Possibilities and limitations of 3d printers

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In summary, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process where material is added to create a final product rather than removed. It has the potential to create durable engine parts and even organs in the future. However, different types of additive manufacturing techniques and machines are required for different materials and applications. While there are printers that can handle high-quality steel products, they are expensive to run and traditional manufacturing techniques may still be cheaper. The main goal for 3D printed organs is to solve issues of organ donation and rejection, and while creating functioning, feeling organs is still a goal for the future, progress is being made.
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I read more and more news about what 3d printers created.
I wonder about two things. Can they create engine parts that has to be durable, withstand big stress? Could they do it cheaper than old fashioned ways of forging metal? Also they write about 3d printed organs, but are they rather like prosthetics, or they could produce functioning, feeling organs in near future?
 
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The main goal for printed organs is to solve the problems of dependancy on organ donation and rejection of the organs by the new host. I haven't heard of someone expecting to build an entire hand but, for internal organs, we are getting very close.

Anthony Atala: Printing a human kidney
 
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The fancy word for 3D printing is additive manufacturing. The reason for that term is that, in these production techniques, material is added to the final product, rather than removed. In a mill or a lathe you start out with a big chunk of metal and then you cut pieces off of it to get the shape you want. In additive manufacturing, you start out with nothing and then add material until you have the shape that you want.

There are a bunch of different kinds of additive manufacturing, and it's not like you can make a new liver with a 200 USD printer that is built for making small plastic toys. Different techniques and different machines for different materials and applications.

There is however, a kind of "3d printer" that handles high quality steel products. It's very expensive to run, however, and if you as a designer/manufacturer have the option to go with a traditional manufacturing technique, it will most likely be a lot cheaper.

Check this out. They made an old school steel pistol with an SLS machine.

 

1. What materials can be used in 3D printing?

3D printing can use a variety of materials, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and even food products. However, the specific materials that can be used depend on the type of 3D printer being used. Some printers are limited to certain materials, while others can use a wider range.

2. Are there size limitations for 3D printing?

Yes, there are size limitations for 3D printing. The maximum size of an object that can be printed depends on the size of the 3D printer's build platform. However, larger objects can be printed in multiple pieces and then assembled together.

3. What are the resolution capabilities of 3D printers?

The resolution of a 3D printer is determined by the layer thickness, or the height of each layer that is printed. The thinner the layer, the higher the resolution. Most 3D printers have a layer thickness of 0.1mm to 0.2mm, but some high-end printers can achieve a layer thickness of 0.01mm.

4. Can 3D printers print in multiple colors?

Yes, some 3D printers have the capability to print in multiple colors by using multiple extruders or by pausing the printing process to change the color of the filament. However, this feature is not available on all 3D printers and may require additional equipment.

5. What are the limitations of 3D printing?

Despite its many possibilities, 3D printing also has some limitations. One limitation is the time it takes to print an object, which can range from a few hours to several days depending on the size and complexity of the object. Another limitation is the cost of materials and the initial investment in a 3D printer. Additionally, 3D printers may not be suitable for printing certain types of objects, such as those that require precise and smooth surfaces.

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