Thursday, August 29, 2013

What are 3D printers?

What are 3D Printers? What they can produce?

When I first read about these 3D printers way back in 2012, my initial reaction was “Wow!” I’m very impressed with its potential and its transcending capabilities. Well, 3D printers can print three-dimensional objects by using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or polylactic acid (PLA). ABS is a type of thermoplastic that was being used to produced musical instruments, golf club heads, lego bricks, automotive trim components, automotive bumper bars, medical devices for blood access, etc. While PLA is a thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as cornstarch or sugar corn. 3D printing is type of additive manufacturing wherein the object was being built layer by layer. 3D printers uses computer aided design (CAD) or animation modelling software for the virtual blueprints of the objects, then the .STL file format will be loaded to the printer to start the printing.
3d printer
Source: 3DPrintersCost

3D printers can produce usual household stuffs like spoon holder and mugs, as well as iPhone casing, guns, bullets, medical devices, artificial ear, and artificial limbs. Though the possible products of 3D printers are not limited to those. This tend some people to think that 3D printing will devastate the manufacturing industry when they hit the mass market, because of it is faster to produced an object using 3D printers compare to the current manufacturing standards. But at this moment of writing, the price range of 3D printers is from USD 300 to USD 175,000, that’s still a quite of money.

In a study conducted by Michigan Technological University, an average household owner can save up to USD 2, 000 a year by manufacturing just 20 common products using a 3D printer. And the cost of buying 3D printer can be recoup in just under a year. The reason for these is that, it’s cheaper to produce an object using 3D printer compare to buying the item on the market.

With it’s declining cost, 3D printers can revolutionized manufacturing when it is already sell for the mass market. There are tons of things that it can print. And I’m very excited for this. I hope that I can own one in the future!

What do you think about 3D printers? Drop your comments below. Cheers!

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