3D printing: A comprehensive guide for business leaders
- Originally Published:
- May 2019
3D printing is revolutionizing the way products are designed and produced, and its impact has spanned manufacturing, medicine, and entrepreneurship. This ebook offers an in-depth look at how it works, how it’s being used, and how it may affect your business.
From the ebook:
3D printing transforms spools of plastic filament or trays of resin into physical objects. 3D printing is quite literally out of this world. NASA maintains a 3D printer on the International Space Station and astronauts can build custom tools (like this maintenance wrench) without having to fly them into space.
3D printing has been adopted by students, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, and massive factories. Because 3D printing allows for the transformation of a digital design into a tangible object, a wide array of uses have been found.
Physicians can print physical models of portions of patient anatomy to better visualize procedures and demonstrate practice. Engineers in factories can create custom jigs and fixtures that both save time and reduce injury during the manufacturing process. Communities foster makerspaces that teach STEM skills and aid in the startup of new businesses, thereby creating new jobs and local opportunities.
3D printing is mostly used for the creation of plastic objects, but it can also generate metal objects—although that’s a much more costly and far less common process than plastic 3D printing.
What is 3D printing? 3D printing is the process of creating a physical object from a digital model. It’s an additive process. Layers of plastic are built up one after the other to create an object.
How does 3D printing impact the economy? 3D printing is a component of the maker movement, which has benefits to communities, education, entrepreneurship, and traditional enterprises. It helps foster the creation of new products and new companies and teaches skills transferable into a wide variety of technical and professional jobs.
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