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

ANYCUBIC i3 MEGA 3D Printer Full Metal Resume Print Large Print Size mit 1KG PLA

£165.00
End Date: Thursday Oct-24-2019 11:05:33 BST
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Creality Ender 3 3D Printer 220X220X250mm 1.75mm PLA DC 24V New Version UK

£139.99
End Date: Saturday Nov-16-2019 2:19:19 GMT
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UK ANYCUBIC Updated I3 Mega 3D Printer All Metal with Patented Ultrabase PLA ABS

£179.00
End Date: Monday Oct-28-2019 8:58:54 GMT
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3D printer Flsun QQ-S large size delta 255x255x360mm Auto-level Touch screen

£209.00
End Date: Sunday Oct-27-2019 8:38:15 GMT
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Geeetech 3D Printer E180 Assembled 3.2" Full Color Touch Screen UK

£159.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Oct-19-2019 10:35:34 BST
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3D Printer Consumables

Laser Tools 7585 USB 3D Printer Finishing Tool

£8.24
End Date: Tuesday Oct-29-2019 11:38:20 GMT
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Creality3D Ender-5 3D Printer Junior Industrial 220 x 220 x 300mm Wood ABS PLA

£240.00
End Date: Thursday Nov-14-2019 10:41:06 GMT
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3 in 1 Creality CP-01 3D Printer Laser CNC Engraving 220x220x200mm FDM Upgraded

£531.49
End Date: Monday Nov-4-2019 10:01:15 GMT
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3D Printer Filament Material PLA 1KG 350m 1.75mm For 3D Printers

£7.89
End Date: Tuesday Oct-22-2019 12:08:58 BST
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3D Printer Filament 1.75mm 1KG 335m PLA ABS 1KG For Makerbot Available Black UK

£9.19
End Date: Saturday Oct-19-2019 11:33:23 BST
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Feed back and constructive criticism is always welcome