3D printing continued its march into every aspect of our life in 2022. This discipline is redefining prototype and production, as well as design, medicine, construction, and, of course, hobbying, with new materials, processes, and applications.
All over the world, people are discovering that 3D printing can take them to new heights. Discover these 3D printing innovations, all of which more than demonstrate the potential of additive manufacturing.
Welder for Printing:
The size of most 3D printed things is limited by the size of the 3D printer in which they are created. When seeking for a means to 3D print furniture, a group of Dutch producers discovered this interesting phenomenon. As a result, they devised their own way. The invention is a robotic arm with a print head that extrudes metal strong enough to sustain construction. They were able to print a model of a bridge that would eventually cross an Amsterdam canal by collaborating with Autodesk and the Heijmans construction business. This is just a stepping stone towards the much larger area of Construction Automation.
The great majority of 3D printing systems employ a layer-by-layer approach (thus the term “additive.” The approach has several severe drawbacks for the user. The length of time it takes to perform a task is one of the most common complaints. However, the building-up strategy limits potential materials, increases the likelihood of fault introduction, and diminishes an object’s final strength.
Powerful Personal Applications:
The field of biomedicine is where 3D printing technology has the most promise to drastically improve people’s lives. It’s undoubtedly where customized one-of-a-kind things are most needed. Many people have benefited from 3D printed implants and prostheses, but nothing could be more amazing than allowing the disabled to walk.
Prints in Space:
A rocket engine is not a toy that can be purchased on Etsy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t 3D print one or at least a portion of one. In fact, doing so allows you to test and retest faster and cheaper than any other production approach. Elon Musk and his SpaceX engineers have been testing and retesting their 3D printed SuperDraco rocket engine for years. This year, the rocket finally took off. The breakthrough of a new, mostly 3D printed, reusable rocket is exponentially bringing new options in space travel, mining, and colonization.
Of course, until something can be done with a cell phone, no technology has truly been made accessible to everybody. The National Taiwan University of Science and Technology’s head of the engineering school and a professor of mechanical engineering have created a printer that polymerizes liquid resin using light from a cell phone. This innovation might be a huge disruptor with the inclusion of tablet and TV versions that will substantially lower the cost to print, even though the device is not yet available on the market. And perhaps we’ll print as much as we text in the future.
Photo: Andrey Suslov/Shutterstock
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