3D printing is an additive form of manufacturing real world objects, off templates, from machines or printers designed to be self sufficient, mobile factories. 3D printers are like a cross between your printer, that prints on paper, and a manufacturing factory. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the ones that sit on your desk to the ones bigger than a house.
How they work?
Most forms of building or manufacturing involve taking a raw material, metal or wood for example, cutting away the excess and leaving you with what is going to be used in the creation of the product. This is best known as subtractive manufacturing. This technique results in wastage no matter what traditional approach is used, including prefabricated manufacturing.
3D printers however use an additive approach where the raw materials, typically plastics but not limited to, are fed in to the machine and based on a template, only what is required is used to make the product. This is done by adding layer after layer of the raw material, much like how your printer prints on paper line by line.
This similarity in creation approach with printers explains why they were called 3D printers and not 3D manufacturers. Also like printers, only your creativity and ability limit you in terms of what you can make or produce with these revolutionary machines.
This new way of looking at making anything and putting it into the hands of more people is not only going to change the way we make things, but also what and how we purchase. This tool will reshape many industries & consumer behaviour and in turn, a lot of aspects of life as we know it.
Check out “11 really creative ways to use 3D printers.”
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