What is the importance of 3D printing

3D printer

1. Generally: 3D printers allow objects of all kinds to be "printed out". Typical starting materials are plastic, metal and plaster of paris, as powder, granulate and in one piece (for example in the form of a plastic cable or metal foil) or in liquid form. It is applied layer by layer and dried, glued or melted. The construction of the objects takes a certain amount of time, in extreme cases up to several hours or days. 3D printers are available in the mass market in all price ranges. On the one hand, they enable the private production of objects of all kinds, and on the other - this is relevant for companies that operate cyber-physical systems, among others - the just-in-time production of individual tools and device parts or mass production on site.

2. Creation of the templates: Appropriate templates are required to be able to print items in high quality. First, laypeople and experts design objects alone and especially together. They are crowdsourcers and crowdsourcees and do not necessarily have commercial interests. Secondly, objects are captured optically, via professional 3D scanners as well as via the webcam or mobile phone camera with the appropriate software; It is easy, even for laypeople, to prepare the scans for 3D printing, and utility programs are available to make their work easier. Thirdly, files are circulating on the Internet or are available for free or for a fee in mobile stores. The piracy based on digitization is expanding to the objective world.

3. Consequences and business models: According to experts, 3D printers will cause a new industrial and counter-industrial revolution, as a combination of the previous upheavals and the application of IT and media literacy and design and artistic skills. In Industry 4.0, 3D printers contribute to individualization. With a view to the end consumer market, a special industry is expected to develop the mechanical, electrical or electronic inner workings for the objects that the users print out. With a few clicks of the mouse, they can order the desired shape and integrate the parts. High-quality connections and extensions will also be available on the market so that complex objects can be assembled. Earnings are made through the templates and consumables as well as through services: In households there are more small, in stores more large or special printers. The safety and harmlessness of the materials and pieces used will be important for long-term success with the end customer.