Thursday, October 25, 2012

How Accessible Is 3D Printing?

3D printing has the power to truly change the way that consumers look at buying new products, selling their own products, and getting involved with manufacturing. When a consumer wants to buy something, he or she would typically drive up to the store and buy it.

For a product to get to that store in the first place without 3D printing, quite a few things must first happen. First off, a bunch of material must be mined. This material will be mined with heavy machinery, and the logistics for moving the material itself to the actual refining facility costs money, and uses gas! The refining facility will then work to refine the material to a usable material from manufacturers to use. This material will be refined using various machinery, gasoline, generators, electricity, etc. After the material is made, it will then be transported to another facility, where the actual product will be developed. The process of transporting the material without 3D printing will burn man hours, energy, gasoline, and money. When the material is actually converted into the actual product, quite a bit usually has to occur. Lots of man hours will be spent just moving the material around. Machines will be used to organize the material, and more machines will be used to convert the refined material. After the final piece is made, it will then be transported again - burning more gas, energy, and money. If this product has to be flown or sent oversea, there are more logistics to face, more employees to be paid, and more gas to be burnt. The port will then unload the product, which uses machinery, gas, and man hours. It will then be transported to a holding facility, which burns more gasoline and man hours. After that, it will then be shipped out to a superstore or specialty store. After that, you will then have to get in your car and drive up to pick up the product. 3D printing may offer a different opportunity.

3D printing gives its users the possibility to produce parts in a much quicker manor, and these parts are made individually, rather than mass produced. Well, some printers can produce a "bed" full of the same part, but each individual part could be done differently. There are tons of possibilities as to what could come about through this technology. 3D printing gives consumers, product developers, designers, artists, and engineers a new way to promote their designs, products, and ideas.

Through 3D printing, anyone has the power to create something. 3D printing has the manufacturing capabilities to produce virtually anything you want, and at the same time it is accessible to almost anyone. If you can spare around a hundred bucks, you could be in business. Many people produce product for less than 40 bucks through printing services. Leasing allows for the creation of as many parts as you need over a certain period of time with some material restrictions. Overall, 3D printing has the power to change the way that we get things manufactured.



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