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3D printers have caught the public’s imagination. They promise a future where you can press a button and have what you want made before you as you watch. They will lower the environmental damage of traditionally made products by limiting transportation of goods and by creating less waste.
3D Printing is revolutionizing manufacturing. 3D printers have made rapid prototyping possible and it is fast becoming the standard way for companies to test out new product designs. This has lowered the cost of research and development for many companies. This is ultimately resulting in lower costs for consumers.
Aside from rapid prototyping, 3D printers are also being used in sophisticated manufacturing. For instance, aerospace companies are using 3D printing to create lighter and stronger components. Enthusiasts are using 3D printers to make things that would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to custom order before. Healthcare companies are using 3D printers to make custom organs, implants, and more.
3D printers are a new way of looking at manufacturing. Traditional manufacturing is subtractive. You start with a block of material and you chip away at it until you get what you want. In other cases, you use casts to create objects from hot liquids. 3D printing is also called additive manufacturing because you build objects from the ground up, piece-by-piece. This new way of looking at manufacturing allows for more complex designs and the mixing of different materials throughout the component.
There are many types of 3D printers. FDM printers are the most popular and the cheapest. SLA printers are the second most popular and they are often used by people making custom jewelry.
3D pens are a common way that people are getting their feet wet into 3D printing without spending a fortune to buy a machine. They are fun and kids like to use them to create whatever comes to their imagination.
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