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The Availability Of 3D Printing

3D printing is a very interesting form of manufacturingtechnology in my opinion, and it will be awesome to continually watch wherethis technology is going to head in the near future. First off, vaguely, whatis 3D printing? This manufacturing technology also referred to as additivemanufacturing, is a form of manufacturing which allows for the creation ofpretty much anything out of a large variety of materials. The process involvedfor this technology goes something like this: a computer designer or artistwill create a CAD file, or 3D design to be used for manufacturing. This designwill then be sent to the printer itself, or the machine that is used foractually “printing” the piece. The 3d printer will then take the 3D design intoaccount when creating the product, as it uses a CAM system, or computer aidedmanufacturing system. When it finally comes down to actually creating thepiece, the printer itself will start constructing it layer by layer. Thesemachines work through various methods, but one of the most popular methodsinvolves laying down small layers of material down at a time, and stacking thelayers to form a final piece. These layers are usually smaller than half thediameter of a human hair! Those detail levels are pretty high! When thinking of3D printing, consider this: if a model can be designed on the computer by adesigner or artist, it can likely be created through 3D printing. You cancreate pretty much anything. Fortunately, 3D printing has been become much more availableto the everyday user. Since the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, this technologyhas been restricted to labs, universities, and some specialized manufacturingplants. These 3D printers have definitely been very expensive, and some stillare very expensive. However, since the dawn of the “maker movement”, quite afew consumers have been jumping on the idea of this technology known as 3Dprinting. Various demographics have been migrating to try this technology. 3Dprinter manufacturers like Objet, Stratasys, and Makerbot have been takingadvantage of this demand, and have been placing printers in the hands ofconsumers. The home printer movement has been on a solid rise, and it has giventhe capability of manufacturing to the masses.  Some machines offering 3D printing traditionally (and still)cost around the proximity of $500,000. Some of the home printers have beenstaying at prices less than $25,000. Some of these printers have also beenplaced under $10,000. At the same time, other printers have been priced at lessthan $2,000. Some even under $1,000! The trend is showing that companies aretrying to place these printers in the hands of consumers for less than $5,000,to not only advance the technology but to increase popularity. Everyone lovesthe ability to manufacture things, and it is becoming evident in sales and thestock market for 3D printing corporations. The idea known as 3D printing isdefinitely gaining a good amount of momentum! Sooner or later, we’ll be able todrive up to office depot or best buy to pick up a printer! 

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