In our daily lives, we usually come across and pass by the places that are radiating colors and display a blend of printing. Be it the clothes or beautiful overalls that we wear, fancy artifacts and fossils we decorate our homes with, artistic paintings we adore, or buildings and historical forts that we see, prints have occupied us from every corner and have become a cult in itself. Similarly, art and history galleries carry an aesthetic arsenal of relics and antiques of old which portrays the innovation and creativity, designers are made of.
The very curiosity of acknowledging how a commoner is supposed to understand the fine concepts of it does justice to the art of printing. What are the teeny-weeny details that make printing a concept in itself? We will learn about it in the process while we conclude.
Understanding Traditional Manufacturing
Around 1400, the printing press was invented which unprecedentedly revolutionized the sector of printing and manufacturing. Manufacturing is a process of creating something that would add value in the end, having raw materials in one hand and certain technical involvement in another. Wikipedia defines manufacturing as the creation or production of goods with the help of equipment, labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of the secondary sector of the economy.
Millions of years ago, stones, sand, and clay were used to manufacture primary tools of pottery, scrapers, choppers, etc. Human ancestors have had a hard time risking their fate over raw materials, which was the daily job of gatherers and hunters. After the materials were collected, they were carved and crafted into a particular design which helped in meeting the daily needs of the homo-sapiens.
What is Traditional Manufacturing?
Traditional Manufacturing (also called subtractive manufacturing and formative manufacturing) is a process of building a prototype with the help of traditional manufacturing techniques. Techniques such as drilling, filtering, machining, casting in molds, and grinding are used to eradicate material from a designed prototype.
Let’s assume that if we are assigned the task of building a prototype that is supposed to look like a cat. Firstly, we would analyze the product by checking out the physical dimensions like the density of hair, the shape of paws and legs, height, and stature. Then according to that, the prototype will be developed and if there remains any error, it could be corrected using drilling or other machinery available at the time.
The changes can be altered and applied as per the needs of the designer. The work is mostly done physically which requires too much hard work, dedication, perseverance, and last patience from workers in charge. Half of the newly built prototypes are usually rejected due to some heavy faults and machine-made glitches. After several checks and considerations, the product gets finally ready.
Result and limitations of Traditional Manufacturing
So without the intervention of any rapid high-class functioning mechanism and machinery, a prototype is developed and ready to be enabled for market use at the earliest. The end product that is a cat, would resemble a showpiece made of POP that adds aesthetic value to home interiors and showcasing. But the design and printing freedom gets curtailed in this SM process, and the doors to multiple layering and overlays are also restricted and are very limited.
Whereas in Additive Manufacturing, which is perceived as far better than the SM process, fabrication and prototyping are done in a refined way with the help of rapid tooling and direct manufacturing. It stretches the boundaries of creativity and freedom in the printing domain.
There are mainly four standard manufacturing processes: injection molding, machining, forming, and joining. Similar to 3D printing, each manufacturing process has advantages and limitations.
Conventional methods such as injection molding still dominate this space. Injection molding is a fabrication process that consists of softening a plastic material then injecting it into a mold. Once in the mold, the material cools and solidifies and another mechanism ejects the piece from the mold.
CNC Machining: In this method, a piece of material is clamped into the machine, and a numerically controlled tool removes material until the part is completed. Tolerances of machining are very high (25µm) meaning highly accurate parts can be machined.
The dawn of 3D Printing technology
Industrialization and Digitalization brought advancements in the domain of technology and the manufacturing sector as a whole, which altered the previously held practices of printing and design. Human involvement started decreasing in factories and manufacturing sectors, and most of the work was done by machines. Printing methods got modernized with the onslaught of innovation, creativity, and invention of printers.
How well did Science and Technology contribute? Printing forms like flex-based, lithography, cloth, and color came to an edge and remained restricted from the mainstream portfolios. Science served as a torchbearer to the technology it gave birth to. Certain textures and colors got embedded into a small chip-based box, which when inserted inside a printer radiated beautiful hues and mesmerizing designs which in some way got real.
What is 3D Printing?
Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is the process of designing parts, components, or products for ease of manufacturing with the end goal of making a better product at a lower cost. This is done by simplifying, optimizing, and refining the product design.
3D Printing, also known as Additive manufacturing, is used to create 3-dimensional figures and models using digital technologies or free CAD software tools like SelfCAD and Blender or paid ones like Fusion 360 and AutoCAD. The process comprises rapid prototyping, instant results, and an additional favor of aesthetics and brain-blowing realness in results just adds icing to the cake.
How does it work?
In simple words, let’s see how 3D printing works. Suppose if we want to 3D print baby Yoda, firstly we would design him in computer-aided software like CAD or if we have his dummy physical statue, we will keep it inside a closed multi-faceted chamber. Various photos are captured from typical angles so that it helps in detailing later. The printer consists of multi-colored wires that give colors and textures to the product we are sculpting, baby Yoda. Length, Breadth, and height are adjusted as per the requirements. Such as the print can be 6 inches, 20 inches, and so forth.
Finally, the product is ready and after cooling it for a while, we can easily detach it from the printer. The 3D printer just makes things real. Baby Yoda looks like the real baby Yoda, having all features and a cute smile. This is how 3D printing is done. The tip of the machine which gives shape. Alters dimensions as a pendulum does most of the work in making the prototype real. And colored wires are equally responsible for the aesthetic value that they bring in.
This is how 3D printing gets practical and is used in various domains of architecture and designing. It has its applications in the food industry, fashion, firearm, and transportation industries. 3D Manufacturing also serves profoundly in the educational, health, and humanitarian sectors. NASA is looking into the technology to create 3D printed food to limit food waste. To make food that is designed to fit an astronaut’s dietary needs. The customer excitement and satisfaction have all gone to higher levels.
Impact around the globe
Talking of recent years, 3D printing is creating a significant impact in the humanitarian and development sector. Its potential to facilitate distributed manufacturing is resulting in supply chain and logistics benefits. By reducing the need for transportation, warehousing, and wastage. Furthermore, social and economic development is being advanced through the creation of local production economies.
Advocates of AM(3D Printing) also predict that this arc of technological development will counter globalization. As end users will do much of their manufacturing. Rather than engage in trade to buy products from other people and corporations. The real integration of the newer additive technologies into commercial production. However, is more a matter of complementing traditional subtractive methods rather than displacing them entirely.
Electronics and Computer-based models designed machinery that brought life to the printing processes. Which previously was just dead art displayed on a lame paper. Now, things have become real and practical. Ceramic, automobile, interiors, clothing sectors began to believe more in digital software and computer-aided appliances. As it gave more options and variety in printing and designs. Traditional manufacturing practices comparatively came to a standstill and did not facilitate suitable help in any way.
The thing is, how will people learn to sculpt and design. And what are the places they need to go to learn 3D Printing simplistically?. Some tools like CAD and AutoCAD are already in the market. Whereas many new ones are coming and are gaining a sound attraction from the markets. SelfCAD is a very efficient one, a tool that has got all. From 3D designing to sculpting to rendering to end product, it has got everything embedded in it. A gamut of features and online tasks are already accommodated in SelfCAD’s website.
Once you are done with the 3D design process. You can use SelfCAD’s in-built slicer to prepare your design for 3D printing. The slicer is compatible with most of the common FDM 3D printers and customizing the settings is easy too. These are very interesting features embedded in the SelfCAD website. Peek through and grab the excitement that 3D Printing and designs are offering.