toys. Pretty much anything. It is still rather expensive to get a large printer with plenty of possibilities, but the progress in this field will take care of that too. During the current pandemic, people even used these devices to print protective gear for medical staff in their local communities.

Potential Fields

  • Industrial Manufacturing. This is by far the main direction in which 3D printers are being used. As they have no limitations in shape and don’t require additional complicated machines, they can literally replace a whole production line if handled properly.
  • Medical field. As we mentioned before, people are able to make personalized prosthetics and different gear through 3D printing. And even though bioprinting is still a little far-fetched, 3D printing in medicine has a promising future.
  • Art. This is where 3D printing can let go of all restrictions and deliver crazy results. Everything from sculptures to designer lamp shades. Incredible shapes, limited only by the imagination of the artist. Promising, isn’t it?
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