What Industries Use 3D Printing?
Although most people may think of 3D printing as a technology primarily used for making prototypes, it has many other applications. It can be used to print objects from almost any material.
3D printing is a complex way to turn a digital file into a useful 3D object. This process allows manufacturers to produce complex designs with higher precision and accuracy than traditional manufacturing methods.
As we know, every industry doesn't use 3D printing yet because the cost is high and requires a big budget, but in the near future, I believe that 3D printing will be cheaper and more accessible to people worldwide.
Below are the industries using 3D printing right now.
Aerospace & Defense
Today, 3D printing is used for making prototypes and helping to advance the aerospace and defense industry. It’s also used to design and test components that are too complex or expensive to produce using traditional techniques.
Airline companies and aircraft designers use 3D printing to make lighter parts that require less fuel. This is important, considering fuel is one of the largest operational expenses for airlines.
The most notable change in this industry is the use of additive manufacturing and how well it collaborates with 3D printing. This industry also has the budget to spend big up front with 3D printing technology.
Medical & Healthcare
With the aging population growing, disease-related issues like joint pain and mobility loss are also rising. To address this, researchers are developing 3D-printed assistive devices.
These devices are designed to help people move around their homes more efficiently, reducing their dependence on caregivers. Beyond just medical devices, 3D printing has also advanced with custom implants.
The industry still has room to grow, and the hope in the future is to turn an image of a knee or elbow into a CAD blueprint. This blueprint would be sent to a 3D printer to start building the implant immediately.
The automobile industry makes extensive use of 3D printing. For example, some carmakers have used 3D printing to create the molds needed for carbon fiber production.
They’ve also designed and printed car parts such as the chassis, engine, and even the car’s interior. Automotive engineers can also use 3D printing to analyze and optimize the design of a part before producing it.
The future hopes to see a more significant presence of 3D printing in the automobile production process. It’s still a work in progress, but 3D printing can eliminate things like mold to cut costs and make car parts faster.
Engineers in the robotics industry use 3D printing for rapid prototyping, in-field part replacement, and assembly line automation.
They also use it to create end effectors (tools for grasping, holding, or interacting with objects) for automated devices such as medical robots.
3D printing in the robotics industry has increased due to its ability to produce prototypes and models quickly and cheaply. 3D printers can also be used to create parts for robots because they can build customized pieces that can be made on demand.
The future of robotics will rely heavily on 3D printing. These machines are too accurate, and building complex robotics requires precision to build them efficiently on a larger scale.
Industries that specialize in mechanical engineering are starting to use 3D printing extensively. This includes automotive, aerospace, robotics, and other fields that design and build machines.
They use 3D printed parts to test designs and as quick replacements in the field. For example, if you drive a car with a manual transmission, you might have noticed that the knob that moves the gearshift is usually plastic.
Engineers have used 3D printing to create metal molds for these parts for decades. They’ve also used it to create molds for casting parts, such as medical implants.
The other development in mechanical engineering is the ability to 3D print advanced tools. The printer nozzles will need to increase in size, but these machiner makers are already finding ways to utilize 3D printing.
Culture & Art
The culture and art industries use 3D printing to create sculptures and other art pieces. Artists can use computer software to design 3D models of sculptures and then use 3D printers to create them.
Artists can also use 3D printing to create large-scale sculptures that they wouldn’t be able to produce using traditional methods. This is because 3D printers can use materials (such as sand and metals) that are too heavy to be used in normal-sized sculptures.
The architecture and construction industries use 3D printing to create architectural models. They do this so that clients can see the progress of the building in a more realistic manner.
Artists and designers also use 3D printers to create working prototypes of new designs. Designers can use them to make quick, inexpensive, more accurate prototypes than sketch-and-mold mock-ups.
What Are The Different Applications Of 3D Printing?
3D printing is used in many different industries and applications. The most basic application of 3D printing is making prototypes for products still in the design stage.
However, the industry changes fast, and something new happens daily.
Faster Manufacturing & Prototyping
Prototyping is the process of creating a model of a design to test its functionality and design flaws. 3D printing is used to develop prototypes and get them into manufacturing faster.
Another thing 3D printing is doing is inspiring innovation. Engineers are faster in developing and getting these designs into production because 3D printing simplifies the process.
Fabrication is the process of creating objects from raw materials. 3D printing is a type of fabrication, but it isn’t used exclusively for this purpose.
Why Doesn’t Every Industry Use 3D Printing?
3D printing is used in many industries, making it seem like a superior technology. However, it isn’t suitable for every industry.
Engineers must carefully consider the costs and benefits of 3D printing for their industry. If it’s affordable and suitable for their application, then it’s a good technology choice.
The cost of 3D printing is high because it requires more expensive hardware and more expensive materials. The price depends on the size, complexity, and number of prints needed for the project.
For example, in some industries, the energy required to power 3D printers creates an excessive carbon footprint. In others, the noise created by 3D printers is too disruptive for the workplace.