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Modern uses of 3D printing

3D printing (otherwise known as additive manufacturing) is the development of a three-dimensional object from a digital CAD model or an advanced 3D model. The expression “3D printing” can refer to an assortment of cycles wherein material is added, removed, joined or set under PC control to make a 3D object, with material being added together, (for example, plastics, fluids or powder grains being intertwined), commonly layer by layer.

In recent times, 3D printing was regarded as just for the development of prototype models. In recent years, 3D printing has become more accurate, cheaper, and the available materials scope of 3D printing have expanded to the point that some 3D printing processes are thought of as practical as a modern creation alternative. One of the critical benefits of 3D printing is the capacity to deliver extremely complex shapes or calculations that would be generally difficult to build manually, including empty parts or parts with inside bracket constructions to diminish weight.

An increasingly popular and widely used type of 3D printing is known as Directed Energy Deposition or DED printing. This process brings metal powder into a melt pool created by a laser. Parts are then created by an overlay of weld beads. This technology is suitable for the manufacture of large parts, and also allows other types of applications such as the repair of worn or deteriorated parts, the addition of features (for example the modification the geometry of an existing part), metal coating on existing parts (for example modification of part properties), and the creation of new materials from multiple metals.

Examples of the modern use of 3D printing or ded additive manufacturing include Orbex – a UK based company. It recently unveiled its Prime rocket which is powered by the world’s largest 3D rocket engine. The rocket is made from a specially formulated lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium composite and is printed in one single piece. As this new engine doesn’t have any joins or welds, it has advantages over other traditionally manufactured rocket engines. Another great example of a modern application of 3D printing is in housing. In America, the 3D printer manufacturer ICON – a 3d printing machine manufacturer – teamed up with New Story – a not-for-profit organisation – to build one of the first 3D printed houses. According to them, they will be able to build a new 800 square foot, single story house, within 24 hours using a portable 3D printer – and all for under £3000!