Additive Manufacturing also popularly known as 3D Printing refers to the processes used to create a three-dimensional object in which layers of a given material are formed under computer control to create an object.
Since 3D Printing's invention, the first applications were focused on Rapid Prototyping and as a way to visualize models in pre-production phases. Since then, 3D Printing has evolved and is being used to create end-use products across almost all industries namely Aerospace, Architecture, Automotive, Commercial Products, Consumer Goods, Consumer Electronics, Defense, Dental, Education, Medical, Jewelry, and Molding/Casting Industries.
An object is built from a computer-aided design (CAD) model file by successively adding material layer by layer, only adding or building the material in the required areas, piling up and binding to create the volume of the object. Generally accepted file formats for 3D Printing are .STEP, .IGES, .STL and .OBJ.
Technology and Materials
Currently, the 3D Printing technologies available with Thirdinrev for Rapid Manufacturing (Rapid Prototyping) and Low Volume Production are as follows; Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or also known as Fused Filament Fabrication which uses materials such as Thermoplastics, Stereo-lithography (SLA) that uses Photo Polymer Resin materials, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) that uses powder-based Nylon materials, Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) that uses powder-based Nylon materials, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) that uses metal alloys and Color Polyjet 3D printing that 3D prints in color sandstone.
Advantages of 3D Printing with Thirdinrev
Reduced time to market brings down the research and development process to days instead of months.
Lower prototype cost considering raw material waste is negligible and labor cost is eliminated since manual tooling is not required. It is cheaper to 3D Print a prototype rather than redesign or alter an expensive mold and die.
Exact representation of the product leaves very little scope for miscommunication.
The ergonomics and fit of a product can be felt, used and tested.
Customization is useful for making unique parts which allow for custom fits in the Medical, Dental, Fashion and Jewellery industries.
Design and Build Complex shapes at no additional cost. Difficult geometrical shapes and interlocking parts hard to attain through traditional manufacturing are now easily 3D Printed.
Making design iteration at early stages allows a product developer to produce better products faster and cheaper.