What is 3D Printing? - Advantages and Disadvantages of 3D Printing Technology

3D printing is a process of creating three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. 3D printers are different from other technologies by providing easier, faster and cheaper solutions. There are some drawbacks of 3D printing technology. Like other technologies, 3D printing can also be used for ethical or unethical purposes; this does not mean that some technologies should be abandoned. The focus should be on the law and the highly positive use of 3D printing.
3D printers
3D printer - What are the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing technology?

What is 3D Printing and How It Works -Advantages and Disadvantages of 3D Printing Technology

What is 3D Printing?

Three dimensional (3D) printing is one of the modern manufacturing methods where three dimensional solid objects can be manufactured from a digital file by designing them on a computer and then printing them with a 3D printer. 
This innovative technology not only offers flexibility and precision but also presents an opportunity for eco-friendly prints. 3D printing technology allows you to produce complex shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods, making it a more sustainable option for eco-friendly prints. By optimizing the design and reducing material waste, 3D printing minimizes the environmental impact associated with production processes. 

The emergence of 3D printing dates back more than 30 years, but interest in it did not appear significantly until recent years. As is well known, 3D printers were initially very expensive, and not easily obtained. 
However, today, with the removal of many obstacles, such as high price obstacles, the 3D printer is available for personal use and is available in global markets in suitable sizes and at acceptable prices. 

Now, it is possible to obtain different forms and features for 3D printers at different prices, for example, it has become possible to obtain a 3D printer at a price of less than 500 US dollars after its prices exceeded 50 thousand dollars.

A 3D printer can print a very complex product with different materials and is used in many fields including aviation, space, engineering, medicine, construction, education and entertainment such as food printing and accessories.

How Do 3D Printers Work? 

A 3D printed object is created using additive processes. The printing process is done by stacking layers of material on top of each other through a small nozzle that rotates properly under computer control and waits for it to dry and then prints the next layer of the material on top. This process continues until the required body size is reached. The plastic with which the models are printed is obviously extremely important.

Types of 3D Printers
There are 9 different types of 3D printers, including:
  1. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) - most popular
  2. Stereolithography (SLA)
  3. Selective Laser Melting (SLM)
  4. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
  5. Electronic Beam Melting (EBM)
  6. Material Jetting (MJ)
  7. Binder Jetting (BJ)
  8. Digital Light Processing (DLP)
  9. Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM)

What are the Advantages of 3D Printing Technology?

3D printers are distinguished from other technologies by providing easier, faster and cheaper solutions. 
3D printers allow designing complex configurations that need to overlap many of the normal manufacturing processes.
At the beginning of the emergence of this type of printer, plastic was the only material used in printing, but with the development of technology, various materials such as ceramics, gold, silver, titanium, and gypsum are introduced.

3D printing has entered life more than you can imagine. It has been used in space science, engineering, medicine, and entertainment. With this type of printer, it will be easier to obtain materials and tools more easily and at lower prices. 
In the field of medicine, for example, it has become possible to design many forms of tissues and organs, such as the heart, liver and kidneys, with ease.

With the development of 3D printing, it has also become possible to manufacture prostheses and orthotics, replace eroded joints and manufacture medical devices. 
In fact, Chinese surgeons have actually implanted a skull made by 3D printing of a girl with hydrocephalus to keep the skull growing naturally.

With the development of a 3D printing machine, a lot of imagination has become a reality, as it has become possible to make what we can imagine from shoes, furniture, figures and toys with ease, and it has also become possible to design the map that you want and then build your dream house with the dimensions you want using 3D printing.

In the field of space science, the American Space Agency NASA sent a printer to the International Space Station and astronauts were able to print one of the station's components in space. This is an important step for self-sufficiency in manufacturing damaged spare parts.

Many people interested in this technology believe that it will contribute to reducing effort and money, as well as saving time.
 As a company made a complete car ready to drive using this technology within 40 hours, with the expectation that this period will decrease to 24 hours only.

3D technology is also considered to be environmentally friendly, as it is expected to use recyclable plastics, cement residues and mine waste in making useful materials and tools.

What are the Disadvantages of 3D Printing Technology?

There are some drawbacks of 3D printing technology, including:

High Energy Consumption: 3D printers consume a lot of energy to produce large quantities and are therefore more suitable for operating small production groups. 
According to research, 3D printers consume about 50 to 100 times more energy than injection molding when plastic is melted with heat or laser.

Limited Materials: Many different materials can be used to print 3D objects, such as polylactic acid (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS plastic), polyamide (nylon), stereolithography materials (epoxy resins),  glass filled polyamide, photopolymers, polycarbonate, silver, titanium, steel, and wax but 3D printers are not yet versatile enough to work with most materials.

Harmful Emissions: 3D printers that are used in enclosed spaces such as homes can result in high volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and generate carcinogenic particles and potentially toxic emissions that may cause many serious health problems such as nausea, nose, eye and throat irritation and organ damage. 
In a study, it was found that the particle concentration of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) material was 33–38 times higher than polylactic acid (PLA) material.

Limited Build Volume: Build volume in 3D printing gives the maximum size that an object can have for printing. The size of the printing volume depends on the chosen finishing process as well as the material chosen which in turn determines the type of printer to be used. 
There are different types of printers that have varying sizes, large and small. The vast majority of 3D printers have small design rooms.

Part Structure: Under some stress or part orientation, the layers can separate, thus breaking the part structure.

Production of Dangerous Weaponry: With 3D printers, it is easy to create 3D-printable handguns, 3D knives, explosives, and any other dangerous products.

Copyright Infringements: Counterfeiting is one of the most significant disadvantages of 3D printing technology.

Manufacturing Job Losses: The adoption of 3D printing technology can reduce manufacturing job opportunities.

Fears about the Future use of 3D Printing
Despite the pros and benefits of 3D printing, there are many concerns about printing some illegal or dangerous materials and tools such as weapons.
The main fear lies in the use of 3D printing, and some people are concerned that 3D printing can be used to easily and economically create dangerous products.

Indeed, a group calling itself "Defense Distributed" was able to manufacture the first 3D-printable single-shot handgun, which raised fears around the world that anyone could print and use these weapons with ease.

Furthermore, the question arises whether the introduction of 3D printing can lower the quality of products and put people out of work or can reduce the scope of creativity only for plastic items. In addition, there is a detrimental effect on the environment.

All technologies can be used for good and bad things, and for ethical or unethical purposes, this does not mean that certain technologies should be abandoned, but simply must be closely monitored and there should be laws and regulations to protect humans and the environment. The focus should be on the law and the highly positive use of 3D printing.

On the whole, 3D printing is still fascinating to us with its capabilities and uses, so we hope to see it available in our schools well to provide students with the space for creativity and innovation.
The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

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