3-D Printing Essay

1235 Words5 Pages
Introduction
3-D printing is a relatively new technology compared to other manufacturing methods. It first showed is face in the 1980’s and then faded out of limelight due to the high cost of procurement and operation. In the early 2000’s, breakthroughs occurred when working printed kidneys appeared and SLS (selective laser sintering) machines became available. During late 2009, the early advocates finally produced machines cheap enough - but still capable of great precision and accuracy - that were available to the consumer. These machines can produce items of virtually anything with applications varying from fashion and food to advanced engineered systems. The versatility of this type of machine promotes its popularity and encourages
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Applications
Around 2010, 3-D printers became available to consumers in desktop form and their popularity exploded. The most iconic example of these machines’ emerging popularity is the 3-D printable plastic gun, which was fully functional. This simple but cutting edge piece of consumer technology became a diadem in the eyes of hobbyists and small scale manufacturers alike while arousing concerns amongst governmental and anti-weapons activists as to the legality and safety issues 3-D printers posed. (Simon Bradshaw)By now, anyone with only some designing inclinations could use freely available Google SketchUp to create basic 3-D objects. Because of the applications of this wonderful technology, the industry grew in leaps and bounds. With companies such as Boeing, Virgin Atlantic, Bentley, Delphi and MTT investing into research and development, the estimated worth of the industry is currently estimated at 2.2 billion dollars. (Jon Excell) Boeing’s interest in 3-D printing comes from their desire for complex, hard to manufacture parts for jet engines. In fact, Boeing uses 22 thousand different 3-D printed parts across the broad range of their military aircraft. (Christopher Winnan) Healthcare is right behind in the race to implement additive manufacturing into medical practices. A recent ASME presentation on additive manufacturing exhibited images of stents

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