Did You Know? The US Department of Energy predicts that the use of 3-D manufac turing techniques have the potential to reduce waste and the cost of materials by 90 percent.
There are some drawbacks to 3-D printing when you compare it to traditional manufacturing. They include the following: • Slower process: The 3-D printing process is generally much slower than traditional manufacturing if one is mass-producing products. • Challenges with some metal alloys: 3-D metal printing is becoming very popular, but some metal alloys that are used in traditional manufacturing cannot be used with great quantity or consistency due to their high melting points. • Large-scale production challenges: It is much harder to make large-scale parts and products using 3-D printing methods than it is in traditional manufacturing because of the small size of most 3-D printers. Even industrial-sized 3-D printers still are not as effective as traditional manufacturing processes are in making large products. • Cost: For mass-produced products, it is still more costly to use 3-D printing than it is to use traditional manufacturing techniques. • Appearance: 3-D–printed objects generally do not look as attractive as objects created via traditional manufacturing due to the layer lines that appear on finished products. That does not matter for certain objects that are used for parts or components of machinery, but it makes a difference for decorative items. There are ways to finish 3-D–printed parts to make these layers invisible, but that takes extra time, labor, and money.
Cool Careers in Science: 3-d printing specialists i i : -D PRINTING SPECIALISTS
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