Printing the Future

posted in: Technology | 0

3D printed bottle opener

Original post date 7th April 2013

updated 11th October 2018

What is 3D Printing ?

3D printers allow objects of any shape to be created from just a digital file. They work in an extremely simple way, by building up a 3D object from layers of material. Like a traditional inkjet printer, material, usually plastic, is laid down on a base. Further layers are simply printed on top, gradually revealing a 3D object.

The technology is used in a huge range of industries from construction to aerospace. Shoes, jewellery and even dresses have been created, with designs often sold online. Many believe it could even lead to ‘mini factories’ for living rooms allowing consumers to print anything they want – from a bracelet to a replacement part for a broken household  appliance.

Abraham Reichental, chief executive officer of 3D Systems Inc., wears an orange glove and holds a copy of a Les Paul guitar that were both made from a 3D printer while standing for a photograph after a Bloomberg West television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, April 12, 2012. Reichental discussed the company's equipment which creates three-dimensional models. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Abraham Reichental

Abraham Reichental, chief executive officer of 3D Systems Inc., wears an orange glove and holds a copy of a Les Paul guitar that were both made from a 3D printer while standing for a photograph after a Bloomberg West television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, April 12, 2012. Reichental discussed the company’s equipment which creates three-dimensional models. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Abraham Reichental

This story published in 2013 by the Mail online shows how far 3D printed has come. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2304637/Surgeon-uses-3D-printing-technology-make-cancer-patient-new-face.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

3D printers do not just print in one material, multiple materials are now available including ABS plastics, Nylon, Stainless steel and more (see Tinkercad link below) .

I found this site http://www.shapeways.com while browsing for more information in, it shows a vast array of items that can be made with 3D printing and why it could well be the most evolutionary step forward in the manufacturing process since the use of robots in factories or even the production line even the assembly line introduced by Henry Ford.

At this time (2018) a cheap 3D printer for the home costs around £130+ and printing times are relatively slow compared to a the more expensive machines which cost in excess of £2000.

Before you even consider buying a machine make sure you know exactly what you want to make and then do and here is a list of the best buys 2018 from techradar.com whilst it wont tell you what you need it will give an idea on capabilities and price.

 

Final thoughts

After reading all the articles above and looking around the web in general on the abilities of this relatively new technology a few conclusion could be drawn.

These days Joe Bloggs down the street could produce any small part or item that currently has to be manufactured in a factory and in turn this could produce more jobs all be it self employed than less. My reasoning for this is quite simple, in the last hundred years the workforce needed to produce many of the items we take for granted has been reduced by over 75% due to as mentioned above the “assembly line” and “robotics”, manufacturer’s want to make things cheaply and as efficiently as they can and by reducing labour costs they can make huge savings, this in part is done by having other companies make parts for them which are often over seas in Indonesia and China.

If people can manufacture smaller items themselves without the need for a degree in engineering and sell on sites such as eBay then the whole market place changes, with more people working for themselves money is less centralized as it is now with major corporations making huge profits and not enough jobs to go around.

Admittedly at this time in 2013 its a lot of money to spend and what could be a big gamble with a small printer costing £1500 and for time saving purposed 3D scanners costing around £4000, but 10 years from now when presumably items could be produced in minutes or even seconds compared to hours now and the cost of the hardware will be cheaper I can see this technology becoming a world re-shaper and a much needed one.

Large 3D Printers

Used 3D Printer CR-10 Prusa I3 Pre-assembled Aluminum Large Size 300x300x400mm

£187.00
End Date: Sunday Apr-14-2019 6:05:57 BST
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Anet A8 Desktop 3D Printer i3 DIY Kit - Multiple Filament Types, Large Printing

£104.27
End Date: Sunday Mar-24-2019 1:58:35 GMT
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Creality Ender 3 3D Printer Resume Print OSHW Certified 220X220X250mm 1.75mm PLA

£169.99
End Date: Thursday Apr-4-2019 8:53:46 BST
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Used Creality Ender 3 3D Printer OSHW Certified 220X220X250mm DC 24V 15A

£125.00
End Date: Friday Mar-29-2019 8:48:18 GMT
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2019 Prusa i3 3D Printer DIY Kit MK8 Extruder,MK3 Heatbed,Large Structure Size

£92.18
End Date: Saturday Mar-23-2019 6:46:35 GMT
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3D Printer Consumables

3D Printer Filament - Wood PLA -1.75mm 1Kg/2.2Lbs(Spool) Consumables 3D Printing

£18.99
End Date: Saturday Apr-6-2019 10:01:11 BST
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Black ABS 1KG 335m Spool 1.75mm 3D Printer Filament & Consumables

£12.98
End Date: Sunday Apr-14-2019 13:12:06 BST
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Yellow PLA 1KG 335m Spool 1.75mm 3D Printer Filament & Consumables

£11.59
End Date: Friday Apr-5-2019 10:48:15 BST
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3D Printer Stratasys Consumables

£325.00
End Date: Wednesday Apr-17-2019 11:14:38 BST
Buy It Now for only: £325.00
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1KG PLA Consumables 1.75mm 3D Printer Filament Rainbow Multicolor Change Print

£20.99
End Date: Saturday Mar-23-2019 9:55:37 GMT
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Feed back and constructive criticism is always welcome