What Are 3D Printers Used For?

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3D printing technology, also referred to as additive manufacturing, allows businesses to develop innovative production techniques and cut business costs.

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This technology has been around for over 25 years and has, in recent years, become a lot more popular. And what’s the reason for this exactly? Well, it’s due to the fact that you can use 3D printers to do many tasks a lot more effectively.

If you don’t believe it, here’s a detailed guide on some of the popular uses of 3D printers. Consequently, you’ll appreciate the big role this technology plays in today’s and the future society.

Aviation 

The aviation industry is fully embracing the use of 3D printers in various ways. A good example of this is 3D printing manufacturing by GE Aviation to print 30,000 Cobalt-chrome fuel nozzles designed for its LEAP airplane engines. This milestone was attained back in 2018, and this volume is most likely higher, considering their 40 3D printers produce 600 fuel nozzles per week.

One of the best advantages of using 3D printing technology is because the printed parts are five stronger while still weighing 25% less. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the aerospace’s highest-selling engine is the LEAP engine because of its superb efficiency levels. The printing of these 3D printed nozzles also saves GE Aviation $3 million per airplane, which translates to hundreds of dollars saved in the long-run.

Making Jewelry 

The fashion industry is another often overlooked industry where 3D printers are used. This is especially the case due to the increased demand for 3D printed jewelry, which has a unique look.

Thanks to 3D printers, designers now enjoy increased flexibility to design unique-looking jewelry items. This is something they wouldn’t have been able to create with the traditional jewelry-making techniques. 3D printers also make it possible to personalize jewelry pieces according to a customer’s preference and incur a lower cost making the jewelry pieces.

Some of the popular jewelry 3D printing websites include i.materialise and Shapeways, where you can place orders for jewelry in platinum, gold, or PLA.  

Spare and Replacement Parts 

Breaking or misplacing a part of a gadget causes you great inconvenience since you’ll need to replace the item or repair it, both of which are expensive. However, this no longer should be the case if you own a 3D printer. This is because you can use the equipment to make spare and replacement parts, meaning the repair cost or throwing away the product as it’s of no use will be a thing of the past.

The use of this technology also allows manufacturers to make seldom ordered replacement parts with ease. This is also good news to the consumers since it means even the out-of-production items still find a suitable replacement.

Prototyping And Manufacturing

The original purpose 3D printers were developed was to be a quicker alternative to prototyping. Therefore, you shouldn’t be shocked that this application is still useful to this day. One reason you should always use the 3D printer is due to its flexibility and versatility.

When using an injection-molded prototype, producing one mold will take you weeks and hundreds of dollars. This isn’t something you want to go through if your goal is improving on every design. The perfect solution to this problem is buying a 3D printer, and you’ll have your prototype ready in a matter of hours, at a much lower cost.

This makes 3D printers a suitable choice for cases when you’re not producing products on a large-scale. Therefore, production depending on the specific customer needs wouldn’t have been possible by large-scale manufacturers if not for 3D printing technology.

Musical Instruments 

Certain industries have remained in a stagnant paradigm for centuries. A good example of this is the manufacturing of violins, which hasn’t changed even a bit for hundreds of years. This is because the whole process of making this instrument relied on a master craftsman.

The precision needed to guarantee a quality finish is something that couldn’t be attained with automated manufacture. However, 3D printers have once again proven to be invaluable by disrupting this once rigid industry.  

3D printers have also made it possible to do specification and customization of musical instruments at an affordable cost unlike before. It has also allowed for vital changes in the market since innovative and precious designs have made it possible to create new instruments from scratch.

Shoes 

The power of additive manufacturing hasn’t gone unnoticed to major shoes making brands such as Nike, Adidas, and New Balance. This has led to these companies aiming to embark on the mass production of customized midsoles that are built from 3D printed materials. 3D printers will be left to make vital and extremely crucial customized parts of every product.

With customers in the shoe industry very passionate about their look, 3D printing technology will allow for better customization deepening on an individual’s preference. As a result, this leads to an increase in both widespread and local consumption.

Eyewear and Glasses 

3D printers allow for infinite customization options, which will be especially a vital trait in designing eyewear. This is because finding the ideal eyewear depends on your face’s shape, and with 3D printing technology, you can create new designs to optimize both the quality of design and comfort. All this gets done while enjoying excellent convenience and lower production costs.

The subsequent eyewear is comfier, lighter, and cheaper to produce due to less waste than the ones created using the traditional methods. Other brands are giving their customers the power to design their glasses, with this a superb way to not only empower clients but also boost loyalty to the brand.

Conclusion 

3D printers have revolutionized everything, and they’re a viable choice for many industries. This technology has come a long way but is now slowly being used across various industries. If you had your doubts about how useful these machines are, reading through this article has made you more well-informed. Therefore, you should now look to embrace this innovative technology and enjoy the amazing benefits it offers.  

About the Author Dan

Just a random guy who likes to build things. Providing tool knowledge, appliance/device testing tips, and DIY project info in an easy-to read & non-intimidating style.