I found out recently about some new advances in 3D printing. Even though it has been around for a couple of decades now, 3D printing has mainly been in the realms of hobbyists as well as designers of product prototypes rather than in actual development.
Metal Printing is Now
In the past, 3D printing with anything other than plastics has been very costly and time-consuming. Now there is a way to print metal on a 3D scale and the technology is here and available to use. This will revolutionize the way we produce parts and it will surely change the market, I understand.
This will influence mass production in such a way that we can cheaply produce parts just by printing them and this will save both time and money for manufacturers. It will no longer be necessary to maintain large inventories because parts can just be printed.
Replacement Parts Made Easy
When I thought about it, I had to see if this sort of technological advancement would make it easier for replacement parts to be made for cars and other machinery. As it turns out, that is exactly what these 3D metal printers do. They make parts perfectly with each repetition being the same as the previous.
This means that, when parts are needed, they will not have to be ordered. This will actually reduce overhead costs for many companies and make repairs of vehicles and other machines much more affordable for everyone involved.
Lighter and Stronger
I found out that this technology is able to create stronger parts that are lighter in weight and the printers can even handle printing complex objects that would normally tack conventional metal fabricators a long time to produce.
3D metal printers will allow for better control of the precision of metal micro structures as well. Just in 2017, the researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory created a 3D printing technique and method that produces stainless steel parts that are actually twice as strong as those traditionally made.
Here and Now
I had to wonder if this is something that will be affordable for manufacturers to adopt and, it turns out that it is. Just in 2017, one of the 3D printing companies, Markforged, made and released the very first 3D metal printer and it sells for under $100,000.
While this price may seem steep, when you consider what it is capable of, it is they type of futuristic technology that will be capable of paying for itself. The cost is actually much lower than many types of complex metal part development and manufacture.
Development and Sales
I found out that Markforged and other companies are developing larger and better 3D metal printers. They are also developing smaller ones for more detailed and tiny pieces to be created. Sales are already starting out large with many manufacturers buying everything they can that is already developed.
We will see the development and sales of these 3D printers boom over the next year and then some into the future.