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3-D printing (also referred to as additive layer manufacturing) is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3-D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes.
"3D printing quality has increased, and printer and supply costs have decreased to a level that broadens the appeal of 3D printing to a wider range of businesses, schools and consumers. Additive 3D printers deposit resin, plastic or another material, layer by layer, to build up a physical model. Inkjet 3D printers image successive layers of plastic powder, hardening each layer on contact, to build up the piece. The size of the part varies with the specific manufacturer's printer and whether support structures are required."
3-D printing has the capacity to revolutionize manufacturing and research and development capabilities for inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, academic researchers, and major global businesses. Much as the personal computer democratized computing power, 3-D printing has the opportunity to enable greater market participation and innovation by reducing traditional barriers such as production, labor, and shipping costs. Whether it is the hobbyist in the garage coming up with a prototype for a new gadget to make our lives easier or the scientist producing life-saving medical devices, 3-D printing brings with it a new set of opportunities for rapid and efficient trade, innovation, and creativity.
Legal issues Edit
- 3D printing would cause holders of IP rights to lose at least USD 100 billion in revenue in 2018.
- -- Gartner
Just as 3-D printing offers the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to our society, there also exists the opportunity for individuals who look to exploit others' hard work to abuse this technology by trading in counterfeit and pirated goods, of which governments must be cognizant and diligent in their efforts to prevent.
See also Edit
External resources Edit
- "How 3D Printers Work" (full-text).
- Is 3-D Printing a Game Changer? (video)
- "3D Printing: The Printed World,” The Economist (Feb. 10, 2011) (full-text).
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