Article by Chris Waldo
Custom 3D Printing – Technology – Advancements
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3D printing custom products is one of the newest phenomena’s today. This technology has allowed for the precise creation of very diverse and intricate shapes & figurines, opposed to traditional forms of manufacturing. Some materials and 3D printers offer detail levels which are less than 15 microns. Some of these materials offer full color options, as well as mechanical properties. Where I’m getting at with the materials, is that for whatever need you’re seeking in a product, 3D printing likely offers a material solution. Many companies and services have capitalized on this great technology known as 3D printing, and are opening the door to cutting edge laser technology for their clients. Through 3D printing, true customization is offered. Let me elaborate.
For 3D printing to work, a design has to be created on a computer. This computer file will then be sent to the actual 3D printer, or the machine that will do the manufacturing. This machine will then produce a product in accordance to the design sent to the machine. This product will be made out of a material specified by the product developer. Some of these materials include precious metals like gold, silver, or platinum, a variety of ABS plastics, stainless steel, and full color sandstone. There are even a variety of wax cast-able materials for creating jewelry. What am I getting at with all of this? If a product can be designed or created for a person, it can be made through 3D printing. This means that artists and developers can create truly 100% unique products. Entirely unique.
What does this include? Well, pretty much anything that can be sculpted & designed on a computer. There are tons of custom made products that are specific to each designer. There are companies that actually 3D print clients’ faces. There are businesses that create custom video game characters coming from your favorite computer games. There are custom designs made for unique purposes; for example: in the United Kingdom, a team of cyclists had custom bike helmets made. 3D printing has been used to create architectural pieces to present to clients. It has been used to create models for future products to be further developed, such as prototypes. Other products have been made such as custom board game pieces and scale models to be painted and played within war games. Accessories such as iphone cases and various custom jewelry have been developed. It’s almost pointless to keep naming examples because there are simply too many to cover. Just imagine this. If it can be drawn on a computer screen through various free and paid softwares, it can be manufactured through 3D printing. Not only that, but the models designed are designed differently; traditional forms of manufacturing simply don’t offer the same build capabilities when it comes down to actually creating the products. 3D printing offers a quicker solution that has the potential to create more diverse models. These models are often more inexpensive than traditional forms of manufacturing such as machining. Regardless, this industry is going nowhere but up. Just imagine where this industry will be 20 years from now.
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