Additive manufacturing is being used in many engineering industries, and there are still improvements being made in the way 3D printers do what they do. The University of Oklahoma has a lab where the latest in 3D printing technology is being used. Bizzell Memorial Library Innovation @ the Edge is the pride and joy of the budding engineers who would come and print their projects on the 3D printers. It is not uncommon for universities to have 3D printers on hand for engineers to test out.
"In places like car factories, they already use it to make models. In the future, it will come more into homes. If you have an idea for what want, you don't have to wait for someone to go and make it. It's getting to a level where everyone can use it," said Joris Juru, a junior computer engineering major. Juru wants to make 3D printing faster and points out that printer software is becoming more industry specific.
For example, an industry-specific 3D printing technology has been used at Airbus. They have just successfully printed a drone at an aerospace expo in Berlin. Donning the name "Thor", Airbus's drone is 4 metres long and has a 4-meter wingspan and weighs 55lbs.
One of the more interesting advancements in the 3D printing world comes out of Cornell University. They have been working with faster printing systems and have noticed that they could alter 3D prints whilst they were printing. They started to experiment with "edits" during the printing process and found that they were successful with a Wireprint 3D printer. The printer they used is different from a conventional printer but the research could prove useful even to the current 3D printers.
"On the fly print allows the user to check the design in a real usage context and to continue to design and print afterwards," the researchers said in their video. First prints are sometimes failed prints, therefore, this new method by Cornell University could refine the first print processes of a project.
The printer can begin on a project whilst the designer continues to design the rest of the project on the software. The researchers said: "[The on the fly printing] opens new opportunities for rapid prototyping and has great potential to improve the overall quality of the design process."