Jane Bright’s Exploration 1
- What are the current and emerging 3D printing applications in the manufacturing field?
One fascinating application comes from the process of metal 3D printing. Audi, the German automobile company, has started working with metal 3D printing and have been involved in a project to create a rover that they hope will go to the moon called the Audi Lunar Quattro moon rover. Audi has teamed up with a group of scientists to design and 3D print the rover as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE. 3D printing helps them to work with aluminum and titanium to create a lightweight and extremely precise craft that could survive on the surface of the moon.
- What are the advantages and limitations of 3D printing technology?
One of the advantages of 3D printing is the ability for engineers to make quick prototypes and small-scale replicas of objects to help in bettering the design of the final product. It also allows for easily customizable objects that can be made with any desired specifications with very little effort. Some of the disadvantages of 3D printing include limits in the size of things that can be printing, which puts constraints on what the printers can create. Another limitation of 3D printing is the constraints on what materials the printers can work with, which comes nowhere near the number of materials used in regular manufacturing.
- What are the larger implications of 3D printing with regard to manufacturing and the economy?
One of the largest effects that 3D printing can have on manufacturing and the economy is removing the need to ship parts across the world, because we can have the ability to print things on site, which can impact how businesses interact on a global level and make things more easily and efficiently accessible. 3D printing can also create more jobs by creating a need for designers, engineers, and technicians for 3D printers.