3D Printing – All You Need to Know

You think selfies are cool? How about a three-dimensional selfie?

3D printing is a concept that has been known for quite a while but has been implemented on a popular scale only recently. With India fast catching up with this groundbreaking technology, Srijan Creation organised a workshop on the 20th of June this year in Kolkata, to spread awareness about the utilities and basic functionality of 3D printing. Kolkata Bloggers was invited to be a part of this event. It was an enthusiastic drive to promote education and to emphasise the need for technology such as 3D printing for the betterment of our lives.

3D Printing, Srijan Creations, Kolkata Bloggers
Srijan Creation holds their workshop on 3D Printing

How does 3D printing work?

Consider the working of a standard 2D printer. The cartridge puts ink on paper by moving in the X and Y directions on a particular plane. This allows it to cover the requisite length and breadth. Now imagine the base on which this ink is being put, can be moved upwards and downwards. Instead of ink, the cartridge uses polypropylene. As the base shifts and the polypropylene solidifies, a three-dimensional structure is created, layer by layer. This is the basic method of 3D printing. While printing, the cartridge is set to a temperature of 320°C and the base is set to a temperature of 180°C. This causes the polypropylene to freeze instantly as it comes into contact with the base. Thus, high precision is obtained in the 3D format, with curves and irregularities present in the original becoming prominent in the printed object as well.

Applications

3D printing has a variety of applications in diverse fields. Developed countries are currently using 3D printing extensively for developmental purposes. India (and Kolkata) is fast catching up, thanks to the endeavours of initiatives like Srijan Creations. Some of the most crucial applications of 3D printing are listed below.

Medical sector

3D printing technology can be used to create prosthetic parts that are an exact fit for the patient, replacement of damaged tissues, and even designing precise medical instruments tailor-made for a particular patient. It is possible to provide exact bone replacements, and even organ replacements to some degree by the use of 3D printing.

Engineering sector

The precision of an engineering prototype is crucial to the success of a project. The use of 3D printers for the manufacture of prototypes ensures a very high level of precision, which is unparalleled compared to other methods. This is also a cheap method for the manufacture of prototypes, thus making it efficient on a wholesome level.

Architectural Implications

On a very basic level, miniature models of architectural projects can be made quickly and effectively with very high precision using 3D printing techniques. In recent times in developed nations, entire full-sized buildings, bridges and other landmark constructions have been successfully completed with 3D printed structures!

Fashion and Lifestyle sector

The fashion industry has started using 3D printing regularly to design accessories, and even optimal clothes specially designed for a specific person. One big application of 3D printing in the fashion industry lies in the manufacture of jewellery – high precision and sound quality can be achieved, in a manner that cannot be replicated manually.

3D printing, Srijan Creations, Kolkata Bloggers
Some of the 3D printed items displayed by Srijan Creations

Other applications

3D printing can be used in myriad sectors to produce goods that are useful in daily life. Articles such as handicrafts can be replaced by printing a model designed by software. The main advantage of such a process is that once the base material is chosen, the prototype made will have the exact precision that has been designed in the soft copy, without the possibility of human error. 100% symmetry (if required) and exact dimensions can be assured with 3 D printing.

Software used

The model or soft copy that is to be printed can be manufactured using a variety of software that allow you to set a depth along with length and breadth for designing. Srijan Creation, in their workshop, listed three very popular such software tools to execute the 3D model. They were – Rhino, SketchUp and Sweet Home 3D.

3D printing is a concept that the Indian masses should be aware of, because it will soon replace conventional 2D printing as the next obvious technological thing. Kolkata Bloggers was proud to be invited to the session by Srijan Creation. We hope to help further in spreading word about this breakthrough in technology to all interested people.

Photographs – Saimantick Bhadra || www.saimantick.com

 

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