As we near the 2020s, 3D printer manufacturers are getting serious about identifying and fixing issues to ensure 3D printing is accessible to anyone who wants to use it. Below are some of the most common challenges of working with 3D printing and ideas on how to overcome them.
The current 3D workflow follows involves a human doing the design work and a computer documenting and analyzing it. This fails to recognize the design potential of 3D printers. Improving workflow requires designers to change their mindset to seeing the computer as a tool for exploration and not just execution. They have the potential to be so much more than drawing tools.
3D Printing Quality Issues
Today’s 3D printers use low-resolution output and fused deposition modeling parts that are too fragile for the demands of the work. People typically use only two materials at a time based on what they can melt or extrude from other parts. Expanding the capability of 3D printers to handle multiple materials at once to create new products that didn’t previously exist will help pique the interest of more people.
Not Enough People Creating Final Versions of Products
Currently, people use 3D printers the most to create prototypes, miscellaneous trinkets, and replacement parts rather than final parts. Getting more people to this level requires a study and transformation of materials, parts, processes, and systems of additive manufacturing. Each of these processes runs together in 3D printing instead of separately as with other types of printing. The ability to produce final parts is closely associated with materials and how they interact with one another.
Current Trends in 3D Printing Technology
The news in the 3D printing industry is not all bad. Current trends suggest the following:
- More companies using 3D technology in manufacturing processes will increase demand for 3D printed materials.
- Polyamides, rather than polymers and plastic currently favored by 3D printer users, is expected to take over the market.
- Rapid prototyping will remain one of the top reasons to use 3D printing.
- Organic and inorganic growth strategies will improve 3D printer integration across multiple industries.
- Powder form as a 3D printing material is expected to drive growth in 3D metals market.
While challenges remain, this paints a hopeful picture that 3D printing technology will improve in time for the 2020s.
3D Printing Progress in Engineering and Manufacturing
Engineers have been making steady progress with 3D printing especially when creating functional prototypes. 3D printing has the advantage when compared to tooling to make a one-time prototype. The cost is lower, it provides immediate feedback, and it’s easier for engineers to use. It has cut the total design time from several months to a single day using the current features of 3D printing.
In manufacturing, current 3D printers present limitations due to operating at a slower speed than machines typically used in the manufacturing printing process. The cost of materials can make using 3D printers even more out of reach since the need for wires, powders, and other supplies add up rapidly when printing at low speeds.
To achieve more widespread adoption in manufacturing, 3D printing needs to create lower-cost materials and workers need the ability to operate the 3D printer in the same way they would machines on an assembly line. Both industries, along with many others, stand to benefit from changes to 3D printing technology outlined above.
Join the discussion on this topic with Free Hacks And Codes by visiting our contact page.