The Rise Of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing

What is additive manufacturing and does it matter?  Additive manufacturing is the process of making objects based on 3D model data by conjoining materials. This is typically accomplished in a layer by layer format rather than what you might see in subtractive manufacturing. Does additive manufacturing matter? You better believe it. Several statistical reports have projected this fast growing industry to be valued at over 20 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. Most 3D printing companies are more than willing to point out that just about every industry can benefit from the technology. This includes everything from aerospace and architecture to medical and digital dentistry. Our goal is that by the time you finish this blog, you will realize how much 3D printing effects the world around us. Don’t just take our word for it, lets examine 5 incredible 3D printed objects.

1. The World’s Largest Solid 3D Printed Object

GUINNESS_WORLD_RECORDS_measurement_of_ORNL-Boeing_trim_tool.jpgPhoto Credit: https://www.ornl.gov/

At the end of August 2016, the talented team at Oakridge National Laboratory crafted the largest 3D printed object in the world, a wing trim-and-drill tool for its Boeing 777x Passenger Jet.  Weighing in at an estimated 1,650 lbs., the the 3D printed object was made for cost cutting measures. The record breaking wing trim tool is 15.5 feet in length, 5.5 feet in width, and 1.5 feet tall. So what does the tool actually do? Glad you asked. It is designed specifically to help “secure the jet’s composite wing skin for drilling and machining before assembly”, as was reported by the Oakridge National Laboratory’s website.


2. The World’s Smallest 3D Printed Cordless Drill


A New Zealand man accomplished something incredibly impressive, he 3D printed the smallest cordless drill in the world. Funny enough, it isn't just a model, it is actually functional. This incredible drill was meticulously made an by by factory maintenance engineer. The construction of the drill is printed from 3 pieces and is roughly 17 x 7.5 x 13mm assembled. 

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3. The Ardumower: A 3D Printed Robotic Lawn Mower

Yes, you understood that heading right, a 3D printed robotic lawn mower. This genius invention comes from the gifted mind of German engineer, Andreas Haeuser. With all of that said, we haven't even told you the most intriguing part of this, its designed as an affordable alternative you can supposedly print and assemble for Roughly $220-$330 U.S. dollars. All that's left to do is sip an ice cold glass of lemonade and let the Ardumower do the work.

4. Body Parts 


Thus far, the 3D printing industry has introduced the world to at least 5 printed body parts. This includes, but may not be limited to, an ear, kidney, blood vessels, skin graphs, and bones. In particular, the world of regnerative medicine is changing the medical world as we know it. Professor Martin Birchall, a surgeon at University College London, has gone as far as to say, "Given the scale of this breakthrough, progress in other fields, the resources available to the researchers at Wake Forest and the imperatives for human health, I think it will be less than a decade before surgeons like me are trialling customised printed organs and tissues. I can't wait!".

5. Cars

The auto industry has been quick to adopt additive manufacturing into their process. Whether printing a car in its entirety or simply printing parts, the appeal of 3D printing is incredibly practical. The inclusion of additive manufacturing in the automotive industry is producing promising results centering upon increased efficiency, lower investment costs, and lighter production tools.  

The Future Is Bright For 3D Printing

Our team at Mixer Direct is thankful and excited to play a role in supplying industrial mixers to the 3D printing industry. We think the future is bright and worth keeping an eye on. The case for 3D printing at home and in the workplace is strong and continuing to grow with each and every new found use and invention. As more industries adopt it, the only thing to observe at the moment: the sky is the limit.