One of the emerging technologies which has revolutionised the modern manufacturing system is 3D printing technology. This article explains this technology and its major impact.
3D printing technology is used to manufacture 3D parts. In this process a three dimensional CAD model of the part which is to be manufactured is made with the help of CAD modelling software like Solidworks, Catia etc. This CAD file will act as an input to the 3D printer system and the output will be the manufactured part. In 3D printer technology layers of specific material are added on each other to fabricate the part. The process is similar to rapid prototyping. The objects of any shape and complexities can be manufactured by this technology.
Only essential is to model the part exactly in the 3D CAD software.
The process of 3D printing in technical term is an Additive Manufacturing process in which the layers are sequentially deposited with the help of a printer head. The 3D CAD model which is required for the printing process must be converted in to STL files or OBJ files before it can act as an input to the 3D printer. The STL files are first checked and then a layered model of the system is made in the system which divides the model in to sequential layers. This layered model acts as an input to the system which generates the G codes for the model. These G codes act as directions to the Printer head to move and deposit the material in the required manner.
The 3D printer system has lots of advantages over the conventional manufacturing system.
The 3D printer technology has a very important role and application in medical and biotechnology field. Because of the ability to manufacture complex parts it is used to manufacture parts like bones, tissues etc. This is an emerging field in medical science. This particular field is known as bio printing.
The 3D printer technology also has a great application in nanotechnology field. Parts of very small dimensions up to the scale of nanotechnology are easily manufactured. The technology is recently being used to develop 3D nanostructures.
The 3D printers come in various shapes and size from small to very big and massive setups. The size of the printer depends on the size of the part to be manufactured. The initial setup cost of the printer ranges from lakhs to crores of rupees. The technology has growing applications in the field of automobile, construction, medical, computers and electronics.
Thus 3 D printer technologies have opened new paths to move forward in various fields and lead to new technological innovations.
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