3D printing (3DP) is a kind of rapid prototyping technology. It is a technique for constructing objects by layer-by-layer printing based on digital model files and using adhesive materials such as powder metal or plastic.
3D printing is usually done using a digital technology material printer. It is often used in the manufacture of molds in the fields of mold manufacturing, industrial design, etc., and is gradually used for the direct manufacture of some products. There are already parts printed using this technology.
The technology is used in the jewelry, footwear, industrial design, construction, engineering and construction (AEC), automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education, geographic information systems, civil engineering, firearms and other fields.
On January 14, 2019, the University of California, San Diego, used the rapid 3D printing technology to create a spinal scaffold that mimicked the structure of the central nervous system, which successfully helped the rat to recover its motor function.
The printing materials of ordinary printers are ink and paper, and the 3D printer is equipped with different "printing materials" such as metal, ceramic, plastic, sand, etc. It is a real raw material. After the printer is connected with the computer, it can be printed by computer control. The materials are layered up one by one, eventually turning the blueprint on the computer into a real thing.
There are many different technologies for 3D printing. They differ in that they are created in the same way as the available materials and in different layers.
Common materials for 3D printing are nylon glass fiber, durable nylon material, gypsum material, aluminum material, titanium alloy, stainless steel, silver plated, gold plated, rubber material.
The design process of 3D printing is: firstly modeling by computer modeling software, and then “partitioning” the built 3D model into a layer-by-layer section, ie, slicing, to guide the printer to print layer by layer.
“3D printing is indeed more suitable for small-scale manufacturing, especially high-end customized products, such as auto parts manufacturing. Although the main material is plastic, the future metal materials will definitely be used in 3D printing,” said Krump. 3D printing technology has entered the dentistry, jewelry, and medical industries, and the scope of application in the future will become wider and wider.
Direction of development
1.Standard setting body
When a lab makes drawings and needs to share it, it will find too many formats and standards, so the field of 3D printing prototypes looks like barbaric growth, no standard.
2.Open source design, configuration and software
When there is a unified standard, the 3D printing industry will usher in open source. Nowadays, too many teams focus on improving their 3D printing level and developing in the closed loop of their own. In fact, the industry needs open source of devices and software to generate more useful, efficient, and open innovations under unified standards.
Prototype printing is not taken seriously, so many medical device manufacturers now place printing equipment in a dirty, dusty place. In fact, there are now commercially-operated 3D printing labs to help these companies print higher quality prototypes.