Friday, June 19, 2015

3D Printing

John Marine | 6/19/2015 05:28:00 PM | | | |
3D printing offers so many unique opportunities. I once seen a set of videos regarding 3D printing, and the way it is presented makes us believe humans will be capable of producing items on their own without having to buy items from a store. A number of people have mostly made novelty items with 3D printers. However, can you imagine making things like tools, gadgets, even... (according to one YouTube comment I read) a human heart? The possibilities seem endless as to what a 3D printer could actually print. Do not expect this to be a professional post regarding 3D printing. Instead, think of this as a post simply mentioning 3D printing.

--- 3D Printing ---

Here are a few pictures to set up this post:

3D printer consumer
^ from: - Here is a consumer-level home 3D printer. All you need is a 3D printer and some filament to create almost anything your heart desires.

3D printer large
^ from: - This is a larger, more advanced 3D printer capable of producing larger models than most in-home 3D printers. Some companies and factories have larger 3D printers than in this picture.

The power of 3D printing will allow people to create things themselves as opposed to having to go to stores to buy things. It is possible people can use a 3D printer to create things or even create things to their own specifications. Certain items that can be purchased in stores or made with any sort of usual welding or such could be made with a 3D printer. People often imagine creating any number of items with a 3D printer. As the technology becomes more accessible to average consumers, the sky is the limit as to what one can create with a 3D printer.

According to the Wikipedia entry on 3D printing, the history of 3D printing dates back to 1984. Most of 3D printing then mostly pertained to prototyping certain items. Fast forward to 2015 to see 3D printing gaining more steam on the consumer level. You can actually purchase a 3D printer to build any number of items for (according to my research for this topic) as much as $2.2K US Dollars. 3D printed material created with consumer-level 3D printers could range from novelty toys to any number of useful tools. Larger 3D printers can make more advanced materials ranging from synthetic body parts to even things like cars and houses. More advanced 3D printers can be found at various warehouses and with specific firms.

The Inner Workings of 3D Printing.

How does 3D printing start? A lot of the early creation of 3D printed models begin either with various drawings or certain material made on computers. Some of the files are *.STL format files, and there are also a lot of CAD drawings for various 3D models. I read it is also possible for the well-respected *.OBJ 3D model format can be used in the creation of 3D printed models. Microsoft has its own proprietary format for 3D printing called 3MF. Learn more about 3MF here: Microsoft Unleashes the 3MF File Format for 3D Printing, Launches 3MF Consortium.

If you want an idea of various 3D Printing material that you can get online, here is a resource for you: 3D Printer.

Perspective on 3D Printing.

All (or almost all) the perspective you need on 3D printing can be seen in this video. You may take a look at it (or click on the link to view on YouTube), or you may advance to the next section for more discussion of 3D printing. I must warn you that about the second half of this video may feature an element of 3D printing that can be scary or discomforting should people want to make certain kinds of items featured in the second half of this video. You have been warned:

^ "3D Printing: Make anything you want"

I provided this video for you to get an idea of 3D printing. In the next section, all of my own commentary and thoughts on 3D printing will be shared.

--- 3D Printing and Consumer Usage ---

It is time to discuss a little more about 3D printing and all the nuances involved. You are welcome to take a look.

What Others are Saying About 3D Printing.

Here are some resources online to help you think about 3D printing further:

How 3D printing will radically change the world - CNBC
How 3D printing is building a new future - ZDNet

These two articles express a bit of what is possible with 3D printers and what all could be created with 3D printers.

A 3D Car?

In 2014, a remarkable breakthrough in 3D printing came about when Chandler, Arizona, USA's Local Motors made their first 100% 3D printed car called the Strati. Creating such a car provides the possibility that almost anyone can create their own car from scratch and be able to drive and use it effectively. Granted this was an electric vehicle that doesn't go very fast, it does exhibit the possibilities of creating cars without needing to go to some dealer. You also could print your own car based on a series of different drawings and such. Local Motors claimed that by creating individual parts of 3D printed cars, an actual car you can drive can be completed in about 44 hours. Here is a piece showcasing Local Motors' 3D car:

^ "World's First 3D Printed Car Constructed In Chicago"

YouTube comments on this creation range from "let's see crash test data" to something along the lines of "this car is ugly." Of course, a lot of the same sick people on YouTube enjoyed the possibility of 3D printing their own sex toys. Go figure. Anyhow, nobody said that the Strati was meant to be something that will devastate the automobile world. Just the fact that it is possible to create your own drivable car completely from 3D printers offers some hope for the future of making your own car rather than look for proper automobiles from proper automakers. Local Motors came up with another project called the Aeroblade concept as part of a design challenge for IMTS (International Manufacturing Technology Show) 2014. The Aeroblade is a case study in making a much safer and more sturdy 3D printed car. In addition, elements of aerodynamics and appearance are also considerable elements in the design of 3D cars. To learn more about the Aeroblade, take a look at this link: Aeroblade | Local Motors.

Though the Local Motors Strati is the first completely 3D printed car, it wasn't the very first one. There was a car made a few years before the Strati called the URBEE that was made through 3D printing. The URBEE was developed back around 2013 in the Canadian province of Manitoba. This video I've provided offers a little perspective on the URBEE:

^ "3D Printed Car Creator Discusses Future of the Urbee"

IN CASE YOU'RE INTERESTED... Here is an article you can read about the URBEE: Stratasys 3D Printers Build Urbee, First Prototype Car to Have Entire Body Created with an Additive Process.

Despite the prospect of 3D printed cars, the biggest concern is on making them safe and useful. Should you wreck a 3D printed car, you'll either have to try to rebuild it yourself or order a new model. There isn't as much practicality to these 3D printed cars as of yet. As with any technology or technological advances, one can be sure 3D printing technology will further evolve. That even includes making 3D printed cars safer and more sturdy. Maybe perhaps even making them faster and more powerful. Automobile development eventually reached the level that it is at today. Who is to say that 3D printed cars may eventually reach the same level of build quality and performance as proper automobiles?

If you found this part of this section interesting regarding this 3D car, I am considering doing a separate blog post in regards to the Local Motors Strati. So be sure to Subscribe and Follow "John's Blog Space" to see a future post on this car should it materialize.

A Dark Reality of 3D Printing...

You can make almost anything when it comes to various consumer items. As a scary-but-true reality... that even includes weapons. Giving most people the power to create almost anything can even include making items intended or designed to hurt others or damage property. The most tech-savvy person could be able to design weapons or other items with 3D printers and use them against others

--- 3D Printing: Final Thoughts ---

It used to be that we could only print things in 2D and not be capable of producing lifelike items. MUCH different story in this day and age with 3D printers. It is surreal how one is able to create almost anything with a 3D printer. Even as children, many of us envisioned being able to create our own items. In an even more surreal sense, there is fear in being able to create almost anything- including weapons. Being able to spend at least a half-hour to any number of hours creating certain 3D models is enough to create any number of items. The fact it is possible useful material can be created through 3D printers offers up new possibilities to help make life better or anything of that nature. Pardon the cliché, but the possibilities are endless with 3D printing. And as the technology becomes more accessible to consumers, printing 3D material may end up taking less time to create models or perhaps even cost much less and be more efficient in making models. Only time will tell.

3D Printing Resources.

Here are various links to help you to better understand and follow 3D printing. I may add more links in future edits.

All3DP | All about 3D printing
3D Printer
Microsoft Unleashes the 3MF File Format for 3D Printing, Launches 3MF Consortium

Thank you for reading this blog post. Your participation in the next section is voluntary. Skip the next section entirely if uninterested in it.

--- 3D Printing Online ---

Participation in this section is completely voluntary. If you want to get into the realm of 3D printing, I have prepared these resources to you in offering thanks to you for reading my blog post on 3D printing. I would appreciate your business if you find any of these items to be helpful to you in getting to do 3D printing. So take a look around and help yourself. Be warned, though. Most of this stuff is not cheap. A lot of these 3D printers can cost about as much as most computers. Availability of these items are not entirely guaranteed...

3D Printers

Filament and Material for 3D Printers

3D printers on Amazon
3D printers on eBay

More material may be added in the future to better suit those of you shopping. Speaking of which, happy shopping! :)

This is the end of the post, so if you wish to discuss this topic, here is a question I have for you:

What do you think about 3D printing? Are there any item(s) you would want to make using a 3D printer?

Anything is possible in 3D printing. One can only imagine how much further 3D printing can progress and in how much it can change our lives and express our creativity. I hope you enjoyed this post on "John's Blog Space." Subscribe and Follow through any means to keep up with my blog(s) and the posts I make. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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