3D printing (3D printing) is a technology for rapid prototyping that has been in high gear since 1986, when American scientist Chuck Hull developed the first commercial 3D printing press. It is actually the latest additive manufacturing device using technologies such as light curing and paper lamination. It uses digital model files as a basis for building objects by printing layer by layer using bondable materials to achieve the desired result. 3D printing technology is now used in many fields.
3D printing technology has been in development for more than 30 years and although it is not widespread, it is slowly making its way into human life and can be found in more and more fields. 3D printing technology has many advantages such as saving time, increasing efficiency and reducing costs, and will certainly be used in a wide range of fields in the future. Nowadays, 3D printing technology has been used in aerospace technology, medical field, electronics industry, automotive industry and so on.
Within the aerospace sector, 3D printing technology is used to make parts for flying machines, facilitating weight reduction in aircraft; 3D printed parts in civil aviation aircraft can reduce the structural mass of the aircraft, the service life of the aircraft is extended and manufacturing costs are saved.
In the medical field, a research team has already developed and produced a low-cost method of making a three-dimensional model of the liver that can see the internal structure of blood vessels and other parts. 3D printed skulls, 3D printed spines, 3D printed hearts, 3D printed palms… 3D printing technology is slowly penetrating into the medical field and will certainly play a vital role in the future.
The world's first 3D printed car was designed and manufactured by Rock Auto in the USA when it opened a new chapter in the automotive industry. It took just 44 hours to print a car and complete the composition using 3D printing technology. The body is manufactured from black plastic and wrapped in layers of carbon fibre, adding strength to the car, a more spontaneous look, environmentally friendly materials and cost savings.
The 3D printing process is divided into three parts: 3D design, slicing and processing, and finished printing. The design process for 3D printing is to first model the car through computer modelling software and then "partition" the completed 3D model into layer-by-layer sections, i.e. slices, which guide the printer to print layer-by-layer. The printer reads the cross-sections from the file, prints them out layer by layer using liquid, powder or sheet materials, and then bonds the layers together in various ways to create a solid. This technology is unique in that it can be used to create objects of any shape. Whereas traditional manufacturing techniques such as injection moulding can produce large quantities of polymer products at a low cost, 3D printing can produce relatively small quantities of products faster, more flexibly and at a lower cost. A single desktop-sized 3D printer can meet the needs of a designer or concept development team to produce a model. Some technologies can print with multiple materials at the same time. Some technologies also use supports in the printing process, for example, when printing objects that have an upside-down shape, something easily removable (such as a soluble material) is used as a support.