Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pros and Cons of 3D Printers

3D printing is the latest buzz in the technology sector. It is being said that this technology is going to revolutionize the conventional prototyping concept we have been acquainted with till now. Especially it is going to be handy when “printing” is needed on a large-scale basis like an industry.

What is 3D Printing?

3D Printing or professionally called Additive Manufacturing is a technology where one can make literally anything from any substance; be it plastic, be it nylon, be it metal or anything- you name it, anything can be created with this technology.

Here the model of the object to be “printed” is input to the printer, then the printer creates the object layer by layer as a prototype using either solid or liquid raw materials.
However like any other technology 3D printing has got its own pros and cons. They are as following:

PROS:

1) Faster Production:
In large industries, normally after getting an order for a product, the design company first makes a design and then sends the design to a third party for making a prototype. Upon completion, the second company sends the prototype to the design company for final checking and modifications. It is understandable that the whole process takes a long time (generally weeks) to get completed. If we use 3D printer, the whole prototyping process would be faster and the production time will become short.

2) Increased Safety:
In prototyping, situations arise when some parts of the work need to be done manually because everything can’t be done with machine. Whenever some personnel get involved in that process, a risk factor automatically comes under consideration. In production of some large machines, the prototyping phases are accident prone. So if we do the prototyping with 3D printers, we reduce the risk of accidents.

3) Less Warehousing: As time for production is less with this technology, unnecessary warehousing of inventory will be reduced. Thus maintenance and additional costs will be reduced.

4) Medical: However it is still in experimental stage, the possibilities are huge. In case of accidents, the doctors would be able to quickly make organs like heart, liver, kidney etc. for a patient’s body. There will be no need to find a donor for the organs or no chance of donor rejection.

CONS:

1) Manufacturing Unwanted Materials: Technologies are invented for the betterment of human. But some people always abuse the new hopes. It is logical to fear that 3D printers can enable bad people to easily produce dangerous weapons, harmful stuffs to the environment or anything that is bad to the earth. As now-a-days anything is easily available on the internet, it would not be so tough to make one from the printer.

2) Increase in Unemployment: 3D printing is definitely helpful for industrialists who run big factories as it will save them a lot of money for production. Naturally they will fire workers to save cost. As a consequence, unemployment will rise which will unbalance our social structure.

3) Copyright Infringement: As a 3D printer can produce anything, copyrighted products will be produced easily. Thus disregard for copyrighted products would increase.

Differences between 2D and 3D printers:

2D printers are used to print on paper sheets. 3D printers are used to create objects. They are no way analogues to each other. Hence 2D printers are basically used by individuals for simple printing works whereas 3D printers are used in manufacturing industries. 2D printers are needed in documentation as always. Also 3D printers are big in size than 2D printers. So naturally there field of work is different. However developers are trying to produce cheap and small sized 3D printers for the same purpose.

The chance of success 3D printer is huge:

With the degree of versatility 3D printer possesses, it is assumable it is going to be the next-gen production machine in industry and truly revolutionize industrialization. Despite a lot of cons, it has got potentials and like any other scientific discovery we need to handle it carefully so that bad people cannot use it with ill purpose.