Manufacturing Is For Everyone



3D printing is a pretty interesting form of manufacturing technology in my opinion, and it is allowing for the creation of various products and pieces for almost anyone. By that, I mean that almost anyone who wants to design and create something can do it. Manufacturing isn't exactly out of grasp and out of budget for the every-day hobbyist or designer. 3D printing is leading the charge for the maker movement, and people are starting to pay quite a bit more attention to this technology!

 What is 3D printing? How does it work? Why and how is it relevant to you? Well, that all depends. Are you interested in manufacturing your own parts and products? Do you care about design and inventing things? If you're not into design and manufacturing, 3D printing probably won't have a huge impact on you. However, 3D printing will definitely affect you indirectly through various methods. For example, the cell phone you used today was very likely prototyped through 3D printing. The concept development for your favorite video games and cartoons likely used this technology. The marketing diagram that your company used to generate sales may have used this technology.

What if you are into manufacturing or design? What does 3D printing mean to you then?   If you're interested in design and manufacturing and development of products and inventions, then 3D printing directly impacts your potential to produce things. This technology brings the opportunity to produce products and intricate pieces to everyone. If you have less than one hundred dollars to spend, you can produce a part through 3D printing. If you have less than fifty dollars to spend, you can probably produce a product as well. Of course it varies based off of your design and materials you use, but pretty much anyone can produce a part through this technology. But what is it? How does it work?

 3D printing is the layer by layer creation of pretty much whatever you want. That's pretty vague, and I keep it vague because there are so many styles and variations of this technology. For this technology to work, essentially this is the process that occurs: A 3D model will be made on the computer. This 3D file will then have to be sent to the manufacturing facility that creates the actual piece. A technician will send the model to the printer itself, and he or she will press "go" to start. There will be some touching up of the model in some cases, but the final product will then be shipped out to the customer. It's pretty much that simple. It could cost $5,000 for a print, or it could cost $10. Those numbers are all depending on the material you use, the model, and your provider.

 People are using 3D printing to create custom metal pieces that can't be made through machining, and they are also using it to create simple organs. Architects use it to produce scaled down diagrams of buildings for presentations, and hobbyist-designers use it to "print" physical models of their designs. There are so many variations, and this technology affects so many audiences.

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