Cars and planes: 3D printing takes off in the technological field

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Development model for 3D printing. Graphic created by Jake Roberts. Image by Tim Sandle.

Three-dimensional (3D) printing is an additive manufacturing process that creates a physical object from a digital design. According to 3D printing experts Hubs.com, the technology industry benefits greatly from 3D printing.

In cars, aerospace and healthcare, developments in these three key areas for the advancement of 3D printing are considered.

Cars

The automotive industry is ahead of the game in applying 3D printing to automotive manufacturing. Here, additive manufacturing changes the manufacturing process, especially when it comes to niche designs.

3D printing is currently used to create low cost parts and prototypes. However, some analysts expect 3D printed cars to hit city streets soon.

In 2015, Kevin Czinger, former director of Divergent Microfactories, launched Blade, the world’s first 3D printed supercar. Since then, the automotive expert has been busy creating the Czinger 21C, which was unveiled at the Festival of Speed ​​earlier this year. Developed with patented technology, using AI and 3D printing to create the model, all parts used in this car are stronger, lighter and cheaper than any of its predecessors.

Aerospace

When it comes to aerospace, interest in 3D printed airplanes and rockets is growing as the technology is currently being used to build complex parts in the aerospace, military, and space sectors.

The aerospace industry is set to experience growth in the coming years as aerospace manufacturer Boeing took the first step into the defense sector in 2021, flight testing a 3D-printed flight-critical component on a Chinook helicopter to the very first time.

Airborne wind energy company, Ampyx Power, is also leading the way for change. Using autonomous aircraft and sophisticated software instead of wind turbines to generate renewable electricity, 3D printing technology has proven to be a huge success for manufacturing parts for prototypes.

There is also notable interest in 3D printed drones. Last month (June 2022), it was announced that Essentium HSE 3D printing technology is now being used to support the development of US-made, 3D-printed firefighting drones to help fight the forest fires.

Health care

3D printed health technology is making advances that could change the future. It is currently used for the development of new surgical cutting and drilling guides, prostheses as well as for the creation of specific replicas of bones, organs and blood vessels. These recent advances have led to lighter, stronger and safer products, shorter delivery times and lower costs.

In June 2022, American doctors successfully transplanted the world’s first 3D-printed ear implant using the patient’s own cells. The “Bio-Printed Living Tissue Implant” has been printed in a shape that matches the patient’s other ear and will continue to regenerate the cartilage tissue to make it look and feel like a real body part.

3D printing is also opening up new opportunities in the dental industry, with the development of 3D printed prostheses currently underway. With faster turnaround times and more precise fitting, searches for 3D printed prostheses are growing rapidly, averaging 1,200.

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