3D printed gadgets are veering away from simple prototypes into real world applications. With the fast innovation in additive manufacturing, more and more industries are looking to harness its capabilities.
We list down the top cool 3D printed gadgets across various industries that have significant impact on their respective sector.
This industry is one of the earliest adopters of 3D printing. As they’ve been using this technology going back to 1989.
Today, it heavily contributes to ongoing research efforts within the industry. The advancement of AM in A&D is driven by key players such as GE, Airbus, Boeing, Safran and GKN.
Value proposition of 3D printed gadgets are:
Innovation in AM led to 3D printed stuff that are real and functional parts which are used in aircraft. These are the following:
Low Volume Production
|Weight Reduction||Part Consolidation|| |
Maintenance and Repair
|For this industry, highly complex parts are produced in low volumes. |
Best items to 3D print for A&D are complex geometries without having to invest in expensive tooling equipment.
As AM offers a cost-effective way to produce small batches of parts
|Weight reduction in aircraft helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, fuel consumptions, and payload. |
Cool 3D printed gadgets for this industry are lightweight parts.
This contributes to fuel savings and the ability to create generative designs.
|This is one of the key benefits of 3D printed stuff. |
As reducing the number of parts needed simplify the assembly and maintenance process and cost.
This is possible by integration of multiple parts into a single component and time reduction for assembly.
|Maintenance, repair, and overhaul is an important factor in A&D. |
Significant innovations in AM like Direct Energy Deposition is used to repair aerospace and military equipment.
While turbine blades and other high-end equipment restoration is possible by adding material to worn-out surfaces.
3D printed stuff like plastic parts are useful for aircraft interiors. As cabin interiors of commercial aircraft need to update periodically. 3D printed gadgets like wall panels that are produced in low volumes enable quick turnaround time.
Airbus A320 aircraft is a great example of this. Wherein they install 3D printed spacer panels in 2018.
3D printed gadgets using FDM helped them produce complex features like lattice structures minus the manufacturing cost.
The result is a spacer panel that is 15% lighter compared to panels produced by traditional methods. This contributes to the weight reduction of the aircraft itself.
Production of jigs and fixtures is a common application of 3D printing. An example is that of a french aerospace manufacturer Latécoère to cut down lead times for custom tooling.
Using FDM 3D printers, they can create production tools in just a couple of days. Which means a time reduction of 95%. This approach also cut costs by 40%.
Additionally, Moog Aircraft Group is using FDM 3D printing to produce Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM) in-house.
With their 3D printing capabilities, they are now able to make CMM fixtures in approximately 20 hours. Cost reduction is evident as they manage to produce such tools at a couple of hundred pounds versus thousand of pounds before.
This is an Airbus subsidiary that specializes in the distribution of spare parts. Using 3D printers, they are able to reduce lead times and simplify complex supply chain logistics. They are able to produce spare parts for maintenance operations at a much quicker pace.
Prototyping of 3D printed gadgets remains the main application of 3D printing for this industry. In motorsport and performance racing, design tools like generative design and topology optimization veers away from traditional approaches on parts designs.
|Faster Product Development||Greater Design Flexibility||Customization||Create Complex Geometries|
|AM offers a means to test and validate parts before they are manufactured. |
As this technology offers a quick and cost-effective approach to designing and producing parts.
Using 3D printers, the product team can accelerate product development cycles.
|3D printing offers the ability to test multiple design options. |
This also enables designers to male quick design changes.
As well as modifications in a fraction of the time.
|3D printing offers a cost-effective yet flexible way to produce customized parts. |
This helps to produce personalized parts for exterior and interior parts of a vehicle.
|AM enables the production of complex geometries like internal channels, thin walls, and fine meshes.|
With 3D printing technologies like FDM and SLS, Ford in 2018 used it for tooling. One example is when they use it for assembly lift assist.
This cost 50% less than its conventional counterpart and significantly reduced lead times. This lighter lift assist helps make it easier to operate and reduce repetitive motion injuries.
This German car manufacturer uses 3D printing to produce spare parts for its line of classic and rare cars.
A combination of SLM technology and SLS for plastics enable Porsche to make a wide selection of high-quality rare parts at a fraction of the cost.
This is one of the industries that is the fastest-growing adopters of AM. 3D printing will continue to increase within the sector. These medical devices range from prosthetics to even bioprinting.
AM can be used to provide patient-specific solutions such as implants and dental appliances.
Enhances Medical Devices
|AM is an ideal technology to create and optimize designs for medical devices. |
Low-cost rapid prototyping enables manufacturers to create and produce medical devices with greater design freedom.
This in turn helps in faster time to market of new medical devices
|3D printing helps to create patient-specific devices. |
These are prosthetics and implants produced in much quicker time and more affordable.
This is a company that is well-known under the Invisalign brand. This is a dental device used to adjust and straighten teeth. Majority of clear aligners are currently produced using 3D printed gadgets like moulds.
These are the best items to 3D print using SLA and Material Jetting due to their high speed and accuracy. In 2019, they produced over half a million of unique 3D-printed parts per day,
3D printing provides the ability to develop, test, and produce consumer goods in a much cost-effective way.
Industrial 3D printers accelerate the opportunities to endless possibilities for this sector.
|Enhanced Product Development||Faster Time-to-Market||Mass Customization|
|Designs must first be validated, tested, and approved. |
3D printed gadgets like prototypes is a vital process for this purpose.
3D printing speeds up this process. Which helps product designers and engineers to develop and test multiple iterations of products.
This is all possible within a much shorter time frame.
|Product development acceleration reduces time to market of new products.||Personalized products that are tailored for customers is the key advantage of 3D printing. |
AM enables cost-effective production of customized products in small batches.
Something that is inefficient using traditional manufacturing methods.
In 2015, this company developed prototypes of its Ruffles chips brand. This enables them to test which sizes the customers prefer.
The most popular prototype was then used to create a new potato chip slicer at the PepsiCo manufacturing plants. It also helps them to bring various flavors of Ruffles brand much faster to the market.
This leading sports brand’s 3D printed gadgets are midsoles for its Futurecraft 4D sneakers. This improves the shoe performance for various sports. It has 20,000 struts for better cushioning.
This french luxury brand demonstrated the potential of cool 3D printed gadgets when it comes to beauty and cosmetics.
For their Revolution Volume mascara brand, they 3D printed a mascara brush in 2018 using SLS. This brush has a rough, granular texture that improves the adhesion of the mascara to the lashes.
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