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3D printing

Today, the precision, repeatability and material range have increased to the point that some 3D printing processes are considered viable as an industrial production technology, whereby the term additive manufacturing can be used synonymously with 3D printing.

In 3D Printing, a three-dimensional object is built from a computer-aided design (CAD) model, usually by successively adding material layer by layer, unlike the conventional machining process, where material is removed from a stock item, or the casting and forging processes which date to antiquity.[3][4]

The term 3D printing still referred only to the polymer technologies in most minds, and the term AM was more likely to be used in metalworking and end use part production contexts than among polymer, ink-jet, or stereo lithography enthusiasts.

By early 2010s, the terms 3D printing and additive manufacturing evolved senses in which they were alternate umbrella terms for additive technologies, one being used in popular language by consumer-maker communities and the media, and the other used more formally by industrial end-use part producers, machine manufacturers, and global technical standards organizations.

Other terms that have been used as synonyms or hypernyms have included desktop manufacturing, rapid manufacturing (as the logical production-level successor to rapid prototyping), and on-demand manufacturing (which echoes on-demand printing in the 2D sense of printing).

Such application of the adjectives rapid and on-demand to the noun manufacturing was novel in the 2000s reveals the prevailing mental model of the long industrial era in which almost all production manufacturing involved long lead times for laborious tooling development.

Agile tooling is the use of modular means to design tooling that is produced by additive manufacturing or 3D printing methods to enable quick prototyping and responses to tooling and fixture needs.

Agile tooling uses a cost effective and high quality method to quickly respond to customer and market needs, and it can be used in hydro-forming, stamping, injection molding and other manufacturing processes.

In 1981, Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute invented two additive methods for fabricating three-dimensional plastic models with photo-hardening thermoset polymer, where the UV exposure area is controlled by a mask pattern or a scanning fiber transmitter.[9][10]

1988: The technology used by most 3D printers to date—especially hobbyist and consumer-oriented models—is fused deposition modeling, a special application of plastic extrusion, developed in 1988 by S.

AM processes for metal sintering or melting (such as selective laser sintering, direct metal laser sintering, and selective laser melting) usually went by their own individual names in the 1980s and 1990s.

although plenty of automation was applied to those technologies (such as by robot welding and CNC), the idea of a tool or head moving through a 3D work envelope transforming a mass of raw material into a desired shape with a toolpath was associated in metalworking only with processes that removed metal (rather than adding it), such as CNC milling, CNC EDM, and many others.

1993 : The term 3D printing originally referred to a powder bed process employing standard and custom inkjet print heads, developed at MIT in 1993 and commercialized by Soligen Technologies, Extrude Hone Corporation, and Z Corporation.

The year 1993 also saw the start of a company called Solidscape, introducing a high-precision polymer jet fabrication system with soluble support structures, (categorized as a 'dot-on-dot' technique).

As the various additive processes matured, it became clear that soon metal removal would no longer be the only metalworking process done through a tool or head moving through a 3D work envelope transforming a mass of raw material into a desired shape layer by layer.

It is still the case that casting, fabrication, stamping, and machining are more prevalent than additive manufacturing in metalworking, but AM is now beginning to make significant inroads, and with the advantages of design for additive manufacturing, it is clear to engineers that much more is to come.

CAD models can be saved in the stereolithography file format (STL), a de facto CAD file format for additive manufacturing that stores data based on triangulations of the surface of CAD models.

STL is not tailored for additive manufacturing because it generates large file sizes of topology optimized parts and lattice structures due to the large number of surfaces involved.

Once completed, the STL file needs to be processed by a piece of software called a 'slicer,' which converts the model into a series of thin layers and produces a G-code file containing instructions tailored to a specific type of 3D printer (FDM printers).[37]

For that printer resolution, specifying a mesh resolution of 0.01–0.03 mm and a chord length ≤ 0.016 mm generate an optimal STL output file for a given model input file.[39]

Traditional techniques like injection moulding can be less expensive for manufacturing polymer products in high quantities, but additive manufacturing can be faster, more flexible and less expensive when producing relatively small quantities of parts.

Though the printer-produced resolution is sufficient for many applications, greater accuracy can be achieved by printing a slightly oversized version of the desired object in standard resolution and then removing material using a higher-resolution subtractive process.[42]

ISO/ASTM52900-15 defines seven categories of Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes within its meaning: binder jetting, directed energy deposition, material extrusion, material jetting, powder bed fusion, sheet lamination, and vat photopolymerization.[60]

Selective laser melting does not use sintering for the fusion of powder granules but will completely melt the powder using a high-energy laser to create fully dense materials in a layer-wise method that has mechanical properties similar to those of conventional manufactured metals.

Another method consists of an inkjet 3D printing system, which creates the model one layer at a time by spreading a layer of powder (plaster, or resins) and printing a binder in the cross-section of the part using an inkjet-like process.

As of December 2017, additive manufacturing systems were on the market that ranged from $99 to $500,000 in price and were employed in industries including aerospace, architecture, automotive, defense, and medical replacements, among many others.

Unlike other methods of 3D printing it does not build models through depositing layers of material like fused deposition modelling and stereolithography, instead it creates objects using a series of 2D images projected onto a cylinder of resin.[78][80]

Liquid additive manufacturing (LAM) is an additive manufacturing technique which deposits a liquid or high viscose material (e.g Liquid Silicone Rubber) onto a build surface to create an object which then vulcanised using heat to harden the object.[81][82][83]

For example, rapid prototyping was one of the earliest additive variants, and its mission was to reduce the lead time and cost of developing prototypes of new parts and devices, which was earlier only done with subtractive toolroom methods such as CNC milling, turning, and precision grinding.[88]

Virtual planning of surgery and guidance using 3D printed, personalized instruments have been applied to many areas of surgery including total joint replacement and craniomaxillofacial reconstruction with great success.[114]

As of 2012[update], 3D bio-printing technology has been studied by biotechnology firms and academia for possible use in tissue engineering applications in which organs and body parts are built using inkjet printing techniques.

The evidence for such claims comes from both the low-cost ability for rapid prototyping in the classroom by students, but also the fabrication of low-cost high-quality scientific equipment from open hardware designs forming open-source labs.[135]

Other museums, like the National Museum of Military History and Varna Historical Museum, have gone further and sell through the online platform Threeding digital models of their artifacts, created using Artec 3D scanners, in 3D printing friendly file format, which everyone can 3D print at home.[140]

The majority of the existing soft actuators are fabricated by conventional methods that require manual fabrication of devices, post processing/assembly, and lengthy iterations until maturity of the fabrication is achieved.

However, many patent, design and copyright laws contain a standard limitation or exception for 'private', 'non-commercial' use of inventions, designs or works of art protected under intellectual property (IP).

In other countries the law and the courts may apply a different approach allowing, for example, the design of a useful device to be registered (as a whole) as an industrial design on the understanding that, in case of unauthorized copying, only the non-functional features may be claimed under design law whereas any technical features could only be claimed if covered by a valid patent.

The US Department of Homeland Security and the Joint Regional Intelligence Center released a memo stating that 'significant advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing capabilities, availability of free digital 3D printable files for firearms components, and difficulty regulating file sharing may present public safety risks from unqualified gun seekers who obtain or manufacture 3D printed guns' and that 'proposed legislation to ban 3D printing of weapons may deter, but cannot completely prevent, their production.

3D printing advocates have suggested that such regulations would be futile, could cripple the 3D printing industry, and could infringe on free speech rights, with early pioneer of 3D printing Professor Hod Lipson suggesting that gunpowder could be controlled instead.[157][158][159][160][161][162][163]

He has suggested that the FAA's focus should be on guidance to explain compliance, rather than on changing the existing rules, and that existing regulations and guidance permit a company 'to develop a robust quality system that adequately reflects regulatory needs for quality assurance.'[171]

In 2017 the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has published a discussion paper on the processes and materials involved in 3D printing, potential implications of this technology for occupational safety and health and avenues for controlling potential hazards.[173]

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study noted particle emissions from a fused filament peaked a few minutes after printing started and returned to baseline levels 100 minutes after printing ended.[175]

Based on animal studies, carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers sometimes used in fused filament printing can cause pulmonary effects including inflammation, granulomas, and pulmonary fibrosis when at the nanoparticle size.[179]

Other general health and safety concerns include the hot surface of UV lamps and print head blocks, high voltage, ultraviolet radiation from UV lamps, and potential for mechanical injury from moving parts.[183]

The problems noted in the NIOSH report were reduced by using manufacturer-supplied covers and full enclosures, using proper ventilation, keeping workers away from the printer, using respirators, turning off the printer if it jammed, and using lower emission printers and filaments.

These post-processing activities can include chemical baths, sanding, polishing, or vapor exposure to refine surface finish, as well as general subtractive manufacturing techniques such as drilling, milling, or turning to modify the printed geometry.[184]

Any technique that removes material from the printed part has the potential to generate particles that can be inhaled or cause eye injury if proper personal protective equipment is not used, such as respirators or safety glasses.

Although no occupational exposure limits specific to 3D printer emissions exist, certain source materials used in 3D printing, such as carbon nanofiber and carbon nanotubes, have established occupational exposure limits at the nanoparticle size.[175][185]

Finally, given the ease with which certain objects can now be replicated, it remains to be seen whether changes will be made to current copyright legislation so as to protect intellectual property rights with the new technology widely available.

This includes websites that allow users to access information such as how to build a 3D printer, as well as social forums that discuss how to improve 3D print quality and discuss 3D printing news, as well as social media websites that are dedicated to share 3D models.[195][196][197]

The self-reinforced fantasy of a system of eternal growth can be overcome with the development of economies of scope, and here, society can play an important role contributing to the raising of the whole productive structure to a higher plateau of more sustainable and customized productivity.[198]

While the advantages of scale rest on cheap global transportation, the economies of scope share infrastructure costs (intangible and tangible productive resources), taking advantage of the capabilities of the fabrication tools.[198]

in that 'some of the least developed parts of the world need some of the most advanced technologies,' Commons-based peer production and 3D printing may offer the necessary tools for thinking globally but acting locally in response to certain needs.

And the trends are all in the wrong direction, particularly for the less skilled, as the capacity of capital embodying artificial intelligence to replace white-collar as well as blue-collar work will increase rapidly in the years ahead.'

Summers recommends more vigorous cooperative efforts to address the 'myriad devices' (e.g., tax havens, bank secrecy, money laundering, and regulatory arbitrage) enabling the holders of great wealth to 'a paying' income and estate taxes, and to make it more difficult to accumulate great fortunes without requiring 'great social contributions' in return, including: more vigorous enforcement of anti-monopoly laws, reductions in 'excessive' protection for intellectual property, greater encouragement of profit-sharing schemes that may benefit workers and give them a stake in wealth accumulation, strengthening of collective bargaining arrangements, improvements in corporate governance, strengthening of financial regulation to eliminate subsidies to financial activity, easing of land-use restrictions that may cause the real estate of the rich to keep rising in value, better training for young people and retraining for displaced workers, and increased public and private investment in infrastructure development—e.g., in energy production and transportation.[204]

This process of labor substitution and disintermediation has been underway for some time in service sectors—think of ATMs, online banking, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, mobile payment systems, and much more.

Spence believes that, unlike prior digital technologies, which drove firms to deploy underutilized pools of valuable labor around the world, the motivating force in the current wave of digital technologies 'is cost reduction via the replacement of labor.'

Spence believes that labor, no matter how inexpensive, will become a less important asset for growth and employment expansion, with labor-intensive, process-oriented manufacturing becoming less effective, and that re-localization will appear in both developed and developing countries.

Naomi Wu regards the usage of 3D printing in the Chinese classroom (where rote memorization is standard) to teach design principles and creativity as the most exciting recent development of the technology, and more generally regards 3D printing as being the next desktop publishing revolution.[206]

As opposed to traditional manufacturing, for instance, in which pieces are cut from larger blocks of material, additive manufacturing creates products layer-by-layer and prints only relevant parts, wasting much less material and thus wasting less energy in producing the raw materials needed.[207]

By making only the bare structural necessities of products, additive manufacturing also could make a profound contribution to lightweighting, reducing the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of vehicles and other forms of transportation.[208]

A case study on an airplane component made using additive manufacturing, for example, found that the component's use saves 63% of relevant energy and carbon dioxide emissions over the course of the product's lifetime.[209]

In addition, previous life-cycle assessment of additive manufacturing has estimated that adopting the technology could further lower carbon dioxide emissions since 3D printing creates localized production, and products would not need to be transported long distances to reach their final destination.[210]

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