The 3D printers are on the rise. Aircraft parts, tools, toys – we can produce more and more products ourselves with the help of these devices. This form of “do-it-yourself” is therefore often considered the production of the future. What are the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing will be the basis of this article.
3D printers are trendy. The devices with which three-dimensional shapes can be produced are regarded as the production method of the future. Some enthusiasts are even calling for the next industrial revolution. Because instead of factories and long chains of production, with the help of this additive manufacturing, as it is also called, in principle, everyone can produce exactly the objects that he needs right now. Raw material and a virtual 3D model are enough.
Initially, 3D printing was a pure plastic matter. But even metal objects such as cell phone cases, figures or tools can now be produced. The advantages are clear: Printing in 3D saves storage, transport costs and reduces packaging. And for the environment as well, 3D printers could be an opportunity if they save resources and consume less energy.Despite many initial practical applications with technology, we see today that it is still in its infancy , but there are some advantages and disadvantages that we can presently discuss.
Advantages of 3D printing
- Less material can be used: The researchers certainly see environmental benefits in the technology of 3D printing. Since only so much material is needed, as in the end is also present in the product, so there is almost no loss, can save raw materials. In addition, particularly lightweight parts can be produced locally, for example, in aircraft construction and so fuel can be saved.
- The starting material for printing is also crucial from an ecological point of view. So far, only plastic and metal is mainly used in 3D printers .
- Save energy:energy savings through 3D printing is critical.Energy can be saved in warehousing and transportation, providing a variety of raw materials for printing instead of having to spend money to source new material.
- The revolution that supposes for manufacture of products. A single 3D printing is capable of making many different products. Much of the current manufacturing is done with specific machines whose function is limited and if the product changes, the machine must also be readjusted or changed.
- Flexibility and rapid prototyping. It allows prototypes of products with ease, which can imply an improvement in the design.
- Cost reduction. Instead of buying a product it can be done at home
- Personalization. You would be able to of making your own clothes that fits your style ,objects, products … in a personalized and exclusive way.
- New industry and sector. It will create new jobs, and new forms of business.
- Multiple applications yet to be discovered. In the field of medicine we find surprising applications, such as: the creation of prostheses or even the printing of organic tissues. 3D printing has a lot of ground to cover and more and more fields will be applied.
- Many businesses will be widely favored, such as jewelers, because when they can print the 3D printer in wax, when making rings, they simply make the mold in a file and the technological device prints them.
- For industrial designers create an industrial object, you can see it in a plastic prototype.
- Make replicas of objects that we need. For example, designing a mechanical product to sell, and we have a nail, but we need another one, we can create it. If we have broken a piece of an object, we can create it to fix it.
- Now you can make objects with plastic, wax and rubber, probably at a time other materials will be involved and the range of products that can be made will change the way we live as we know it.
- Companies instead of having an automation system to carry out a commercial product, 3D printers can be at stake to reduce costs in terms of machinery, and so that the products do not have errors in terms of design since they will be able to correct with the computer.
- In addition to this growth potential, 3D printing will generate a new market architecture because, in the long term, it will empower consumers to print any desired merchandise,for example, clothing, auto parts, jewelry and even food.
- This could imply a tangible solution to emerging problems such as the reduction of the environmental footprint and waste, the shortage of organs and the almost total reduction of the logistics industry, which must evolve for a world that does not transport goods as before.
Disadvantages of 3D printing
- Potentially more garbage :Consumers could use products shorter in the future and throw them away if they can easily “reprint” them over and over again, scientists fear. So not only would more material be consumed, but also more waste would be produced. Especially for complex 3-D products, which consist of several materials, steel here sees a potential problem for recycling.
- If in the future wood 3D printing become more popular it can have a detrimental effect on our environment.
- Decrease in work position. The elaboration of the products themselves, and the reduction of machinery can lead to fewer jobs in manufacturing.
- Infringement of copyright. The replication of copyrighted objects will be difficult to control because 3D scanners allow the replication of any object.
- Dangerous uses of technology. Criminals would be able to create firearms and other dangerous objects. For example, how is it possible to apply an appropriate weapon regulation if anyone can print what they want from the comfort of their home?
- Increase in useless products.
- The prices are very high.
- Many companies are going to benefit, many are going to be harmed because their business can be lost. For example, companies that design and produce toys, or items for home decoration.
- In addition, and although 3D printing has been a reality for several years, working with organic materials and cheapening this technology to make it accessible to most users is something that still has not much progress, so it will be a while before that its use translates into substantial changes in the lifestyle of people, beyond the industrial sector.