In other words, the development of 3D technology can not keep up with expectations. So how to make a breakthrough?
Generally speaking, we will divide a production system into the following elements:
Design: refers to what users will be able to achieve after using their functional design.
Hardware: the part that can truly realize physical works.
Materials: including resins, metals, ceramics, plastics or natural materials. Through 3D printing technology, these materials will eventually become real functional products.
Software: responsible for converting design data into manufacturing data, including software installed on the machine and software for transmitting data to the machine.
Generally speaking, the most easily overlooked element in this system is the direct fragmented connection path in each field – Manufacturing for manufacturing a certain part, which lacks overall efficiency. The outdated way of thinking restricts the process of realizing the potential of 3D printing. If we can abandon the traditional way of thinking, maybe we can really apply 3D printing technology to reality.
Our printing design today still revolves around old technology. Today, all printed things are designed to contribute to the manufacturing process of another object, such as molding. At present, what 3D technology can achieve is to help people go beyond the stage of molding and directly enter the manufacturing link. But in fact, predecessors have made a lot of efforts and attempts to develop new design tools to improve engineering manufacturing. The development of three-dimensional manufacturing makes 3D printing technology still like a substitute for old-fashioned production.
We are still building rapid prototyping machines. The current machines are all multi-faceted experts, but they are not specialized. As rapid prototyping machines, they are only used to complete the lowest common part of all kinds of manufacturing engineering. As a result, these machines can do many things, but very few do well. We must reconsider the purpose of designing these printers and clarify the production and life problems that these technologies can solve. What we need is to build a 3D printer around the real problems that need to be solved, rather than making a machine out of thin air and then looking for a suitable problem to solve.
In the final analysis, the hardware problem is still a software problem. In addition to focusing on real-life production applications, we need to enable these machines to use software. In other words, we need a “smart” 3D printer, which has a large number of monitoring sensors and Internet access for monitoring and real-time analysis.
Materials: composites and microstructure
Perhaps one of the greatest capabilities of 3D printing is to realize the composite of multiple materials at low cost. Substances bound by certain properties, which we call “materials”, such as wood beams and paper, basically belong to wood fibers. What really makes them different is the tissue structure pattern of these fibers.
The common goal of 3D printing is to print various composite materials from one machine and realize multiple manufacturing attributes for the project at one time. However, microstructural material technology allows us to obtain more utilization value than a single material. Compared with relying on different materials for different performance, designers can use meso structural material technology to create an object with various required performance characteristics, which only requires one machine and one component (changing the organizational structure of basic cost).
As a result, it will be more flexible and effective in 3D printing. This is a new field of 3D printing development in the future.
In general, 3D printing has gone through 25 years. Looking back, we still have made a lot of progress, but we can also realize innovation by emancipating our minds and promote the qualitative development of 3D printing. We can’t be satisfied with using one machine to produce a composite material, which is said to be a great use. Under the restriction of this idea, 3D printing will never make a big breakthrough. In addition, in addition to the innovation of materials and structures, Internet connection and intelligence are also the general trend. At present, what restricts the development of the industry is not the core technology, but the overall view held by people.