3D printing allows you to manufacture a three-dimensional object from a digital 3D model. We feed a CAD model to the printer and it creates a fully functional 3D object. 3D printer slices each layer of the 3D model and then manufactures layer-by-layer, which finally results in a complete object. The 3D printer is of great use when it comes to the medical field, creating a prototype, and many other purposes.
The printers create objects from a variety of materials like molten plastic, powders, iron, etc. The 3D printed products created by the printer looks exactly like the 3D model or computer-aided design (CAD), fed to it. You could print a variety of things using 3D printers.
How 3D printing works?
Step 1. Create a 3D digital model
You must have the blueprint of what needs to be printed. The 3D digital model could be created using computer-aided design. Though there is much software that could help you create a 3D model. There are three ways to create a model:
By any one of the ways mentioned above, you could make a personalized 3D printing product.
Step 2. STL file format
Custom 3D printing requires the 3D digital copy to be in a particular file format. Though there are many file formats STL is one of the most common ones. STL printing file format stands for STereo Lithography. This is named after the first 3D printing process. STL also stands for Standard Triangle Language and Standard Tessellation Language. OBJ and 3MF can also be used if STL file format is not available.
.X3D, .WRL, .DAE, .PLY are the file formats that could be used if you want the object to be printed in full color.
Step 3. Slicing 3D digital image into various layers
Slicing is the process of cutting the 3D object into hundreds or thousands of layers. This will be a step-by-step guide for a 3D printer. G-Code is the name of the new file format after the original file has been sliced. G-Code is the machine language that we use to communicate with it. This G-code acts as an instruction guide on which 3D printer will work. You will have to convert the file format into G-Code by yourself. G-Code does not require you to learn to code though.
Step 4. Printing 3D object
Once the file has been converted to G-Code, 3D printers produce the successful 3D print. 3D printers are very sensitive devices with intricate parts joined all together. Thus, they require maintenance and careful assistance.
Why are 3D printers so expensive?
It is assumed that one day every house will have a 3D printer and the users will manufacture all personalized 3D printing products. Though, the situation does not seem like so. 3D printers have been in the market for about 25 years but the prices have never been down. The cost of owning, maintaining, and repairing the machine has always been mountain-high.
Some of the reasons are mentioned below:-
- 3D printers that are available in the market cost thousands of dollars. The majority of the population can't buy such expensive equipment. Thus, meager numbers of printers are sold each year. Resulting in the development of expensive methods and materials. If some of the expensive parts of a printer are removed, the price might come down. But, then the price-functionality combination will get low.
- The materials required to print the product is highly expensive. The filaments require extra processing each time before use. Depending on the material used and object made, it might take a few minutes to few days for a 3D printer to create a product. Thus the printer is not good for mass manufacture.
- The printers are not user-friendly and have a lot of sophisticated parts in them. Thus making it difficult for a normal man to use them. Generally, 3D printer providers are used to printing a product. Thus you will also have to pay for them, as an extra expense.
Why are 3D printers expensive in India?
3D printers are already considered to be one of the expensive accessories. Its price takes an even greater leap if brought in India. This could be due to a variety of reasons. It was estimated that India contributes to only 3% of the indo-pacific manufactures of 3D print products, while China’s contribution is 35%. A sculpture called ‘Jhada’ was infixed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. The 8-ft high, 6-ft wide sculpture was made using 3D printing technology. It was done by Fractal Works, a London based studio.
There are very few 3D printer companies that are established in India. One such company’s owner said that a good avenue could be generated in a few sectors like education, where 3D printers are leaving its impact. People in India are yet not well-worked with this technology. Thus they walk away from accepting this technology. A better understanding of 3D technology will help gain 3D printers a good market in a country like India.
Reasons behind greater expense of 3D printers in India: -
The addition of extra taxes
International shipping prices, customs duties, Indian taxes such as VAT or GST adds up to the already high price rate of 3D printers. The international shipping of the 3D printers is quite high because of the large and heavy printer boxes, which amounts to approx Rs. 10,000 per printer. Thus, shipping charges increase the total amount of 3D printers.
If you try to act smart enough and think of directly buying the printers from abroad, you won’t be able to do so. All printers are BIS certified and thus the custom won’t permit you at the airport.
The limited market of 3D printers
The majority of people import 3D printers from abroad paying extra custom tax. But few companies in India manufacture the printers in India itself. They are doing a great job but because of the limited consumers they are unable to have automated or semi-automated methods to build a printer. Thus they are not able to fulfill all the requirements and the price of manufacturing keeps increasing. Having 3D printed products for sale would prove to be a great loss.
Slow work rate increases the expense
India is a rapidly growing country. We are pacing at a great rate. 3D printers might take a few minutes to a few hours to few days to complete a task. The printer might sound and look good for small productions, but proves to be a great disaster for mass production works. We cannot employ our time, electricity, manpower working on a machine that takes too long to work. With a greater input, results tend to be slow.
The high cost of the materials
The materials required to build 3D printers are highly costly and sensitive. They are required to be dealt with at-most care and responsibility. The filament needs to be processed each time after use. This all takes a lot of money thus increasing the price of making, maintaining, and processing the printer.
Final Word3D printers would prove to be a great revolution if they could be a little less expensive. People need to gain more information about the 3D printer before moving away from it. One must buy 3D printed products only when you could generate profit even after hectic expenses.