Benjamin Peters – TRANSCRIPT
So let’s start by talking about 3D printing. 3D printing is a lot like normal printing, but it’s in 3D. Not that kind of 3D. But more like this 3D printing refers to additive manufacturing techniques that build objects layer by layer, starting from nothing and ending up with a completed physical object. A common exaggeration is a 3D printer is just like a Star Strek replicator, you can make anything.
Although you can make very complex geometries with a wide variety of materials like plastics, powders and metals, 3D printing does have its limitations. This is why we have so many kinds of 3D printers. These are a lot of different varieties that exist, of different kinds of additive manufacturing techniques that fall within the field of 3D printing. The true magic of 3D printing isn’t it being a Star Trek replicator. It’s how we use it.
A 3D printer is used by designers to generate their parts in the real world. So, you can take a design, plug it in the printer and it’ll print it out for you. And you can take that part in your hands, make adjustments to it, change your design and print another one. So it’s used for iterative design, and it actually checks parts with the real world. So it’s a really useful tool.
A disadvantage of 3D printing is that it’s actually pretty slow. So we have a really nice little 3D printed cup over here on the left with an integrated straw. Pretty cool! That takes about the same amount of time to print or to manufacture as these plastic cups or a hundred packs of 50 plastic cups, so 5,000 plastic cups. So it’s about the same amount of manufacturing time. That’s low-balling it. So, this layer by layer additive process is pretty slow compared to a formative manufacturing technique.