Not everyone is aware of 3D printing, but when they do they will be surprised about it. Having most of the items in the world to be printed in a 3D printer is astonishing or overwhelmingly surprising that most people are not quite ready for it. But before knowing what people think about what this 3D printing business is all about, let’s see how it went through through the automotive industry.
Three-dimensional printing or also known as additive manufacturing is the process of creating 3D solid objects through a digital file. This is achieved through the utilization of additive process. The object in this process is made by laying down layers successively up until the object based on the digital file is completely created. Every layer can be seen openly by the eye.
Ford on 3D Printing
And because of this, automakers are now eyeing the possibility of having car parts printed by the 3D machine. One of these automakers is Ford, and as of this writing they are experimenting with parts printed in these 3D printing machines.
The automaker figures out that it will turn out lighter compared to its metal counterparts, thus resulting to more fuel efficiency.
The company stated that they are going to start with the spoilers first, the ones that are streamlined decorations in which they are fastened to the exterior of the cars in order to make it look faster. As of this moment, the company is testing out parts for the Ford Performance division for car racing. Yet if these parts are 3D printed, it would mean that it can be mass marketed and sold for trucks and cars in the near future.
Ford has also released photos of the 3D printed parts, like the plastic molding that are used for car interiors. The company also gave out hints that one day they might also have other complex parts of the vehicle get 3D printed, such as the intake manifolds.
Not all Ford plants are going to use the 3D printer in printing parts. The first one is taking place in factory located in Dearborn, Michigan. The 3D printer they are going to use is made by the Stratasys company. According to Ford, the 3D printers made by the said company are able to print the automotive parts of any length and shape.
The marketing director of Stratasys Jim Vurpillat in locations Israel and Minneapolis, stated that 3D printing has already been utilized before, but at a very limited use only. It was mostly uses for customized parts. He also said that the Boeing also made use of 3D printed parts done by the Stratasys printer. Other designers also made a couple of experiment with 3D printing. They use it in making items that has moving mechanical parts such as parts for guns and wheelchairs.
What the average person thinks about 3D printing?
While the concept of 3D printing has widely been accepted in the automotive industry, the average person has yet to grasp the reality of how 3D printing is already possible. Those who are not as excited about how the 3D printing world has slowly penetrated mainstream are merely not thinking big enough or change is just too slow that they don’t bother about it. However, some say that a couple of technology visionaries have predicted that humanity’s lives on earth will radically change soon. And the start of it is the 3D printer.
According to these futurist predictions, 3D printing will make life almost unrecognizable in the next 50 to 75 years. It is not only the automotive world that is going to be affected. It is only a start there.
They’ve seen that humanity may live beyond 100. Now that the organs can be bio-printed, living up to 110 is within reach. It seems that not only hard or solid objects are being printed these days. There are also printing on kidneys, skin and even a replica of a human heart. When a person loses a limb, they are able to print it through various layers as its replacement. All of these are possible, according to theory. All materials can be used within the locality, so there is no need for outsourcing. There is also no waste on materials, too.
So far, the ones being printed are solid, inanimate objects like the vehicle parts. It has been utilized these days at a very staggering rate. Many designers all over the world are now working on 3D printing cars. Some are even using it to 3D print houses. It as certainly opened up a new world for everyone, but a technology consultant at MIT foresees that 3D printing technology will not change the lives of the average individual in the not so distant future.
With all these excitement around 3D printing, the technology director for Association of Manufacturing Technology Tim Shinbara states that even if there is no harm in getting excited regarding the new technology that has surfaced today, it should not override common sense. As in fact, many people have already seen the products of 3D printing. It has long been around, but got only hyped up as of recently.
The average population are hyped and excited about 3D printed cars and many other technologies, but their biggest concern is that of the printed food. Assuming that it technically works, they are concerned about whether they should be doing it. If people start on creating food rather than harvesting and growing for it, it gets scary for them. If you take food at a molecular level, will the body accept something that has been genetically and artificially manufactured? Even if it looks similar under the microscope, what kind of effect will it have to the body in the span of 10 or 20 years later?
Because of the hype surrounding with 3D printing, it has made people ignorant of the potential problems it can actually create. One of them is the ethical and legal ramifications when it becomes widespread use to the public.