01 June, 2020
7 Min Read
Paper-GS III – S&T
Three-dimensional printing (3-D printing), also known as Additive manufacturing (AM) is a process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer. It is basically a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.
This is opposite of ‘Subtractive Manufacturing’ which works on removal of material to create a desired object. It is similar to a man who cuts a stone to create a sculpture. The ?rst working 3-D printer was created in 1984 by Charles W. Hull of 3-D Systems Corp. The machine was named Sterolithgraphy Apparatus.
Process of 3D Printing:
Applications of 3D Printing:
1.Defence and Aerospace: At present, AM technology in the aerospace and defence sector is broadly used for prototyping, repair of small parts and component manufacturing. Examples: The UK Royal Air Force and Navy use AM for repairing spare parts.
3.Manufacturing: 3D printing can be used to manufacture varied forms of products- from car or plane parts to sport goods, toys etc. Customised products are able to be manufactured as customers can edit the digital design file and send to the manufacturer for productions.
4.Domestic Usage: 3D printers can be used in the home to make small objects such as ornamental objects, small toys etc.
5.Architecture, housing: The technology can be used for a variety of housing projects with application in custom luxury designer homes, large scale development projects, to temporary housing projects. It could also enable engineers to design and build stiffer and safer geometries for houses. Further, can also help engineers to rebuild and restore old heritage designs quickly yet accurately.
6.Food: 3D printing enables fast automated and repeatable processes, freedom in design, as well as allowing large and easy variability of the cooking process which can be customized.
7.Education: Affordable 3D printers in schools may be used for a variety of applications which can aid students with learning better.
Advantages of 3D printing:
Disadvantages of 3D Printing:
Justice in access to health care: One major concern about the development of personalised medicine is that it might increase cost of treatment and widen the disparity between rich and poor in terms of access to healthcare
Testing for safety and efficacy: second concern is how it is to tested that the treatment is safe and effective before it is offered as a clinical treatment
3D Printing in India
Opportunities for India:
Challenges for India:
International best practice:
China had launched the first national plan for 3-D printing, called “Additive Manufacturing Industry Promotion Plan 2015–2016”. Later, a new additive manufacturing Action Plan (2017-2020) for the further development of the technology in the country was launched. The Plan focuses on strengthening research and development, as well as accelerating applications of 3D printing and its adoption in industry.
It is important to create an environment that is conducive for industry to form collaborations with foreign firms to co-create the technology. Training and skilling is another important aspect which requires considerable attention. There is huge scope under the ‘Skill India’ initiative to reach out to the many technical institutes in the country to sensitise them regarding the opportunities in 3D printing.
There is a need for strong support from the government and business houses for AM-related studies and R&D for the growth of the technology in India. Research in India with regard to AM technology needs to be significantly scaled up if it is to emerge as a competitive player in this field.
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