3D printing is without doubt, revolutionising the way things are made.
If you’re in the medical industry, you’d know that 3D printing is printing prosthetics, organs and bio-compatible surgical tools for operations.
If you’re in the aerospace industry, you’d know that NASA’s Human-Supporting Rover uses 3D printed parts.
If you’re in the manufacturing industry, you’d know that 3D printing is changing the manufacturing landscape across the board in the way things are produced, how they are consumed and how they – and we – are connected.
3D printers have been around for over three decades, but only now are they presenting world-changing digital manufacturing capabilities.
The 3D printing evolution
The science and technology behind 3D printing has evolved from being used primarily for prototyping and in pre-production mould making processes, to now manufacturing end-use parts.
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) Technology builds plastic parts layer by layer, using data from computer-aided design (CAD) files. This system is able to create substantial savings in cost, labour and time which ultimately speeds up new product development, design, manufacture and deployment.
Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) refers to 3D printing used to manufacture end-use parts. With the manufacturing industry relying heavily on highly customised tools, this type of 3D printing is an extremely cost-effective and simpler alternative to paying and waiting for machining or tooling.
As a result, DDM speeds up the production cycle and time to market and pushes design boundaries by enabling mass customisation of parts. Regardless of the exact type of 3D printing being used across applications, incorporating technologies that reduce production lead time and production costs can result in greater productivity and ergonomics for businesses while bringing better products to market faster.
Autodesk – in the 3D printing know-how
The future of manufacturing is anybody’s guess, but increased connectivity between people and machines and refinements in 3D printing are often cited as examples of where another industrial revolution might come from.
Autodesk proudly announced an initiative to help develop the additive manufacturing ecosystem: the $100 million Spark Investment Fund, backing innovators in hardware, software and marketing.
While 3D printing represents the new wave of manufacturing, knowing how to get the most out of your 3D printing technology is a whole other playing field. This is the intent of Autodesk – to encourage as many companies as possible to take their first steps into the field, and educate them on how to contribute to the 3D printing ecosystem.
Autodesk provides an extensive range of comprehensive data management software, tools for product development and CAD design, drafting, modelling, drawing and engineering software for automotive, building products, equipment and fabrication, consumer products and industrial equipment applications.