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An Introduction to 3D Printing

This chapter will introduce you to the most commonly used 3D printing techniques applied within the chemical sciences, specifically fused deposition modelling, stereolithography, inkjet printing, selective laser sintering, and selective laser melting. It also includes a brief discussion on the relatively short history and exploding popularity of 3D printing. Within the chemical sciences, fused deposition modelling is the most commonly used printing technique, primarily due to the low cost, an ever increasing range of print materials, and ease of use. Stereolithography would appear currently to be more capable in applications that require high-definition printing, and inkjet printing is suitable for the most complex architectures. Selective laser melting can be applied to print with metals, and selective laser sintering, a closely related technology, with a wide variety of materials. The application and development of 3D printing within the chemical sciences has increased exponentially over the last few years. The 3D printer market as a whole is projected to grow to $33.6 billion by 2022, representing a staggering rate of growth for what has emerged as an entirely new industry in itself. As President Barak Obama stated in his 2013 State of the Union address, “3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything”, and based upon the uptake of this technology within the chemical sciences, it would appear that chemists are certainly leading this revolution by example.

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Print publication date
01 Apr 2019
Copyright year
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ePub eISBN