Saturday 23 January 2016

Why 3D printing is the future

New technologies are playing a big role in adding many benefits to construction projects. As more companies embrace new concepts such as BIM, they are finding they can save time and money in the design process of major projects. 3D printing is no different. 3D printing is making its mark as it reshapes product development and manufacturing. Here we take a look at a few reasons why 3D printing is the future.

So what is the actual concept of 3D printing and how does it work? 3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. It all starts with making a virtual design of the object you want to create. This virtual design is made in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using a 3D modeling program (for the creation of a totally new object) or with the use of a 3D scanner (to copy an existing object). A 3D scanner makes a 3D digital copy of an object.

So what benefits will creating a 3D printed object bring? Well it most certainly helps with that precious commodity that is very important in the construction process, time. New 3D printing processes have reduced the time it takes for designers and engineers to conceptualize, create, and test prototypes. This can be invaluable to designers as it gives them the ability to save time whilst also having the opportunity to create an extremely accurate model of how a new building will look.

3D printing can also help reduce the costs of a project. For industrial manufacturing, one of the most cost-, time- and labour-intensive stages of the product development process is the production of the tools. For low to medium volume applications, industrial 3D printing — or additive manufacturing — can eliminate the need for tool production and, therefore, the costs, lead times and labour associated with it.

The perks of using 3D printing don’t end there. As we enter 2016, the need to be as sustainable and energy efficient as possible has never been greater. 3D printing is emerging as an energy-efficient technology that can provide environmental efficiencies in terms of both the manufacturing process itself, utilising up to 90% of standard materials and, therefore, creating less waste, but also throughout an additively manufactured product’s operating life.

It is becoming more and more common for businesses to use 3D printing that at any time in the past. Some may have looked at the idea of 3D printing and thought it to be an expensive technological solution when one was not needed. However, it is very clear that it is now meeting business needs for customers. With effects on energy use, waste reduction, product availability, medicine, art, construction and sciences, 3D printing will change the manufacturing world as we know it. 3D printing looks set to stay, unless you’re from another dimension.
Reblog from: Ricci, P. (2016). Why 3D printing is the future. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2016].