Jan Schroers, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale University and Desktop Metal, Inc., in Burlington, Massachusetts, USA, along with colleagues point out that 3D printing of thermoplastics is highly advanced, but the 3D printing of metals is still challenging and limited. The reason being that metals generally don’t exist in a state that they can be readily extruded.
“We have shown theoretically in this work that we can use a range of other bulk metallic glasses and are working on making the process more practical- and commercially-usable to make 3D printing of metals as easy and practical as the 3D printing of thermoplastics,” said Prof. Schroers.
Unlike conventional metals, bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) have a super-cooled liquid region in their thermodynamic profile and are able to undergo continuous softening upon heating – a phenomenon that is present in thermoplastics, but not conventional metals. Prof. Schroers and colleagues have thus shown that BMGs can be used in 3D printing to generate solid, high-strength metal components under ambient conditions of the kind used in thermoplastic 3D printing.
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Medical 3D printing and bioprinting
3D printing users have become so much more skillful with 3D printing over the past year that businesses need to experiment more with new 3D printing applications in order to stand out from the sea of experts. Medical 3D printing and bioprinting are two new forms of 3D printing. We wrote extensively on medical 3D printing on our blogs such as with topics on 3D printed kidneys and 3D printed hearts. Bioprinting is the process of 3D printing cells or other biomaterials that could be the future of finding new cures for diseases. Such a big development happened with the creation of a new bioprinter, which we wrote about here. Businesses such as 3D printing labs or businesses related to the medical field will find that they will be ahead of the game once they are better informed on these topics. 3D printing is cheaper than surgery and if we print from the recipients own tissue, there is no rejection!
3D printing for mass manufacturing
Will 3D Printing replace the assembly line? Maybe. In a survey people found that the basics such as accelerating product development (39%) and production flexibility (19%) are one of the top priorities but more interestingly, being able to offer customized products and limited series was a very important factor as well with 25% saying so compared to only 16% last year.
In the future, the top priority will be even more emphasized offering customized products and limited series with 26% expecting so. With more people and businesses owning 3D printers, having more experts in this field and with many new ways of being able to apply 3D printing, being able to offer a special product to your customer is key. 3D printing offers the ability to offer mass manufactured products without the major costs that come along with traditional manufacturing methods.