Tuesday, November 6, 2012

MoMA: Design and the Elastic Mind: 3-D Printing

      3D printing also know as Additive Manufacturing was originally created in 1995 on MIT’s campus, when two graduate students Jim Bredt and Tim Anderson decided to alter a regular inkjet printer so that it would release a binding solution onto a bed of powder instead of the traditional ink on paper. Since then the 3D printer has evolved into one of the leading ways to create one-off prototypes and might very well be the way we mass-produce most man made products in the future.

         The process of 3d printing is actually quite simple you start off by making a computer aided design, the computer then breaks down that image into thin vertical horizontal cross sections, which the computer then processes and sends to the printer. The machine then starts creating the object with successive layers of material. This type of printing is basically a sophisticated inkjet printer and it is the most common way of 3d printing. Other ways of 3D printing include digital light projection (where UV and visible light sensitive material are held in a reservoir and wiped across a platform then set with a LED) Stereo Lithography Apparatus (UV sensitive liquid resin is hardened by UV lasers) Selective laser sintering (fuses powders) and Direct Laser Metal Sintering (where metal is laid down and fused together layer by layer). Although there are many ways to 3D print it is still very much in development.

         Currently 3D printing focuses on small-scale production. One-off Prototypes were what it was originally created for and what it is mostly used for today. The ability to create your object quickly and in a cost effective manner is what draws many people to 3D printing. Its creation has really opened so many doors for creative minds all over the world however the goal is for 3D printing to become much bigger. 

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