For a long time scientists and individuals have dreamed of a machine that can duplicate any object, this fantasy is now a reality. This manufacturing three-dimensional technology called 3D printing is a revolutionary manufacturing technique. This previously limited to industrial process in the form of large machines for rapid prototyping, is now preparing to step into our homes with reproductive capabilities and virtually unlimited creation. If 3D printing is surely technological innovation of this century, everyone questions what influence this new devices could have on our daily lives.
The 3D printer – when fiction becomes reality
Like his rocket in “the moon was on” who at the time did not yet exist, the famous author Hergé Tintin, was also a visionary with 3D printing. Indeed in the early 70s, the famous professor invented a strange machine to duplicate. A kind of i-tech copier capable of reproducing copy of any object in 3D. An invention that seemed at the time to his readers, as futuristic and unlikely that a microwave oven and yet …
Today fiction has given way to real cutting edge technology and the process which detonates as it differs from our current manufacturing methods. Indeed it is a totally innovative technique of using a computer file called CAD (computer aided design) that separates the operation in several actions. Layers of material are then superimposed from the coordinates transmitted by a 3D file. Solidifying, then it eventually shape the object. This unit is named after the mechanism used which is actually quite close to a conventional printer paper. Like the latter, it is also equipped with nozzles but the difference is not ink but molten plastic ABS or PLA type. An innovative method that prints embossed images and realize his ideas. Hull iphone medical prostheses, the scope is extremely broad.
3D printing, the third industrial revolution?
If the three-dimensional printing arouses much interest and emulation is its ability to radically change the way we produce. A manufacturing method that could revolutionize our industry like Fordism and Taylorism. This method, which was introduced in the 80’s gained acclaim by enabling rapid prototyping . A prototype is the first version of a product, it is used to test and validate its functions, its capacity and deliverability. This is a model produced in very small quantities and which may often change characteristics. Thereby producing a prototype is very expensive, the design of a mold is very expensive and unpleasant surprises in the release are not rare. Additive manufacturing and accurately stereolithography or laser sintering are processes that reduce these costs up to 10.
This additive manufacturing technology, the principle is to superimpose the matter is clearly opposed to traditional manufacturing techniques which consist instead to subtract from the material (milling, drilling …) or to deform (casting). Three-dimensional printing lets out a piece of a single block by removing the assembly steps, tools and large labor force. Also in 3D print requires modeling the piece and allows precise this model to better visualize and identify potential design flaws. So many companies have already adopted the 3D printer to save on the design of their models and accelerate time to production. All sectors are concerned, both the architecture, aerospace, as medicine or fashion.It may well include Renault, who used this process for the development of its Twizy or Nike with its Vapor Carbon Elite.
To mass production?
In recent years 3D printing has evolved. With patent expiry and declining cost of its machines, it turned to the production of consumer goods. Today almost anyone can access, as well as the small business individual. Thanks to its versatility it is possible to manufacture a wide range of objects, from simple curtain hooks orthopedic prostheses.
The new mid-printer half-robot camera is shaking up the way we produce. If before it was necessary to equip several machines, only one day is enough to produce a wide variety of objects on small and medium series. This reduces production costs due to the reduced number of machines and assembly which finds in simplified or even non-existent. The 3D printer runs counter to the very concept of production and supply chain. With it you can produce hyper-lean, reducing storage + transport and therefore their costs. In some cases all of this same channel becomes obsolete. Indeed 3D printer owners can simply design a 3D file or recover to make their own objects, overshadowing the whole chain. In the future it could very well imagine industrial no longer selling their products in supermarkets, but their digital files directly to clients and from all traditional logistics. Provided the technique is still in its infancy for this type of production, only time will tell if it will adapt to the mass market.
The enormous and undeniable advantage of the three-dimensional printing is its customization capability. It produces unique items very easily and cheaply. Individuals, engineers or designers can now create on their own, thanks to the versatility and level of creativity offered by this process. A different interaction with the consumer is taking shape, the manufacturer can respond and adapt more easily to its demands and tastes. Today designers and manufacturers have the opportunity to propose (as is done on some platforms) the 3D file of an object on which the consumer may intervene by bringing its own changes as you like. Some platforms services online such as for example Sculpteo offers print and personalize your cell phone shell by printing your own face or even to the relief of a landscape … Sign fort this customization potential, other services offer even print your own action figure (see photo), a mini-me incredibly faithful to the original.
Regarding the cost of the combination of technology, it is increasingly prohibitive months. For personal 3D printers, and Makerbot 3D Systems which are the two leading manufacturers in this market offer machines between 1200 € and 3,900 €. Nevertheless new models more affordable begin to appear as the Da Vinci 1.0 for 619 € out there a few months or M3D $ 349 and MOD-t for $ 249 soon to be marketed. About the cost of professional printers, prices vary considerably, from about € 5,000 to several hundred thousand euros for industrial machines. Like many technologies before them, such as flat screens that were prohibitive there 10 years, the 3D printer becomes increasingly accessible both in terms of cost of operation. You will therefore understand, we are at the dawn of home use. Who knows, in the future this machine will be as commonplace as your microvawe oven or computer. I-tech equipment now available and tailored to the individual for the production and customization of its own objects.