outdraw - utdrag
The Next Big Thing: 3D Printing
The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.
– Arthur C. Clarke
That revolution is 3D printing.
What is 3D printing? A 3D printer looks similar to a traditional printer, but instead of outputting images or words on a flat piece of paper, 3D printing creates three-dimensional objects. It does this by depositing many thin layers of material on top of each other.
Instead of ink, 3D printers use special powdered substrates that can include plastics, metals, concrete, glass, and even chocolate, along with a chemical binder. The material is deposited in microscopic amounts from a print head that slides along rails.
Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands and thus undermines economies of scale. It may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did... Just as nobody could have predicted the impact of the steam engine in 1750 – or the printing press in 1450, or the transistor in 1950 – it is impossible to foresee the long-term impact of 3D printing. But the technology is coming, and it is likely to disrupt every field it touches.
– The Economist, February 2011
Subtractive Manufacturing vs. Additive Manufacturing
“3D printing” is almost a misleading term. Instead, it should be called additive printing. Whatever you call it, it is the exact opposite of how manufacturing is done today.
Traditional fabrication techniques involve filling fixed-shape molds, whittling down blocks of material to the correct shape, or drilling holes – what you end up with is always less than what you start with.
3D printing, on the other hand, builds things up molecule by molecule – no retooling, no molds, no waste.
3D printing sounds more like science fiction than reality, but here are three videos that demonstrate the amazing objects that 3D printers can produce.