The global 3D printing market will expand at a whopping CAGR of 16.80% from 2013 to 2019, says a market study published by Transparency Market Research. Driven by its utilization across several application sectors such as automotive, consumer products and electronics, and medical, the development of 3D printing is on a consistent rise. With 3D printing becoming commonplace, this market will be progressive in the coming years. The availability of low-cost printers is increasingly becoming a reason for 3D printing to be used for personal needs moving beyond commercial applications.
3D printing enables objects to be tailored as per specific needs, which is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of 3D printing beneficial for the vendor as well the customer. For the users of this technology, the need to install expensive equipment, molding, and workforce is eliminated; for the customers, material wastage is considerably cut down with the additional benefit of creating highly efficient products.
The turnaround time of 3D printers is high, which is one of the major factors detrimental to the growth of this market. In particular, using 3D printing, the production of large objects is more time-consuming than traditional printing means, which is not economical for all printing needs. 3D printing is subject to intellectual property right infringement issues, which has necessitated additional laws and regulations to counter these violations. This is a significant restraint acting on the global 3D printing market.
How did 3D Printing Progress?
The first use of 3D printing dates back to 1976 and the invention of the inkjet printer. In 1984, with adaptations and advancements in inkjet printers, the technology was morphed to be utilized for printing with materials in place of printing with ink, which was used at the time of its inception. Since then, the technology has been advancing incessantly and has played a part in the creation of advanced healthcare devices, prosthetics, customization in manufacturing, etc.
3D printing technology is advancing speedily, which is supported by a recent development earmarked at the University of Bristol. Using this, the printing of composite materials has become a reality and is used for several high-performance products such as golf clubs, tennis rackets, and airplanes. With further development, the technology will be utilizable for 3D printing of a range of items to be used in a home environment, with their prices expected to drop considerably as well.
What is involved in 3D Printing?
3D printing can be explained as a type of additive manufacturing, wherein digital technology is used in the creation of three-dimensional solid objects. It is an additive printing process, wherein successive layers of material are laid down until the complete object is created.
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To begin with, a virtual design is made of the object intended to be fabricated. With the help of a computer-aided design software, either a totally new object is created virtually or a 3D scanner is used to make a copy of an existing object. 3D scanners utilize a host of technologies to generate a 3D model, such as volumetric scanning, time-of-flight and many more. The design is then transferred to a 3D printer, which manufactures the product accordingly.