3D Printers : Will It Change Our Printing Perception?
Will 3D printing, just like laser printing technology revolutionize the way we print? Most likely it would as the new technology is now within our midst. Nonetheless, it is still in its incubation stage that 3D Printer prototypes are still very expensive. The 3D HP printer called the DesignJet 3D is available for a little over $15,000 while the top of the line full prototype would fetch as much as $17,000.
3D Printing the Hype about this New Technology. 3D Printing is additive manufacturing technology at best where 3 dimensional objects are printed simultaneously using successive layers of materials to create the final object. 3D models closely resemble the look, the feel, and probably even the character of the original image that makes it truly an effective material for product presentations.
3D Printing Operation. In order for 3D printing to work, the 3D printer accesses the 3D AUTOCAD computer file of the object to be printed and transforms it into series (over a thousand) that are at least 1/1000 of a millimeter thick of cross sectional planes/slices. Each plane/slice is transmitted and printed one after the other until the entire object appears as the 3D printed image over paper or media. 3D image printing due to its advent reliability can offer product developers the capacity to print parts or assemblies designed using different materials of entirely varying physical or mechanical properties rolled into one.
The Beginnings of 3D Printing. Pioneered by Chuck Hull, the earliest prototype of the 3D printer surfaced in 2003. 3D printing was initially applied in industries related to jewelry, footwear, Industrial design advances, Architecture, Engineering Development and construction works. Automotive manufacturing, aerospace research and the field of dental and medical research also benefited from the related efficiencies provided by this technology. Although 3D printers come with a hefty price tag, retail prices have recently dropped and with the entry of the 3D HP printer, 3D printing promises to be a potent tool in the corporate world.
So, just like laser printing in the 80s, 3D printing will ultimately offer corporate offices all the benefits of accuracy and reliability in the development and presentation of products borne out of research. The acquisition of a 3D technology based printer such as the 3D HP printer is indeed a wise investment, but owing to the present cost of the printer, a lease alternative is a much better option. In time, the 3D printer will just be another desktop printer so that everybody else will have access to savor the benefits that the printer carries.
In the end, just like any new and emerging technology, the 3D HP printer will ultimately be mass-produced and the unit cost will just be a few hundreds, or even less.