Print it! More on the magic of 3D printing

Last week we talk about the benefits, concepts and development of 3D printing. We learned that:

  • Charles Hull is the inventor of the modern 3D printer
  • The first published account of a printed solid model was made in 1981 by Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute
  • Printer resolution describes layer thickness and X-Y resolution in dpi (dots per inch),or micrometers

Today we will talk more about this topic, we will see one of the cases that are trending in the 3D printing arena.

Industries and big companies are taking advantage of 3D printing. We all know that this is a decades-old technology that has increased in popularity over the past few years as the prices of printing machines and materials have come down. A big, solid company like Ford is using 3D printing to cut costs and production times during the prototyping phase.

The  “rapid manufacturing” process has played a key role in the production of the Explorer and its EcoBoost engine. It uses software to render photos into designs that can “print” physical objects.

Ford uses the technology to create prototype parts like:

  • cylinder heads
  • brake rotors
  • rear axels

Production time for one type is cut down from four to five months to three in some cases, shaving 25% to 40% off production time. Earlier casting methods required that the mold be cut from sand; 3D printing allows Ford to skip the cutting process and pour the metal directly into the molds.

With 3-D’s rapid evolution, including possible home use, Ford aficionados can dream of one day custom-making their own creative part  in their garage or home office. Ford believes that in the future customers will be able to print replacement parts for their vehicles at a local 3D printer in a matter of hours or even minutes.

How cool will be to be able to print your own car parts? Would you do it?

2 replies
  1. Rick Redman
    Rick Redman says:

    I really enjoyed this article on 3D printing I was a film projectionist for 29 yrs. then became a Digital Tech for 3 yrs. I’ve always been fascinated with creating something in 3D with CAD then actually physically creating it as an actual product using 3D printing machines.

    • dlenti
      dlenti says:

      I’m so glad you enjoy the article. It is a very interesting subject and there are many, many more areas that I haven’t been able to cover here but 3D printing is been used for so many amazing things in the medical realm.
      Thanks for your comment!

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