At one point in time, we all thought that “in the future, technology would evolve to an extent where everything would be accessible with just a single click.” That future is now, and we’re seeing tech like that evolve already. With a thirst for new developments and modernization in every industry, the tech industry is moving with a pace that’s almost unparalleled, and quite fast to say the least!
3D printing is one such technology that has been around for a while, continuously evolving and creating impact in different industries. Initially conceptualized for supply and demand of the mechanical industry, it soon revolutionized the entire dynamics of IT as well. It’s given rise to various new possibilities with a vast scope of expansion. 3D printing has the potential to take over the entire traditional functioning of hardware /object production. But first let’s understand what it really is.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing, also called additive manufacturing is a process that creates three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. It is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing, which hollows a piece of metal or plastic with a milling machine. 3D printing enables you to produce complex shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.
The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. This means that an object is created by laying down successive layers of materials, and each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
Examples of 3D printing
3D printing finds applications in almost every other industry today, since it’s a much more practical approach as compared to traditional manufacturing. A few areas where it is used widely are as follows:
● Dental products
● Architectural scale models & maquettes
● Movie props
● Décor (Lamps, furniture etc.)
● Fossil reconstruction in paleontology
● Artifacts replication in archaeology
● Forensic pathology that reconstructs bones and body parts
● Clothing and textiles
● Space vehicles and aviation vehicles spare parts
● Food and beverages
With these examples, it is made evidently clear that 3D printing can create almost any object, right from tools, hardware, food, clothing, and also be applied in biological research and enhancements.
Why use 3D Printers?
3D printers find great usage in rapid prototyping, which is optimum in terms of both, cost and time. The process from generating an idea to creating a model prototype only takes a few days, not weeks or months. Iterations can be made easily, without expensive tools or molds.
Besides rapid prototyping, 3D printing is also used for rapid manufacturing. Rapid manufacturing is a new method where 3D printers are used for short-run / small batch custom manufacturing.
The future of 3D Printing: How Artificial Intelligence is useful in printing irregular shapes?
As with most other domains of technology, it’s no surprise that artificial intelligence has made its way here too. 3D printing supported by smart artificial intelligence is the new normal, and has great advantages. It is this combination that also enables developers to 3D print irregular shapes, which if you ask us, has been a pretty great breakthrough!
For starters, packing optimization of objects supported by AI in printer volumes can significantly contribute to greater efficiency in terms of time, output and cost reduction. The effectual 3D Printing can be done by optimizing and stabilizing the packing of irregularly shaped objects in printing space. The print space and volume is also limited depending on the printer model. But with the help of AI, we can make use of all the available space to print a maximum number of items in one go, rather than repeating the process over and over.
The usual inputs for objects include well-defined shapes like a square, cube, triangle, and spheres. But not all objects are symmetrical, and those with an asymmetrical edge are called as irregularly shaped objects. Irregularly shaped objects are space-consuming items for printing input, and need to be printed individually to avoid a collision or inter-mixed printed output. We definitely don’t want two objects fused each other; separating them out is a nightmare!
This can be done by rearranging all the irregular items in such a way that most objects/items are printed in one go. But the most time consuming is trying out various arrangements of each individual object in the bunch repeatedly with all other objects. Using artificial intelligence techniques, a computer can create multiple different possible placements for the object for an optimum final output. This topic is part of combinatorial optimization and it’s extremely useful in the long run.
Similarly, while packing objects, visual representation is not the only aspect to be considered. Object fragility, mass, and multiple other aspects need to be taken into consideration as well. If one is manually orienting hundreds of objects with all these considerations, it takes a lot of time. Unless you’re a software development superhero. Then things are different. I’m kidding, of course, but if anyone has attempted this successfully, please let us know, we’d love to have a chat with you!
nCircle Tech (inCorporated in 2012) empowers passionate innovators to create impactful 3D visualization software for desktop, mobile and cloud. Our domain expertise in CAD-BIM customization driving automation with the ability to integrate advanced technologies like AI/ML and VR/AR; empowers our clients to reduce time to market and meet business goals. nCircle has a proven track record of technology consulting and advisory services for the AEC and Manufacturing industry across the globe. Our team of dedicated engineers, partner ecosystem and industry veterans are on a mission to redefine how you design and visualize.
Over the last 7+ years, the organisation has worked on more than 150 large and complex projects for 50+ customers across 15+ countries