What’s the state of engineering in 3D printing?

Simply put, 3D printing is poised to radically change the world you live in. While the technology has been around since the 80s, only in the last few years, with technology advances and dropping prices, has it caught the attention of most people. Today, 3D printing is rapidly evolving with new players entering the field, more patents expiring, new technologies (e.g., CLIP and Multi-Jet Fusion) being developed, and supporting software catching up. It’s estimated that the market will grow to $20 billion by 2025.

Over 30 years ago, two major companies invented the major technological components of 3D printing, and they’re still the dominant technologies currently in the market.  In terms of 3D printing of object, three processes have become popular.

The first is called fused deposition modeling (FDM). It uses a thermoplastic filament, which is heated to its melting point and then extruded, layer by layer, to create a three-dimensional object. This rather slow process supports acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA) types of materials.

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