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Additive Manufacturing

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By jbreland
Words 1191
Pages 5
Jeremy Breland Jenica Draney
English 101-003
Print the World of Tomorrow 3D Printing is the manufacturing process of the future brought to your home today. It all begins with acquiring the printing device, it comes in kits, complete devices, or even your buddy with their own printer could “print you off” a copy of their device. All you would need after getting your printer set up would extra polymer spools, a computer with the program to translate the instructions of the build, and the digital instructions for your build. 3D Printing is the process of using a computer controlled printing head that travels along the X,Y, and Z axis that leave layers of molten plastic or bio organic material on a flat surface or The prices of 3D Printers vary by model, make and the company who makes it. The cheapest home built device may cost between 150-300 dollars to professional built devices ranging from 6000 to 48,000 dollars. The process of selecting which device is right for your needs depends on a lot of factors; your price range, type of computer, what you will be manufacturing, how big the item is you would like to make, availability of resources, and your mind, the sky is the limit. Currently 3D Printing is only available in most 1st World Nations as the price, materials, technology, and power are present. However as power sources and materials become more available in poorer regions this technology will spread, making it available to print and manufacture anything from shoes and toothbrushes to syringes and vaccines. The European Industry is facing the challenge of losing its competiveness due to such factors in lower labor costs, lower taxation, on-site access to raw materials, and most mass production has moved to third world nations. (Vojislav) Only a few businesses in America have started using this process to manufacture shoes as in the case of Nike Vapor HyperAgility Cleat. (Kish) And SpaceX who is now designing and testing their new SuperDraco thruster. During a press release on the new thruster engine SpaceX Chief Designer and CEO Elon Musk quoted “Through 3D printing, robust and high-performing engine parts can be created at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional manufacturing methods.” He also went on to say “SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making our vehicles more efficient, reliable and robust than ever before.”
Most American 3D Printing is taking place in homes and college labs across the US and is used to manufacture trinkets and Role Playing Game sized figurines, spare parts and other hard to mold plastic pieces.
Like every new technology there are pros and cons to these devices, some pros are at home ease of manufacturing, less labor intensive, medical technologies to include skeletal and soft tissues repair using framework and cells from the host needing replacement, plans available online for free and paid. The cons of the 3d printing process includes high energy usage, unhealthy air emissions, reliance on plastics, licensing deals and possible gun control loopholes. Possible lost labor and wages from home manufacturing. Other problems include non BPA free plastics and bacterial growth between the layers on medical devices and eating and drinking utensils.
The process of 3D Printing has been around since the early 1980’s and still today is in its infancy. Through trial and error these technologies will advance to a point where everyone everywhere will have them. So far the process is limited in size and complexity, but we will soon be able to create mechanical and electronic devices combined at a nano size level without having to assemble those parts separately like cellphones, computers and digital music devices or medical uses like custom orthopedics and living replacement parts.
Current 3D Printing is a time consuming process including the assembly, testing, programming the device, and longest yet the actual build, layering materials on top of one another in a precise fashion takes up to 12 hours or longer depending on the size and shape. Current devices are limited in size and are delicate in their intricate moving parts and need a lot of care and preventative maintenance. But as the technology grows we could see all types of printed vehicles, modular buildings, and other everyday creations.
There are current issues with 3D printing, like the rise of printed firearms and the fact that these weapons are virtually undetectable by metal detectors and many people are worried these weapons will be smuggled onto planes or places of business to cause havoc. Under the Undetectable Firearms Act any firearm which cannot be detected by a metal detector is illegal to manufacture, so legal designs for firearms such as the Liberator require a metal plate to be inserted into the printed body. The act had a sunset provision to expire December 9, 2013. Senator Charles Schumer proposed renewing the law, and expanding the type of guns that would be prohibited. Proposed renewals and expansions of the current Undetectable Firearms Act (H.R. 1474, S. 1149) include provisions to criminalize individual production of firearm receivers and magazines that do not include arbitrary amounts of metal, measures outside the scope of the original UFA and not extended to cover commercial manufacture. These "modernization" proposals have been criticized as disingenuous attempts to suppress adoption of and experimentation with 3D printers in home gunsmithing. (Wikipedia) The fall back to printed weapons is that they are light causing barrel lift during firing, and can only fire a small number of shots before losing effectiveness and shape due to being manufactured from plastic. Other problems with 3D printing include repeatability of manufacture, heat proofing, micro stress fractures caused during assembly, perfecting the heating and melting of the plastic feeder and assembly deck, and which type of plastic base to use on which project.
But for all intents and purposes 3D printing is ready and available now for use in the home and Industry for manufacturing simple and increasingly more complex items like engines for cars and rocket propulsion, to aircraft with greater survivability. As for what the future holds with this technology nobody really knows for sure but whatever it will be it shall be great and helpful to the world. Anyone can use it after a simple study of the instructions, also the matter is always being updated to better machines and software. And great discussions on the web like Google and other search engines, blogs, and journals.

Works Cited
Kish, M. Nike (3-D printed) shoe of the future. Portland Business Journal
[Internet] 2014 [Updated 2014 Feb 28] Available from Petrovic, Vojislav, et al. “Additive Layered Manufacturing: Sectors Of Industrial Application Shown Through Case Studies.” International Journal Of Production Research 49.4 (2011): 1061-1079. Business Source Premier. Web. 18 June 2014.

Mahamood, R. M., et al. “Revolutionary Additive Manufacturing: An Overview.” Lasers In Engineering (Old City Publishing) 27.3/4 (2014): 161-178. Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 June 2014

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