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3D Printing Evolution through Time

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FLAAR Archive.

In recent years, 3D printing has had an extremely high boom. Due to its low cost of materials and high durability, 3D printing has become a viable alternative to accomplish projects and prototypes in several fields.

Over the past few years this printing technology has evolved to this day.

Large institutions such as NASA and Nike already use this technology for the production of parts and products, and have had a positive response in the market.

 

The birth and beginning of the 3D Printing

This technology begins thanks to the variation and structure of the printers and inkjet ink. Research led a series of modifications that allowed machines to “print” a material than would then solidify into a 3D structure.

In 1985, Chuck Hull devised a way of transporting data from a computer to the printer, a process called stereolithography.

In short, Chuck H. is responsible for how 3D printers work today.

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Chuck Hull showing the new 3D printer at 3D Systems Corporation. Source: www.industryweek.com.

 

Building Layer by Layer

Then, 8 years later the 3D industry evolved to give way to the first SLA machine (stereolithographic apparatus).

The innovative process of this printer is the use of a UV laser solidifying photopolymer, a liquid with the viscosity and color of honey that makes three-dimensional parts layer by layer.

The pieces printed by this machine were very imperfect and somewhat rustic, yet with a high degree of complexity.

3D printing hit the medicine field. In 1999 scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine were able to fuse the printing material and the patient’s cells to create organs, succeeding in people with bladder problems, combining the cells in the material causes a smaller percentage of incompatibility.

 

Exploration in different areas

In the 2000’s the era of exploration and creation begins. In 2002 the first kidneys are created using the same concept of using 3D printing for bladders.

Little by little 3D printers began gaining fame and in 2005, Dr. Adrian Bowyer at the University of Bath, in the UK, founded RepRap an initiative aimed to create a printer that could 3D print parts of the same printer at a lower cost to distribute them to anyone who wants one.

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View of the prototype at University of Bath. Source: www.3der.org.

Parallel to this, the SLS (selective laser sintering) machine is created. This machine uses a laser to fuse materials into 3D products.

In 2006, Object created a machine that allows printing with several materials in one piece, which elevates the game of 3D, thus diversifying the possible applications.

In 2008 the RepRap initiative managed to launch the Darwin printer which is capable of printing most of its components, which helped people who already had one, replicate printers for their friends.

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The new prototype of the Rerap initiative. Source: www.3der.org.

With all these advances in the area of 3D printing, companies wanted this technology to be more accessible to the general public.

In 2008, Shapeways launches the service for artists, architects and designers with the option of DIY, making them able to print pieces or entire projects at minimal cost.

That same year, 3D printing enters the medical world again, this time with prosthesis of high quality and durability.

Because of the cost, weight and durability of these new prostheses, this became a viable option to reach more patients.

A year later, MakerBot Industries began selling DIY kits which allowed buyers to make their own 3D printer.

 

Other Uses

Starting in 2010, different manufacturers and engineers are able to make different modifications to all these 3D printers to make bigger and more ambitious projects.

The world’s first robotic aircraft was printed, the material made its production cost down and increased glider aerodynamics considerably.

In Canada, the first 3D printed car was created, with a market cost between $10,000 – $50,000.

Then it was possible to print with gold and silver. As you may have heard, this technology empowered jewelry designers to have more freedom with their designs at lower production costs.

 

Precision and Exactitude

In 2017 3D printing has come a long way, but it has not yet reached its limit.
Nowadays this technology is used in:

• Restaurants, printing for presentation of various dishes with edible ingredients.

• Construction of bridges and even complete houses.

Courtesy: Vocativ

• Medical implants, specifically facial implants for surgical operation.

• Parts of satellites, even in space 3D printing is present, NASA has replaced many parts of rockets with parts made in printers.

• 1.80 meter printing, these are also large format printers in 3D for uses such as signage and advertising. Massivit 1800 is one of the examples of these printers in the market.

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Massivit booth at ISA 2017.

• Mimaki into the market. Mimaki right now is doing a high quality and precise printer, featuring the great details and the combination of materials that it can use. Check our note about it

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Mimaki 3D Print at ISA 2017.

Find more Here about 3D Printing in our reports.

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