3D printing and its effect on global economy 3D printing is the process of creating three dimensional(3D) objects from digital files. It is also sometimes referred to as additivemanufacturing. Basically, objects are modeled on a 3D modeling software such asMaya, 3ds Max etc., and then, a material is joined layer by layer in anadditive manner and solidified to form the 3D model.
3D printing can be traced back to the 1980s, specifically1986. It was then called rapid prototyping because it was considered a fast andcost-effective way of creating prototype models for developing products inindustries. The first commercially available 3D printer was released in2009, and in 2012 alternative 3D printing processes were introduced into themarket.
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Effects on the economy3D printing is unique in the sense that it reducescomplexity. Parts and components,assembly steps, and costs can all be significantly reduced. 3D printing has the potential to create new jobs andindustries both in the developed and developing worlds. However, the economicbenefits of both worlds may vary because they have different economic needs.
This effect can already be seen in the 3D modeling industrywhere more people are going to 3D object modeling to cater for the demand ofthese skills. 35% of engineering jobs demand some form of skills in 3Dprinting which rely heavily on 3D designers.it comes therefore as no surprise that 3D design jobs havebeen accelerating rapidly over the years. 3D printing will not be possible without CAD experts, whichis why the rise CAD designer demand is directly proportional to the rise in the3D printing industry. The benefits to the developing worlds are double-faced, inthat, on the positive side manufacturing cost through recycled and other localmaterials may be lowered drastically, however, the loss of manufacturing jobsmay hit the affected parts of the world hard and may take time to recover. The cost-effectiveness of 3D printing is also anothereconomy booster.
The more easily it is to acquire say a new cell phone cover,the easier it is for more people to purchase and that means more market for themanufacturer and ultimately a boost in the economy.An example of cost-effectiveness in a manufacturing sensewould be a situation where some amount of say aluminum is needed to build thepart of an engine.Usually, about 70% of the required amount of material isreally used. The surplus is melted and stored for later reuse. 3D printing with its additive manufacturing processes makesit possible to use the precise amount of required materials for an operationand helps avoid the additional cost involved in melting surplus materials inour aluminum example.
This saves the manufacturing company money which may beincorporated into the production.A practical example would be Boeing, the airplanemanufacturing company. According to Boeing, the introduction of 3D printinginto their manufacturing pipeline will save the company about $3 million onevery Jet they produce. The Ford MotorCompany says it now uses 3D printing to produce and assemble prototypes. Whichare faster to produce and usually ready for testing in a few weeks and costs afew thousand dollars instead of hundreds of thousands.