3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. 3D printing is achieved using additive processes, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material. 3D printing is considered distinct from traditional machining techniques (subtractive processes).
3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material. A 3D printer works by taking a 3D computer file and using and making a series of cross-sectional slices. Each slice is then printed one on top of the other to create the 3D object.
The are several types of 3D printers, including nano printers for printing on the nano scale. You will find 3D printers that use plastic, powder, and paper – and even chocolate and sugar. 3D printers are available in all shapes and sizes; some take up an entire room, and some can be easily placed on your desktop.
On March 5, 2007, Z Corporation of Burlington, Massachusetts, introduced its ZPrinter 450, which at $39,900, is the first 3D printer to be easily affordable by serious design and manufacturing firms. A 3D printer takes data from a CAD (computer-aided design) file and creates a physical three-dimensional object from that digital information.
Rapid prototyping processes based on inkjet and 3D printing technologies have found increasing application in office environments in recent years. 3D printing was originally developed by professors Emmanuel Sachs and Michael Cima, and their students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Machine generates the part bottum up by successively depositing thin layers of ceramic powder from a printing head and squirting on liquid binder to create voxel cells.
Bre Pettis, 39, runs MakerBot Industries, which produces the world’s most popular consumer 3D printers, the latest of which, the Replicator, takes up about as much space as a small microwave. It receives 3D images from a computer and then sets to work turning them into real objects by melting plastic and squirting it out of a nozzle. The Replicator lays one layer of super-thin plastic on top of another until the object – a toy castle, an LED flashlight, a Windsor chair – is done.
The Pentagon will fund an institute for agencies, companies and academics to advance three-dimensional printing techniques, with the eventual goal of cheaper and faster manufacturing of aerospace and defense parts. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing uses special machines to make solid objects, layer by layer, from a digital file. Designers use 3-D printers to create cheap prototypes without needing to turn to an assembly line; hobbyists and tinkerers build do-it-yourself projects with the technology, and now the Pentagon wants to capitalize on 3D printers to shave the costs of assembly tools.
Today's 3D printers can already create robots and artificial body parts layer by layer based on computer designs. But the U.S. government has much bigger plans for the futuristic technology — it wants to reshape American manufacturing by offering up to $60 million for a new 3D printing institute. The new Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute would harness 3D printing as the first of up to 16 centers dedicated to U.S. manufacturing innovation — part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation announced by President Obama on March 9.
Though still in its infancy, personal 3D printing technology already shows the same disruptive potential as the original printing press. Just as moveable type spread across Europe and democratized knowledge, the proliferation of 3D printers eventually promises to democratize creation. While Amazon made trips to the store seem dated, 3D printing will make ordering (some) things online feel positively quaint.
A California based company is taking 3D printing to a whole new level by offering to print tissue on demand for research and surgical applications. Organovo use muscle cells that are specially prepared and loaded into a 3D printer to print lines of cells onto a cell culture dish. The cells can then grow and connect with each other forming usable muscle tissue that cannot be told apart from anything taken out of a human body.
As part of a project at Cornell University, a group of scientists and students built a 3D printer and began testing it out with food. The device attaches to a computer, which works as the "brain" behind the technology. It doesn't look like a traditional printer; it's more like an industrial fabrication machine. Users load up the printer's syringes with raw food -- anything with a liquid consistency, like soft chocolate, will work, and the ingredient-filled syringes will then "print" icing on a cupcake.