Applications of 3D Printing


The evolution of 3D printing has seen rapid growth since it was first developed in the 1980s. Some of the most common applications of 3d printing technology are manufacturing, medicine, architecture, custom art, and design, and can vary from fully functional to purely aesthetic applications.

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1. Aerospace industry

The aerospace and defense (A&D) industry is one of the earliest adopters of 3D printing, with the first use of the technology in 1989.

3D printing for aerospace is not only limited to prototypes, but real, functional parts are also being 3D printed and used in aircraft. A few examples of parts that can be produced with 3D printing include air ducts (SLS), wall panels (FDM), and even structural metal components (DMLS, EBM, DED).

3D printing is ideal for aerospace and defense industries, where lightweight parts with highly complex geometries can be produced without investing in expensive tooling equipment. This provides the aerospace industries a cost-effective way to produce small batches of parts cost-effectively.

This technology is an ideal solution for fuel savings because it can reduce the material used to produce aerospace’s parts. One of the key benefits of 3D printing is part consolidation: the ability to integrate multiple parts into a single component. Reducing the number of parts needed can significantly simplify the assembly and maintenance process by reducing the amount of time needed for assembly.

Furthermore, 3D printing technology has been widely applied to produce the spare parts of some aerospace components such as engines. The engine’s part is easily damaged, which requires regular replacement. Therefore, 3D printing technology is a good solution to the procurement of such spare parts. In the aerospace industry, nickel-based alloys are preferred due to their tensile properties, oxidation/corrosion resistance, and damage tolerance.

 A 3D-printed injector head for Ariane 6 launcher

2. Automotive industry

In the automotive industry, 3D Printing techniques have made phenomena to bring new shines, allowing for
lighter and more complex structures in a fast time.

3D printing offers a quick and cost-effective approach to designing and producing parts. Since the need for tooling is eliminated, product teams can significantly accelerate product development cycles. 3D printing enables designers to make quick design changes and modifications in a fraction of the time.

3D printing offers automakers a cost-effective and flexible way to produce customized parts. Within the luxury and motorsports segment of the industry, companies are already using the technology to produce personalized parts for both the interior and exterior parts of a vehicle.

Ford is the leader in the use of 3D printing technology. It applies 3D printing technology to produce prototype and engine parts. In addition, BMW uses 3D printing technology to produce hand tools for automotive testing and assembly. Meanwhile, in 2017, AUDI collaborated with SLM Solution Group AG to produce spare parts and prototypes.

3. Healthcare and medical industry

The medical and dental industry is one of the fastest-growing adopters of additive manufacturing. From medical devices to prosthetics and even bioprinting, the applications of 3D Printing technology in the medical industry are versatile and wide-ranging.

3D printing is an ideal technology for creating or optimizing designs for medical devices. Due to the low-cost rapid prototyping, medical device manufacturers have greater freedom in designing new products, helping to bring new medical devices to the market much faster.

3D printing technology can be used to print 3D skin, drug and pharmaceutical research, bone and cartilage, replacement tissues, organs, printing for cancer research and lastly models for visualization, education, and communication.

4. Architecture, building, and construction industry

3D printing architectural models has never been so easy! 3D printing technology can be considered as environmentally friendly and it gives unlimited possibilities for geometric complexity realization.

In the construction industry, 3D printing technology can be used to print entire buildings or can create construction components.

The emergence of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) allows the better use of 3D printing technology. Building Information Modelling is a digital representation of functional and physical characteristics that can share an information and knowledge about 3D building. It is useful for decision making during its life cycle, from initial conception to demolition for construct or design the building . This innovative and collaborative technology provides more efficient method to designing, creating and maintaining the built environment.

6. Fabric and Fashion Industry

3D printing in fabric and fashion industry is on rise , as it lets the designers unleash their imagination and quickly create new structures through innovative new materials. Thanks to the 3D printing technology, it is possible to 3D print the most ambitious projects in less time.

Big companies like Nike, New Balance and Adidas are striving to development the mass production of 3D printed shoes. Nowadays, 3D printed shoes are produced for athlete’s shoes, custom-made shoes and sneakers .

Besides, 3D printing technology can spread creative possibilities for fashion design. Indeed, it makes it possible to makes shapes without moulds. In fashion industry, by using 3D printing technology, it can design and produce garments by using mesh system and also can print ornaments for traditional textile.

Moreover, the application of 3D printing technology not limited to the fashion industry, but also can print leather goods and accessories. For instances, jewellery, watchmaking, accessories and so on .

The retailers and designers believe the purpose of creating fashion products by using 3D printing technology is
not to duplicate current products, but to improve product design by offering personalised and unique products to
customers .

The advantages of the product development by using 3D printing technology are the product is on demand, custom fit and styling. At the meantime, by using 3D printing technology, it can reduce the supply chain cost. Lastly, 3D printing technology can create and deliver products in small quantities in the fast time .

7. Electric and Electronic Industry

3D printing gives the flexibility and the speed you need when building new hardware and electronic products. 3D printing helps you get from the idea to the product in a matter of days. The professional 3D printers used by PCBWay.Com allow you to create high-quality casings for your devices with the highest level of details. You can  order their 3D printing service online, that too with minimum budget because they do cater to the needs of students as well and moreover you don’t have to buy in bulk.

Nowadays, various 3D printing technologies have already been used broadly for structural electronic devices like active electronic materials, electrode and devices with mass customization and adaptive design through embedding the conductors into 3D printed devices.

The production process for the 3D electrode by utilizing the Fused Deposition Modelling of 3D printing technique provides low-cost and a time efficient approach to mass producing electrode materials. Compared to commercial electrodes such as aluminium, copper and carbon electrodes, the design and surface area of the 3D electrode can be easily customized to suit a particular application. Furthermore, 3D printing process for the 3D electrode is fully automated, with a high degree of precision, made it possible to complete the printing process for eight 8 electrodes in just 30 minutes.

3D printing technology provides advantages for processing of product along with its electronics. With multi-material printing technology, the efficiency of electronic system may possibly be adopted in Industry Revolution 4.0, enabling more innovative designs created in just one process.

The development of a green electronic device with low-manufacturing cost, good safety, high reliability and rapid production, is urgently in demand to address environment pollutions in today’s society .