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What Exactly is Additive Manufacturing?

A look at the benefits of this process.

Additive manufacturing is actually just a fancy way of saying 3D printing. However, 3D printing makes people think of the trinkets that people are creating at home, and not the industrial process. Granted, home 3D printing has far more uses than just creating trinkets, but additive manufacturing was initially developed and used for the creation of industry-related parts, and has been used in industry for years.

These days, 3D printing has many uses, and is really shining when it comes to the arts. In fact, it is responsible for the beginnings of a completely new era of sculpture. But, it was originally intended to be an alternative to injection moulding, and is still used as such.

The concept of printing in three dimensions still seems incredibly futuristic and almost unbelievable. But, we at Krost have, for many years, been specialising in things that seem like they shouldn’t work, but do. A great example of this is cantilever racking. For this reason we have great faith in things that push boundaries. And, while cantilever racking and additive manufacturing might not be flying cars and teleporters, they serve a great purpose in the world in which we live today.

What makes additive manufacturing so great?

It is useful: 3D printing has the ability to replicate detailed designs flawlessly. So, aside from making industrial parts, this technology has the ability to improve a variety of fields. One such field is the medical field. While it can’t yet create limbs or internal organs, this possibility is not completely unimaginable. In fact, experiments have already produced replacement bones.

It is innovative: The technology itself is innovative, yes, but it also fuels innovation. 3D printers are being used for prototype parts that were previously impossible to create, thereby contributing to technological progress.

It is accessible: The great news about 3D printing is that, for all its uses, it is not out of the reach of the consumer. In fact, producers of consumer-level 3D printers have made this technology extremely available. It is completely feasible to think that the 3D printer will soon be a staple in homes and offices around the world.

It is becoming less specialised: Because 3D printers can produce items of such detail, the programming process was once fairly advanced. However, as this technology moves from factories into homes, its software is becoming more practical. Furthermore, the internet is laden with sites from which users can share their designs. And, with museums already sharing scans of famous sculptures for 3D replication, it would seem that designs will become increasingly diverse.

Of course, like anything, 3D printers do have their downsides. They have various limitations, are slow, are costly, and don’t yet produce items of great strength. But, like anything, they will improve over time. But, for the time being, additive manufacturing is a technology that promises a world of possibility.

Image credit: http://www.venuscreator.com/sla-dlp-3d-printers-list.html