As 3D printing (since late 1980's) moved from being theoretical to a reality, and in recent years 3D printers have become cheaper to produce. So, now we have several models available for sale, including designs for products.
Scientist predicts 3D printers will be common in homes in near future. There are many news and feature articles covering the science and technology behind 3D printers, from how they work to the history, progress, and future of the technology and what kinds of things can be made.
3D printing's uses range from practical objects that we use every day to commercial products and parts used in manufacturing, plus the technology holds promise for bioprinting of human parts for medical purposes.
Today's industrial 3D printing isn't being adopted at a very large scale just yet because of several significant drawbacks. However, thanks to researchers from the German Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) institute, which has come up with a revolutionary ceramic powder 3D printing technique, these problems can be entirely overcome.
German construction, engineering, and other industries regularly rely on BAM's research and validation procedures, and they are one of the institutes behind the German reputation for high engineering standards.
Through this focus, BAM is no stranger to 3D printing, though they have surpassed themselves with this latest project. Using a custom 3D powder printing technique, they can now 3D print ceramic structures with a higher stability. Pores and edges are non-existent, reducing a likelihood of fractures and increasing the density of the parts. At the same time, the method is fast, simple, cheap and doesn't use hazardous materials, which is perfect for a very wide range of manufacturing industries.
This printing technique makes ceramic 3D printing far more viable for industrial users. For ceramic production, in particular, suffers from the high temperatures that are necessary to blend the material into the uniform component, while (unlike resins, polymers, and metals) they can't be cross-linked.
Professor Dr. Jens Günster, who headed ceramic 3D printing efforts at BAM, has now overcome these limitations by relying on so-called pre-ceramic polymers, which are converted into ceramics during 3D printing. Unlike regular ceramics, these can be cross-linked, plastically deformed, melted or dissolved with a variety of solvents. Ceramic 3D printing, in short, has become more potent than ever.
This technology breakthrough could obviously provide a huge boost to ceramic and powder-based industrial 3D printing efforts. More will doubtlessly follow.