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Ward's World+MGH 3D Printing

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1 3D Printing Article by: William A. Gruver, School of Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Access to this content is available to Ward's World readers for free from McGraw Hill's AccessScience, an award-winning, digital STEM resource that provides immediate, authoritative answers to students' thirst for scientific knowledge on topics such as climate change, virology, pollution, and more. Ward's World and McGraw Hill have partnered to offer educators a no-obligation, free trial subscription to this product. Request your free trial today and discover how valuable AccessScience can be for you and your students. A process of making physical objects directly from digital models, usually layer-by-layer; also known as additive manufacturing. 3D printing has been hailed as a technol- ogy that will revolutionize many sectors of industry, medicine, art, and other fields. As information technology significantly enhances freedom in the digital world, 3D printing is bringing this freedom to the physical world by blurring the boundary between information and physical products (Fig. 1). Advantages Throughout human history, manufacturing technology has often symbolized the level of civilization, from primitive cut- ting with stones to sophisticated computer numerical control (CNC) machining. 3D printing brings changes to manufacturing in two major ways. One way is design freedom. In traditional manufacturing, because of significant limitations in manufac- turing capabilities, product designers usually put more thought into how to make the product than into what the product does. For example, a hollow ball would be impossible to make by machining because of geometric constraints of the cutting tools, so the product designer would have to modify the design to make it manufacturable. 3D printing, however, can produce + ward ' s science Key Concepts • 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process by which physical objects are produced from models, usually by depositing materials layer-by-layer. • Advantages of 3D printing include almost unlimited design freedom, the ability to print parts using multiple materials or functionally graded materials, and digitization of manufacturing. • Widely adopted applications of 3D printing include scaled models, prototypes, artwork, jewelry, medical devices, foods, and medical research. • The basic steps in 3D printing include CAD modeling, slicing, printing, and postprocessing. • In general, 3D printers consist of a software system, an electronic system, a motion system, and a printhead system. • The 3D printing industry consists of six major parties: machine suppliers, content providers, software providers, the marketplace, customers, and the open-source community. Fig. 1: Profile view into a 3D printer, which is executing a layer-by-layer deposition process to print a three-dimensional object (Credit: iStock.)

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