Thirty years have passed since 3-D printers first appeared, but only recently have they hinted at a new era of manufacturing.
The first working 3-D printer was created in 1984 by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp., Morrisville, N.C. This early device, based on stereolithography, gave way to the first truly practical 3-D printing, or “3DP”, technology patented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993. Since the start of the 21st century, there has been a large growth in sales of these machines as their prices dropped substantially. Today, 3-D printers have become more of a staple in the current manufacturing space, while still piquing hobbyist interest. The 3-D printing process usually works by selectively binding powder particles together, layer-by-layer, using a high-resolution inkjet printhead. A thin layer of powder is spread across the build area specified by CAD software, creating layers.
Propelled by the promise of inexpensive, highly customizable manufacturing, the 3-D printer manufacturing industry has surged over the past five years, driven by rapid technological developments, falling costs and new applications for 3-D printing technology. The 3-D printing industry has grown at a faster pace than expected, reaching about $2.2 billion worldwide in 2012, according to market research from Wohlers Associates. In the U.S., IBISWorld reported the 3-D printer market in 2014 at $1 billion with a CAGR of 22.8% over the period of 2009 to 2014. While still a small industry—as far as standalone 3-D printer manufacturers with 6,933 employees and 50 businesses—3-D printing is increasingly used in medical device and aircraft manufacturing, and is becoming a staple in some manufacturing processes.
The editors of R&D Magazine surveyed their readers to see what trends are important in the 3-D printing industry.
The Latest on: 3-D Printing
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The Latest on: 3-D Printing
- Ridge Students 3D Print Coronavirus Face Shields For Hospitalson April 8, 2020 at 6:59 pm
Vivek Chakrapani and Michael Wu, 11th graders, are recruiting more people to help print and raising funds amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- Volunteers band together to 3D print face shields: ‘It just kind of exploded’on April 8, 2020 at 10:10 am
Operation Shields Up is tackling the shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and the community through crowdsourcing new, innovative partnerships.
- 3D printing lets hospitals make ventilator substitutes with common equipmenton April 8, 2020 at 9:16 am
Many hospitals around the world currently have an alarming shortage of mechanical ventilators, which they can use to treat COVID-19 patients. Responding to this crisis, Belgian 3D printing company ...
- Can fingerprint authentication on smartphones be fooled with 3D printing? Researchers find outon April 8, 2020 at 6:00 am
Ultrasonic sensors use ultrasonic waves to bounce off a physical object, in this case, a finger, to create a more detailed -- and therefore potentially more secure -- 3D map. The researchers say that ...
- A Cheap 3D Printer Can Trick Smartphone Fingerprint Lockson April 8, 2020 at 6:00 am
Researchers from Cisco Talos have achieved an 80 percent success rate on average defeating fingerprint scanners across a dozen devices. All it took was a 3D printer to crank out imposters, and a ...
- Military 3D-printing face shields, reusable N95 masks to address hospital shortageson April 7, 2020 at 7:00 pm
The U.S. military is 3D-printing face shields, designing reusable plastic N95 masks and sewing surgical masks to increase the supply of critical medical equipment.
- 3D printing, biology research make the journey back to Earth aboard SpaceX's Dragonon April 7, 2020 at 12:53 pm
The BioFabrication Facility (BFF) attempts to take the first steps toward printing human organs and tissues in microgravity using ultra-fine layers of bioink that may be several times smaller than the ...
- Relativity Space’s focus on 3D printing and cloud-based software helps it weather the COVID-19 stormon April 7, 2020 at 11:50 am
But Relativity Space has managed to avoid layoffs – and is even hiring, despite the global pandemic. Relativity CEO and founder Tim Ellis cites the company’s focus on large-scale 3D printing, as well ...
- 3D Printering: When Resin Printing Gets Smellyon April 7, 2020 at 7:24 am
The manufacturers don’t talk much about this part of the resin printing experience, but it’s there nevertheless. So what can be done when smells become a problem? I recently had to deal with this when ...
- Why 3D Printing Stocks Jumped Todayon April 6, 2020 at 1:13 pm
In afternoon trading Monday, shares of 3D printer maker 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) were surging 15.5% as of 3:25 p.m. EDT, while its archrival Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) was up 13.6%. Proto Labs (NYSE: PRLB ...
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