The term 3D printing has been a constant buzzword in the tech scene for quite a few
years now. It has seen applications in Aerospace, Housing, and even quite a few
industries where automation is applicable.

Where did this all begin?
And to the uninitiated, What is 3D Printing?

3D Printing is a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital
model, typically by laying down many successive thin layers of a material. It brings a
digital object (a CAD representation) into its physical form by adding materials, layer
by layer.

There are several different techniques to 3D Print an object. We will go in further
details later in the Guide. 3D Printing brings two fundamental innovations: The
manipulation of objects in their digital format and the manufacturing of new shapes
by addition of material.

How did it start?

Discovered in 1984 by Charles Hull, 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing has its roots
set deep in history. Initially known as Stereolithography, the process was one of the
most pioneering pieces of technology at the time and set the tone for the years to come,
with regards to technology.

Although the 3D printing process made an early debut, it wasn’t until 2009 that the
first 3D printer was available for commercial purposes. Cut to modern day, and some
hail 3D printing as a part of the 4th Industrial revolution or Industrie 4.0.

How does it work?

There are a number of different processes that are involved with different materials
which define the outcome of the particular process used.
The different types of technologies involved in 3D printing are:
● SLS
● FDM
● DLP
● Inkjet, etc.

The materials used:
In the process of 3D printing the materials are fed into the 3D printing machine in the
form of filaments. The common materials that are used are:
● Plastics
● Ceramics
● Metals
● Bio Materials
● And even, Food.

3D printing software

The files to be printed are usually uploaded in the .STL format. Other than that, some of
the most commonly used 3D printing software are Cura, Slic3r and FreeCAD.
The process: Once the filaments are fed into the 3D printer, the fed filaments are heated
to a certain temperature where they are then extruded through the nozzle, layer upon
layer, to form the user’s desired product.

The future of 3D printing

One might say that 3D printing technology is the future. With the emergence of
multiple environmental laws all around the world and companies placing focus on
cutting costs, through automation and other processes, the 3D printing technology is
well on its way to becoming one of the mainstay technological advancements to have
been introduced in the past decade.
It is projected that by 2025, the industry of 3D printing, technology and services, will
grow to almost 50 Billion USD at a conservative estimate.

The future is indeed exciting for the 3D printing community, as well as the industry
itself. What do you think the future holds for the 3D printing industry?

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