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What is 3D Printing Technology

3D printing is also suitable for creating complicated, one-of-a-kind things, which makes it a perfect method for quick prototyping.

What is 3D Printing Technology?

3D printing is an additive method that involves building up layers of material to form a 3D component. Essentially 3D printing refers to a variety of methods and equipment that provide a wide range of capabilities for the manufacturing of goods and components in various materials. The similarity that many of the methods and equipment have is that manufacturing is done layer by layer in an additive manufacturing process, as opposed to conventional methods of manufacturing that use nonlinear ways. This is the inverse of subtractive manufacturing procedures, for instance CNC machining, which involve cutting a finished design from a bigger block of material. Consequence, 3D printing wastes less material.

3D printing is also suitable for creating complicated, one-of-a-kind things, which makes it a perfect method for quick prototyping.

What materials are suitable for 3D printing?

3D printing materials include thermoplastics like acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) which is processed by melting, metals (including metals which are powdered) where laser sintering is applied, ceramics and resins processed by stereo lithography.

How did 3D Printing first begin?

Who was responsible for inventing 3D Printing?
Hideo Kodama of the Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute pioneered the first 3D printing manufacturing equipment when he established two additive processes for generating 3D models.

When did the invention of 3D Printing take place?

Hideo Kodama’s early work in laser cured resin fast prototyping was finished in 1981, building on Ralf Baker’s work in the 1920s for creating ornamental objects (patent US423647A). His innovation was further developed over the following three decades, culminating in the development of stereo lithography in 1984. In 1987, Chuck Hull of 3D Systems created the first 3D printer, which employed stereo lithography. This had been accompanied by innovations like as selective laser sintering and selective laser melting. Several other expensive 3D printing methods were created in the 1990s and 2000s, but their prices dropped drastically after the expiration of the patents in 2009, making the technology available to a wider range of customers.

The Various 3D Printing Technologies

Sintering, melting, and stereo lithography are the three primary forms of 3D printing technologies.

Selective laser sintering is a high-resolution manufacturing technique in which the material is heated but not so much that it is melted. For direct metal laser sintering, metal powder is utilized, whereas thermoplastic powders are used for selective laser sintering.

Fused deposition modelling is an additive manufacturing technique in which sheets of materials are bonded together in a sequence to make an item. The content is generally heated slightly above its glass transition temperature and afterwards deposited in a design adjacent to or atop prior castings in successive layers, to create an item.

Stereo lithography has grown in popularity due to its capacity to generate high-accuracy, isotropic, and watertight models and components in a variety of sophisticated elements with fine details and a fine surface polish.

Multi Jet Fusion is a commercial 3D printing technology that can create functioning nylon samples and final manufacturing components in as little as one day. The finished products have improved surface textures, finer details, and more reliable and dynamic qualities.

Powder bed fusion, electron beam melting, and direct energy deposition are 3D printing melting processes that employ lasers, electric arcs, or electron beams to print things by melting the components together at high temperatures.

Photo-polymerization is used in stereo lithography to produce components. This method employs the proper light source to selectively interact with the material in order to heal and harden a cross section of the product in single strips.

How Long Does the 3D Printing of Process Take?

The duration of the printing period is determined by several factors, such as the size of the part as well as the printing parameters. The completed part’s quality is also essential for considering printing time, as higher grade goods take longer time to make. 3D printing can take up anywhere between a few minutes to many hours or days – speed, resolution, and material volume are all essential considerations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of 3D Printing

Advantages of 3D Printing in The Automotive Industry

Customized, low-cost production of complex geometry:

This method enables the simple fabrication of unique geometric pieces with no additional complexity. Because no extra material is utilised, 3D printing can be less expensive than subtractive manufacturing processes in some cases.

Low start-up expenses:

This manufacturing procedure is relatively inexpensive since no moulds are required. A part’s cost is directly proportional to the amount of material used, the time necessary to construct the part, and any post-processing that may be required.

Fully customizable method:

Since the method is based on computer-aided designs (CAD), additional product changes are simple to implement without affecting production costs.

Excellent for quick prototyping:

Since the technology enables for small quantities and in-house production, this procedure is perfect for prototyping, as goods may be generated faster than with much more conventional manufacturing processes and without relying on foreign distribution networks.

It is possible to create pieces with specified attributes:

While plastics and metals are by far the most often used materials in 3D printing, there is also the possibility of producing components from precisely customized materials with specified qualities. For example, components with high heat resistance, water repellency, or greater strengths can be developed for particular applications.

These are the disadvantages of 3D printing

Strength may be lower than with conventional manufacturing:

While certain pieces, particularly the ones made of metal, have outstanding mechanical qualities, several other 3D printed parts are fragile when compared to those generated using traditional manufacturing processes. This is due to the pieces being formed layer by layer, which diminishes the durability by 10 to 50%.

Cost increases for higher volume:

Large – scale manufacturing runs are costlier with 3D printing since economies of scale do not apply like they do in other conventional processes. Estimates indicate that when comparing similar items, 3D printing is less cost efficient than CNC machining or injection moulding in quantities more than 100 units, assuming the parts can be fabricated conventionally.

Drawbacks in accuracy:

The precision of a printed item is determined by the machine and/or the method utilised. Certain desktop printers have lesser tolerances than others, which means that the finished components may change somewhat from the blueprints. Although this may be corrected with post-processing, it should be noted that 3D printed items are not always precise.

Requirements post-processing:

Post-processing is required for the majority of 3D printed items. This might include sanding or smoothing to get the desired finish, removing support struts to enable the elements to be built up further into the desired shape, thermal treatment to obtain certain material qualities, or final cutting.

Industries Where 3D Printing is Used

Since the process is flexible, 3D printing has been applied in a variety of industrial sectors, for instance:


Due to its capacity to make lightweight, yet geometrically complicated pieces, such as blisks, 3D printing is widely employed in the aerospace (and astrospace) field. Rather than manufacturing a part from several components, 3D printing allows an object to be made as a single unit, minimizing production time and wastage of materials.


The automobile sector has adopted 3D printing because of the associated lightness and cost savings. It also enables quick prototyping of new or customized parts for testing or small-scale production. For example, if a certain item seems to be no longer accessible, it can be made as part of a limited, customized run, which includes the production of replacement parts. Conversely, goods or fasteners can be generated immediately overnight and will be available for testing prior to a bigger production run.


3D printing is being used in the medical field to create custom implants and gadgets. Hearing aids, for example, may be instantly generated from a source document that is linked to a scan of the body of the patient. 3D printing can also significantly lower production costs and timelines.


3D printing has found several uses in the rail sector, such as the manufacturing of customized parts like arm rests for drivers and housing shields for train couplings. The rail industry has also utilized the method to repair damaged rails in addition to bespoke parts.


Due to the speed of manufacturing, creative freedom, and simplicity of design customization, 3D printing is ideal for the robotics business. This involves efforts on developing customized exoskeletons and nimble robots with increased dexterity and reliability.

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