In recent years, the 3D printing technology has been on fire, and the whole society has been discussing it. Many colleges and universities have used Dongfeng to set up related majors. Many local governments have introduced very generous financial subsidies, land supply, loan discounts, water and electricity prices, etc. policy.
In addition, many private capitals are also ready to buy tickets as soon as possible, for fear of missing this train, in order to get a share of the pie. The beautiful blueprint had just been drawn, and suddenly a spirit came over, and the dream was awakened. The craze of 3D printing has gradually cooled down, and its exposure in various media is very small. This inevitably makes everyone re-examine it. What’s wrong with it?
1. What is 3D printing?
3D printing technology sprouted at the end of the last century and developed at the beginning of this century. It is a technology that builds objects based on digital model files and uses bondable materials such as powdered metal or plastic to print layer by layer.
The basic principle is this: use 3D modeling software to generate STL or STP model files (they are the standard triangle language of 3D printers). The 3D molding machine reads and parses the received STL file to construct a networked 3D model composed of a series of triangles, and then outputs instructions, prints, and makes a physical model. Some people call this technology “additive manufacturing” “.
2. The popularity and importance of 3D printing technology is not without reason.
1. Compared with traditional manufacturing methods, it brings a revolutionary change in the concept of production and processing. It can not only shorten the processing and manufacturing cycle, but also greatly reduce the production cost, especially breaking through the traditional processing and manufacturing method’s restrictions on the processing of complex shapes, allowing humans to achieve freedom in the processing field.
In fact, the invention of 3D printing technology is the result of Charles W. Hull in order to shorten the long time required to create product prototypes.
2. Extensive use in special fields is a distinctive feature of 3D printing technology. In the medical field, especially in bone reconstruction, 3D printing technology is particularly used. If a patient had pelvic necrosis, the Ninth People’s Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University 3D printed a pelvis with artificial bone material and successfully transplanted it into the patient’s body. Finally, the patient successfully recovered.
3. High printing accuracy. Because the finished product of 3D printing is very plastic, it can be implemented from two-dimensional to three-dimensional, and because its generation principle belongs to layer-by-layer printing, that is, the printing process of completing one layer and then entering the next layer, according to the processing accuracy and characteristics of the printer, It can be accurate to 600dpi, and each layer has an error of only 0.01, which is quite high.
4. Personalized customization is its great advantage. Traditional industrial manufacturing is produced in large quantities, which can ensure that the cost of the product is sufficiently low; otherwise, the common people cannot afford it, and the products cannot be sold, and there will be no market. But the emergence of 3D printing technology has made personalized customization possible.
On the one hand, modeling and printing technology make it possible to have a lower cost. On the other hand, the cost is proportional to the size and volume of the customized parts. This means that the cost of things with the same volume and the same material is not much different.
From the perspective of mass production, the cost of modeling is nothing more than the cost of modeling, which makes mass production and the cost of single-piece production not relevant.
5. It is an important part of the “Made in China 2025” plan. In order to build an internationally competitive manufacturing industry, enhance my country’s comprehensive national strength, ensure national security, and build a world power, the Chinese government has launched the first ten-year action plan for the implementation of the manufacturing power strategy, namely the “Made in China 2025” plan. Intelligent manufacturing is the main focus, covering various industries such as robots and logistics networks based on modern information technology and Internet technology.
Among them, 3D printing is the top priority of the plan. It appears 6 times in the full text of the plan. It runs through important paragraphs such as background introduction, improvement of national manufacturing innovation capabilities, deep integration of informatization and industrialization, and breakthrough development in key areas. To promote the main line of intelligent manufacturing, it reflects my country’s emphasis on 3D printing, and demonstrates my country’s deep understanding of the situation and environment facing the development of manufacturing at the strategic level.
3. Although “3D printing” has incomparable advantages over traditional manufacturing methods, some of its defects actually restrict its development.
1. Higher cost. High-precision 3D printers are relatively large and expensive. The technology patents are basically in the hands of foreign companies. It takes a lot of money to purchase and obtain technology licenses. From the perspective of 3D printing applications, it is mainly used in aerospace, human organ medical, antique accessories and other industries, all of which belong to high-end manufacturing. Usually, traditional processing and manufacturing cannot complete the task. Moreover, they themselves are highly specialized, high-cost, and high-value-added industries with high processing thresholds, and only very powerful companies can get involved.
2. Material barriers are the key. After decades of development, my country’s 3D printing technology has gradually matured, and its practical application has achieved remarkable results. However, the core technology and core components are still subject to others, especially the key printing material technology is still relatively lacking, and the situation of basically relying on imports has not been effective. The change will have a fatal impact on the sustainable development of the 3D printing industry. Because for any kind of manufacturing technology, materials are the top priority and the foundation in the foundation. If a breakthrough cannot be made in the research on the material side, the subsequent technological development will also be difficult to achieve.
3. The product level is low. With the exception of a few large state-owned enterprises, smaller private companies are participating in and developing 3D technology. In order for companies to survive, they often don’t invest much and their ability to withstand risks is not enough, especially for R&D funding. As a result, they often use open source code to complete their work. The REPRAP open source project was initiated by Adrian Bowyer and others at the University of Bath in the UK. The main purpose is to independently design and produce a 3D printer for all ordinary users. After years of development, three versions have been developed. It can be said that they are standardized, quick to get started, and low cost. Even an ordinary person can save one by themselves according to the instructions. This has led to fierce competition for simple desktop-level 3D printing equipment kits, and the product level is not high. But the future of this industry lies in the industrial market.
In particular, the lack of investment in frontier fields and the lack of core technologies are very serious. For example, in terms of nanometer 3D printing technology, my country’s R&D strength is not enough, and there is not much basic research to create future superior technologies.
If 3D technology is applied to the construction industry, work efficiency can of course be greatly improved. However, difficulties were encountered in quality inspection and project acceptance, because at present our country has no corresponding technical standards to complete the acceptance, and can only adopt the standards of the traditional construction industry. However, it is obviously impossible to complete this work with traditional standards, because 3D printed buildings are printed with fiber materials, and there may not be steel bars at all, but the current national standards will never allow this to happen.
In fact, the strength of fiber material is 3 to 5 times the strength of reinforced concrete, but it will be assessed as an unqualified building by the old standard, which is obviously unreasonable. Focus on breakthroughs in the research and development of high-performance materials, improve the quality of special materials for additive manufacturing, conduct research on the characteristics of special materials for additive manufacturing, and encourage superior material manufacturers to engage in special materials for additive manufacturing and the transformation of research results. This is the current top priority.
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