Questions answered about 3D printing – facts, technicalities and applications

3D printing is the latest technology blooming all over the world. The technology provides solutions to every field. It is now currently used in construction. However, it is now slowly entering health care to print new tissues over damaged tissues. As the technology is new there are wide number of questions, especially on how to buy 3D printer? Is it affordable? Who should own a 3D printer? How does it work?

The article answers all the above questions.

What is 3D printers good at? Why are they used?

3D printing makes life easy. A survey says in November 2016 alone, around 2 million print files were downloaded. Such is the need and necessity of 3D printers. An industrial 3D printer finds its application to create prototypes of machine parts, automobile parts, etc. They also help to build concept models, working models, etc.

It is used in the aerospace industries to manufacture small jet engine components. This was impossible with its predecessor CNC milling

What are the benefits of 3D printing?

It is highly beneficial in healthcare, financial, logistical and environmental areas. Complex prosthetic limbs are produced at much lower price with the help of 3D printing. In aerospace, it speeds up the assembly line. Hence the final cost of the product is reduced.

As 3D printers are portable, the end products can be printed any where and at any time. These lowers and eliminates inventory needs.

What are the limitations of 3D printing?

The major limitation of the 3D printers is its size. As there are number of components involved, the frame size of the printer is high. Also, as the printer needs space to work on the prototype, it is bigger in size

Another major limitation is that most of the 3D printers can print only one material at a time. The technology of multi – material 3D printers are just evolving and has not yet become popular.

What is the difference between 3D and 4D printing?

In a professional 3D printer, the end product is static. On the other hand in the 4D printing technology, the material changes form when an impulse is given. In simple words the end product can be moved. Its motion is controlled by electrical impulses.

Is 3D printing done only with plastics?

No. It can be done using a wide range of materials. There are over 19 to 20 materials that are used to create prototypes in the 3D printer.

What are the myths that are not true about 3D printing?

  • The most common myth that is not true about 3D printers is that 3D printers are very expensive. They are not. They are affordable. Their price ranges between $1000 and $2000.
  • 3D printers can produce guns
    • Yes it is possible to produce guns with 3D printers. However, these guns last only for few shots
    • Someone will actually purchase a real gun for the time it takes to print and assemble the parts of the gun

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