Be ready! The Rise of the Machines is coming. Design engineers from the University of Bath have been developing for many years a 3D-printer called RepRap, capable of reproducing itself. Speaking about materials it may use biodegradable plastic,and various metals, ceramics, cement and even edible substance- chocolate and cheese.This list is not limited and is constantly expanding.
Such a 3D-printer can print a lot of useful stuff. Prototypes of models, architectural models have already been created through this method, as well as souvenirs, jewelry and home decoration.But the most interesting feature of 3D-printing is that it allows you to create mechanisms at once – without having to collect them from the individual parts.
Why 3D printers will change production technologies
1. Economic efficiency
Even the most modern machines can hardly be called economical- they cut out parts of the work pieces, with much of the material becoming waste. Loss of raw materials for such production may exceed 50%. And it’s not extremely bad when it comes to cheap metals and alloys,but what if not at all cheap titaniumis used for the manufacture of a node? 3D-printing allows you to forget about all of these costs. Producing the item from scratch, 3D-printer uses the minimum amount ofmaterial. According to the General Electrics, the implementation of this technology can save about $ 25,000on each produced engine.
3D printing can make a production not only economical but also very flexible. Do you have to make changes in design details or the whole unit? No problem -the engineer needs only to sit at the computer and work on a digital blueprint. Immediately after that, you can start making an updated model or even a whole series of new options. Thanks to these features the 3D-printing technology has a good chance to make a real revolution in the industry.
3. Be your own designer
With the new technology one can create an exact copy of the existing and world-famous Michelangelo’s sculpture, Ming vase or a painting by Monet. In addition, anyone can become a designer at his home in front of MAC or an IPad and create his own peice of art. How about the ability to create clothes, going purely by your own taste?
On the web there are online stores, such as Shapeways.com and I.materialise.com, where in addition to the purchase of finished printed products anyone can upload a file with a 3Dmodel, immediately change the scale of the object and choose the material from which it is made, and then order your product and wait until it comes in the mail.
What is preventing the widespread ofvarious3D printing technologies is the high price of these devices that starts from 30,000 to 17,500 dollars. Some vendors produce kits for the assembly of the printer, the cost of which starts at 1225 dollars. The most popular and cheap one is a model of RepRap, details of which will cost from $ 520.
At the moment the company Apple has achieved the greatest success in the development of graphics innovations that allow such home-run appliances with different visual editors. So it can be said that MAC ability to work with compatible graphic packages is one of the highest. There are also many specialized applications available, which are aimed to make the work with graphical tools easier.
So in the near future it can easily come to the point where not the physical objects are sold in stores but their digital models. And all that have to do-is to download a file, adjust the settings and print the desired object.
This article is delivered by Tamika Clifford who is part time publications manager for a number of online resources focusing on technology and computers. Tamika is enthusiast of winter sports and music and takes active part in local environmental protection movement. To learn more on her activities visit this site.