3D Printing Set to Disrupt Industries

On October 29, 2014, Hewlitt Packard released information about its Multi-Jet Fusion technology, and how it is capable of producing multi-colored, three-dimensional objects. HP's announcement focused widespread attention on the new industry that is quickly evolving around 3D printing. 
In global terms, today's manufacturing of parts using 3D printers is minuscule. However, most analysts expect that to change dramatically. Gartner, the marketing research firm, has weighed in on the matter, and it projects an annual doubling of shipments of 3D printers every year from 2015 to 2018. 

Twenty Times the Units by 2018

In raw numbers, Gartner projects that the 100,000 such printers shipped in 2014 will pale by comparison to the 2.3 million units that the marketing research firm believes will be shipped in 2018. In terms of dollars to be spent on 3D printers, Gartner estimates that sales of $1.6 billion in 2015 will multiply to $13.4 billion by 2018. Its noteworthy that any growth in 2015 will essentially occur without HP's new printers, because the devices utilizing Multi-Jet Fusion technology will not even hit the market until 2016, as reported by Cnet.
Hewlitt-Packard's decision to add its research and manufacturing gravitas to the embryonic 3D printing industry has been welcomed even by relative newcomers in the business, such as Stratasys. At present, HP's market value is roughly 10 times that of Stratasys. The CEO of that enterprise suggests that the potential uses of 3D printing technology are so diverse that the rapidly evolving industry sector can successfully absorb major new players. 

Stronger Products Made 10 Times Faster

HP has asserted that its new technology will allow printers to operate at 10 times the speed of current models. The tech giant also claims that it will create stronger products made diverse materials like metals, ceramics, and advanced plastics. 

HP already has prototypes that have impressed third-party observers. During the time that the large company needs to ramp up its production facilities, smaller, more nimble 3D printing companies may have a window of opportunity during which they can innovate to respond to HP's pending arrival.

3D Printing Potential To Change The Automotive Industry

Complex printed parts have the potential to drastically alter the automotive industry.

What Are the Advantages of Selective Laser Melting for the Automotive Industry?

Recently the automotive industry is facing some tough times. The global economic crisis, the rise of emerging markets such as China and India, resulting in financial pressures from higher raw material prices have forced the industry to look for innovation. As a critical component of economic growth, national and regional employment of every industrialized country, the automotive market is obliged to find a better respond to the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century. The automotive industry has still the chance to be back at the forefront of macroeconomic growth and stability, only if manufacturers and supply chain participants understand the need to grow and change smartly. Technological advancement will benefit production; alter traditional supply chain pathways and leads to industry?s evolution. Newer designs, shorter lead times and lower cost are only some of the advantages of additive manufacturing. This new manufacturing technology based on 3D printing is about to revolutionize the entire manufacturing world and is most probably the only chance of the automotive industry to rise up again.

What Is Metal 3D Printing?

While the adoption of additive manufacturing from the automotive industry is still in its infancy with only few users compare to conventional methods, the 3D printing market has enormously developed and diversified in terms of techniques and materials. Metal 3D printing is an additive manufacturing technique that includes processes as selective laser melting (SLM) where fine metallic powders are fused together to create three-dimensional metal parts.

In general, the selective laser melting uses 3D CAD data and combines powder material and laser power in a layer by layer basis. One of the best 3D printers on the market right now for DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) is the EOS M280, covered previously on 3DEngr. The metal 3D printing process starts by slicing the 3D CAD file into layers and transforming it into a stl file that contains all important parameters. After a thin layer of metallic powder has been applied on a powder bed, a laser is used to melt the powder at the required locations until the size of the requested components is reached. The result is an industrial part of greater tensile strength and hardness with a density reaching 100%. No wonder that many automotive engineers use selective laser melting for creating functional prototypes for pre-series testing, but also try to incorporate it more and more in the real manufacturing process.

How Does the Automotive Industry Benefit from Selective Laser Melting?

New Shapes and Structures
Additive manufacturing gives great freedom in design. The metal 3D printing can produce highly customized parts with added improved functionalities that are not possible through traditional processes. Furthermore, the selective laser melting in particularly allows the manufacturing of components with hollows and undercuts, with thin walls and hidden voids. This flexibility cannot be achieved through conventional manufacturing methods.

New Combination of Materials
Selective laser melting of different types of alloys suits perfectly the needs of lightweight applications involving vehicle and engine technology. Mixing different raw materials as titanium, aluminium, stainless steel or nickel based alloys and constantly discovering new alloys with various strength and temperature resistance is close to impossible trough conventional manufacturing methods.

Cost Efficiency

Selective laser melting and also any other additive manufacturing technique doesn't require any additional tooling. Therefore expensive sand-casting and die-casting applications can be finally replaced. This doesn?t only shorten development times, but also considerably reduces development costs. Industrial 3D printers can finish a component within hours compared to classical manufacturing techniques that will need days till weeks from prototype to end product.
Furthermore, selective laser melting creates parts using less energy and reducing material waste to a minimum. Less waste means significant cost savings and lower impact on the environment.
Additive Manufacturing provides revolutionary possibilities for the automotive industry in creating faster, safer and lighter vehicles of the future.

Ralitsa Peycheva is a technical content writer, interested in forging and casting techniques, latest machinery and tools; curious about new manufacturing methods; respecting high-quality engineering; discovering, observing and admiring the additive manufacturing industry. Follow her on  Google + https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RalitsaPeycheva/posts

Lunar 3d Printer Proposed By The European Space Agency

Lunar Base Proposed For 3D Printing Creation
In October 2014, over 350 experts gathered at the European Space Agency's ESTEC Technical Centre in the Netherlands. There, they shared ideas regarding 3D printer uses relevant to the space industry. The two-day workshop was entitled "Additive Manufacturing for Space Applications." During the gathering, experts worked on developing common standards for the use of 3D printing by the space industry.

3D Printing a Lunar Base

This gathering followed last year's feasibility study by the ESA regarding possibly using 3D printing to create a lunar base. The wide range and scope of 3D printing is well-illustrated by this proposal.

A Prototype Building Block Created

In 2013, the ESA and its industrial partners explored whether it might be possible to actually use lunar material to fabricate 3D structures. The ESA concluded that, in theory, it is indeed possible. In fact, a 1.5-ton building block was created using 3D printing and material similar to that found on the moon's surface. A hollow closed-cell design is claimed to offer protection against both space radiation and micro-meteoroids.

Potential Lunar Base Location Identified

Using the building block concept as inspiration, architectural firm Foster+Partners developed the necessary architectural ideas for 3D printing a lunar base at the rim of Shackleton Crater at the moon's south pole. That site was selected for two reasons. First, it provides an almost constant source of solar light that could be employed to power the facility. Second, because sunlight merely grazes the surface at the lunar poles, these regions do not experience the temperature extremes found across most of the lunar surface. As a result, the heating and cooling requirements for the proposed lunar base will be reduced in the vicinity of the Shackleton Crater.

Next, Melting Binding Material on the Moon

Next, the agency intends to explore the feasibility of using concentrated sunlight to melt lunar material into a binding liquid. This would be an important achievement, because the transportation of such binding fluid to the moon would be inherently expensive. If binding fluid can be fabricated on the moon, the concept of a 3D printed lunar colony will move even closer to becoming a reality one


Checkout the latest on 3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing 


3D Printing Service Sites

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing service companies are a great way to get your desired products, release your creativity, and show off what you can do in an easy and effective manner. People all over the world are already loving what is possible with a 3D printer, and these online on-demand sourcs give you the same opportunity without having to buy a printer for yourself, or even learn how to use one! As long as you have a model for what you want created, you can make use of the services to turn your ideas into actual products that you can hold, use, enjoy, and even bring to others. If you have any ideas that you think would make great products it’s now possible by combining service design groups and on-demand prototyping to create a functional prototype very quickly.

While manufacturing the items the old fashioned way may work, it takes time and effort and money that might be too much for most users. Not everyone has access to a full tool shop and nearly no one has access to a reliable molding materials (at least no one who is not already gainfully employed as a mold maker or casting expect). To get around this, a lot of people and small businesses are choosing 3D printing services. This is because you can get high quality pieces in a short amount of time, and the results are stunning. Whether you are trying to make jewelry or cell phone accessories, you can make use of these services and see some fantastic results. Places like Sculpteo, Shapeways, and iMaterialise allow you to upload a CAD file and receive a part within a few days. The rise in popularity of these services is primarily due to how amazing the pieces created are, even pieces that are used for building or mechanical purposes, and how inexpensive it is to use them when compared to the full cost of owning and operating a printer. As long as you can upload 3D designs that have everything you want, you can get the product that you have in mind in a matter of days.

The accuracy of 3D printing services is astonishing. This is another reason why so many people are using these services over other methods. By consolidating print services these companies are able to offer a much wider array of materials, colors, and finishes that would be possible from any one printer. You can get the exact item that you want, even if it is tiny. Whether you want a small metal jewelry item for yourself or you want to produce highly detailed pieces that offer functionality and fashion for consumer release, you can get what you are after.

Quality is another major advantage to choosing additive manufacturing over other options. 3D printing is known for creating some great pieces that work without breaking or causing any difficulties, but that is not always the case. For complex geometry items it can be difficult to get a printer to properly output an item, this is a learned art that takes practice and many lost prints. Service companies leapfrog this learning curve. When you are trying to use them for a specific purpose or sell them to customers, you need to know that these items are going to work for you. They need to look great, work perfectly, and last.

Free eBook - A Complete Guide to 3D Printing

3D Printing is on the rise and many readers are coming to 3DEngr to find about more about this great new technology. To help satisfy the curiosity or you and others who want to know more, we are releasing a complete eBook that will serve as a complete guide to 3D Printing. From who the major industry players are to how you can become a user of 3D printing everything is included in this complete guide.


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Introduction Part 1: 3D Printing Overview 

Chapter 1: Discover 3D Printing

A summary of the history, current market leaders, and applications of 3D Printing and additive manufacturing. The 3D printing industry is projected to revolutionize manufacturing. Some projections estimate that by 2020 the market for printers will exceed $5 Billion, while outputs from existing printers are already disrupting a wide variety of markets. We will explore the major manufacturers that are having success with 3D printers. Also included will be a look at unique applications of 3D printing. From custom medical implants to simple children’s toys hobbyists and professionals alike are finding unique ways to use this technology.

Chapter 2: Investigate Various 3D Printing Processes 

Reviewing the various processes used by different printers. SLS, SLS, FDM, DMLS and more; it is difficult to talk about the future of printer without understanding a whole variety of acronyms and how they apply. Each printing process has different strengths and weaknesses which will be clearly reviewed.

Chapter 3: Change A Small Business Using 3D Printing 

Hobbists and Small business can use 3D printing a number of ways to help make their lives and business run more smoothly. We will show the impact a 3D printer can have on the bottom line, how it can reduce time to market, and how it can improve product design. We will also show how a 3D printer can be used by a single hacker in a garage to compete with mega corporations.

Chapter 4: Print Using Everything from Chocolate to Steel: 3D Printing Materials 

Printing is about more than paper (although we will discuss 3D printers that use paper too). In this chapter we will separate the various materials and lay out the reason to choose or avoid each type. We will highlight why chocolate may be a better material to print in than steel (it taste better) and how old milk jugs can be turned into a spool of plastic to be used by a 3D printer.

Chapter 5: Stay on the Right Side of the Law (Intellectual Property Rights) 

More than nearly any other technologies in the modern age 3D printers carry with them a host of questions about intellectual property rights. Is it legal to 3D print your own legos? What about a replacement part for your ’57 Chevy? What is stopping someone from printing their own gun at home? We will look at the existing rulings on ownership rights of designs and summarize on-going legal cases that could have large ramifications for 3D Printer owners.

Part 2: Get A Printer 

Chapter 6: Research And Buy Your First 3D Printer 

We will summarize the printer options for home hobbyists, small engineering firms, and mega corporations. Purchase options (lease or buy) can be compared to service center costs. This chapter serves as a short buyers guide to the most popular printers available.

Chapter 7: DIY! Build Your Own Printer From a Kit 

This is a step-by-step guide of how to build a home 3D printer using the most popular open source kit printer, the RepRap. We will also touch on the brief history of the RepRap project and the impact open sourcing has had on 3D printing technology.

Chapter 8: Budget For The Full Cost of A 3D Printer 

Power, Materials, Replacement Parts, Employee Training, Software, the costs just keep adding up. Here we will look at the major expenses created by owning a 3D printer and highlight some of the better options for home users who want to avoid hidden fees and high costs.

Chapter 9: Get All the 3D Printing Gear And Accessories 

As the saying goes, if you give a mouse a cookie… Every owner of a 3D printer is going to want some fun after market extras. These items are not part of the previous chapter since they are not required costs of owning a printer, but they may be very useful.

Part 3: Use A 3D Printer! 

Chapter 10: Design and Prepare a Device For 3D Printing 

Unfortunately there is still no true “print” button for totally custom parts. This chapter is a hands on step-by-step tutorial that will show how you can create a useful 3D printed device. Using free open source software users can customize any of a number of popular devices (ex. coffee mugs or custom sized wrenches) we will show how to find, load, and edit a 3D CAD file and prepare it for loading to a 3D printer. Chapter 11: Print and Troubleshoot Your First 3D Printed Part Even the world’s best baker has made a fallen cake. This chapter will review some of the common problems 3D printed parts have, and how a home user can fix them.

Chapter 12: Prepare For a Presentation with Finishing And Post Processing 

Hobbyists all have dreams of creating something amazing with a 3D printer but often the result of a print is not as shiny as the mass produced items we can buy in stores. To help take a printed part to the next level and really impress a crowd (whether it’s your wife or the company executives) these secondary processes are great options for printers.

Chapter 13: Maintain and Improve Your 3D Printer 

The overview owner’s manual checklist on how to keep a printer running in top condition for as long as possible. Lists of cleaning tools, maintenance schedules, and replacement parts to keep on hand will all be summarized. Part 4: Effects & Future of 3D Printing

Chapter 14: Research & New Applications Underway for 3D Printers 

No matter what the technology is moving so quickly that things will start to be outdated well some readers are still working through the book. It makes sense to discuss on-going developments (the leading research institutions, key places of R&D spending, etc.) where more information may be gathered.

Chapter 15: Change Our Society with 3D Printing 

We will highlight the changes 3D printing is slated to cause for our society. Which industries are most likely to be disrupted and how quickly.

Chapter 16: Sci-Fi Becomes Reality, The Future of 3D Printing 

Who needs a flying car when you have a 3D printer. Here we will speculate on some of the more abstract implications 3D printing technology. If we can print liver cells (already happening) can we print a clone? Printed chocolates already exist but why bother hiring a personal chef if you can have a printer do it for you. This chapter is a light hearted way to kickstart the creative thinking of a reader and encourage them to get printing!
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