What is so great about 3D printing? 

Printing objects has never before been easier, or cheaper.

3D printing was introduced back in the ‘80s and has been growing in popularity over the past 3 decades. Even though this technology has been around for awhile, it was the introduction of the RepRap initiative in 2005 that pushed 3D printing ahead and paved the way for the various applications that are present today.

How does 3D Printing work?

3D printing makes use of a CAD (computer-aided design) file, which is an image generated along the x,y and z axis. This file is used as the digital blueprint from which components are printed in multiple layers. These components are eventually combined to form a final object/ prototype.

What is RepRap?

RepRap is an abbreviation for ‘replicating rapid prototype’. It is a technology that began as an open source project in the UK with the goal of developing a low cost 3D printer. RepRap functions like a cloning device. It uses a 3D printer to manufacture components and parts in a self-duplicating manner, essentially making a 3D printer that can produce another 3D printer.

Over the last 25 years, the price of commercial 3D printers has gone down from almost $10,000 to $1,000 dollars. This decline in price is a result of the advancements in RepRap technology, and increasing demand.

Past use

In the past, 3D printers were mostly used for making prototypes for testing and correcting design flaws. While they still serve that function, today they are also used to manufacture products on a large scale.

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It provides speed, accuracy, and precision in ways that were unfathomable in past years.”

Most common types of 3D printers

3D printing has gained prominence because of the endless customization it offers. From creating dental implants to manufacturing aircraft components, 3D printing is revolutionizing multiple industries. It provides speed, accuracy, and precision in ways that were unfathomable in past years.

FDM (fused deposition modeling) printers are great for printing personal home projects rather than for industrial use. thermoplastic material is fed into the printer’s nozzle which is turned into a molten state and used to print thin layers of the object based on an uploaded CAD file.

SLA (stereolithography) printers make use of liquid resin, photopolymer, and UV light to create quality prototypes that have a high-resolution and pinpoint accuracy.

SLS (selective laser sintering) printers are the most expensive of all 3D printers, but are also the best in terms of efficiency and quality. SLS printers make use of printing materials like silicate and metal, which are then melted using a laser and fused to form the object. The prints are very durable and have the finest details.

What is so great about 3D printing? 3D printing

Endless possibilities and benefits


Historically, conventional means of manufacturing would have taken several days, if not weeks to produce a finished prototype. If any design flaws were detected and needed correction, this would add significant time to production.

With 3D printers, a prototype can be ready in a matter of hours. Design corrections can be made quickly, saving a lot of time and materials.

One-step manufacturing process

With traditional production, the fabricator would have to go through several phases such as cutting or sculpting a mould, welding, sandblasting, etc. With a 3D printer, the entire manufacturing process is automated and can be done in a few hours in a single step.

Modern-day applications

3-D printing is making considerable headway with its use in the medical field. Students are able to study the human anatomy using synthesized organs, and surgeons can plan operations based on printed replicas of the body part that will be operated on. Prosthetic limbs have also seen substantial improvement through 3D printing. Patients can now have specialized limbs designed and printed to fit their individual bodies.

Whether it is something as complex as the human body, or as simple as a keychain, 3D printing is bringing new possibilities to every industry.

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