In today’s world there would be hardly anyone who would have used a computer but not used a 2D Printer. You might be wondering about why I have used the term “2D Printer” and not “Printer”? The takeoff of 3D printers and 3D Printing technology is going to transform the way we now look at manufacturing. However, the terms “Printer” and “Printing” has been so prominent in our daily lives that many people often tend to relate 3D Printing and 3D printers as an upgradation or new version of 2D printers.
For people who very well understand 3D Printers, I would like to share that I started exploring 3D Printing technology almost an year back. Within this period I have been to several conferences, talked to approximately 10,000+ people about 3D Printing and I would like to state that because of the already existing terms like “Printers” and “Printing” it becomes difficult and confusing for people to imagine the benefit or potential of 3D Printers in the very first go. 3D Printing industry is at a very nascent stage in India. Hence, not to be mentioned but the awareness about the technology and its benefits is on the lower side. Now comes the problem, people who listen to the term “3D Printing” for the first time try to relate it to offset printing, many of them tend to imagine that the output would somewhat look like a holographic image. Every time when I realize this confusion I prefer using the term “Additive Manufacturing” instead of “3D Printing”.
When I say 2D printing I am talking about the commonly used flat digital or offset printing on paper or similar stuff where the input is different kind of inks. You might have definitely used it on several occasions: to get a copy of a document, for your business cards, for getting brochures, for making a greeting card or for getting poster for wall graphic.
When we talk about 3D Printing, we are talking about Additive Manufacturing. It is about making real objects using the machines called 3D Printers which create products by adding layer upon layer of the raw material fed in it to create a final product. You need to first generate a 3D model of a product that you want to manufacture. Some softwares that are used for generating those 3D models are Maya, Rhino, Solidworks. These models are then sliced to convert them into machine understandable formats like stl, obj and so on. The output that we get here may be a decorative for your home, a penstand, a toy or even a car.
If you have read this, means you are now ready to explain to anyone that though the names might be similar but 3D Printing is not 2D printing with just an added dimension.