3 D Printing: A technology set to make products digitally

What is 3D printing:

3-D printer is similar to desktop printer in homes & offices. The only difference with this printer is, it can print object in the form of three-dimensional digital model, i.e. instead of image of an object on paper, actual object is created like a rubber toy , typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession. This technology is as old as 1980’s.

Below are some examples for better understanding:

  1. In the video above, you can find how a 3-D printer can make cold food in the form of different cake-icing, chocolates and pancakes. This is called 3-dimensional food printing. This technology is still in initial stage, biggies like Hershey’s is making chocolates using 3-D food printer. Watch video here.
  2. Auto Roti-Maker, could make Chapati (Indian Pancakes) from wheat flour.
  3. With use of 3-D printing, we can make variety of tools, plastic parts and toys in small quantity and low cost. Watch here.
  4. Recently, 3-D printing is being used in making houses also.  Large customised machines can lay down cement foundation and make structure of the house. A company recently 3-D printed liveable house in less then 24 hours.Watch video to understand more.

Benefits of 3D printing:

  1. Cost effective: For manufacturing products, machines and dye are usually very expensive, their one time cost may be very high. But with 3-D printer, you can manufacture multiple products with single machine, whose cost is reduced by as much as 10 times. You only need to tell what design specification to print.
  2. Environment safe: 3-D printing drastically reduces the wastage of material, resulting in less pollution, and is therefore safer for environment.
  3. Less occupational hazards: 3-D printers which are available does manufacturing in an enclosed box, or covers. This reduces exposure to harmful emissions such as microscopic particles and chemicals, significantly. However, if you are using open 3-D printer without any cover, then after product is 3D printed, leave that product for 1 hour, before going near it.

How you can earn from 3D printing:

  1. Create and sell designs:

    With 3D printers, limited designs come, which can be used by customer to manufacture product. But to make customized designs, they should have technical skills to create new designs.  You can enter into business of creating and selling 3D printable designs. This industry is very new, market is increasing and future is promising.

    Free CAD tools like Trimble Sketchup or TinkerCAD are available, which can be used as platform to learn. You can whip up a complex looking design after a few tutorials easily. Sophisticated and professional quality designs can be made with these tools.  Make use of online tutorials and communities for help and faster learning.

    There are about 40,000+ designs on thingiverse.com, which can be viewed for creativity, inspiration and possibilities.

    Once your design is complete in CAD, make sure it’s 3D printable (or “watertight,” in industry jargon). Free tools like netfabb or the Solid Inspector plugin for Sketchup will find and correct errors you inadvertently created.

  2. Manufacture and sell with 3D printer:

    You can purchase 3D printer from a reputed brand, and manufacture products at small scale for local/regional market.  3D Printing is also useful to reproduce objects that are no longer on sale, for instance in order to repair an old bike for which spare parts are discontinued. 3D Printing gives to everyone the power to manufacture objects only when they are needed or desired.

  3. Become 3D printer dealer/ information coach/ trainer:

    This is hot new in the market, where people which are interested in this field require assistance regarding 3-D printing. Having basic understanding, you can start giving your training sessions for free to generate awareness. Then when people are ready to adapt to technology, charge for your services. Even if you are living in remote areas, 3-D printing can be useful, As limited products are available in remote areas, there is often shortage of necessary items. Open small business using 3-D printing technology in best possible manner.  Take a look at ‘3D chocolate printer‘ manufactured in India.

An important tip!!

Purchase 3D printer of reputed brand only. Do not rely on local printers to save cost. Recently, there was house fire because of cheap 3D printer… Read full story here.

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