By now, most of us have heard, at some level, about the potential of 3D printing. But with this writing we are offering insights into the reality of 3D printing — the processes, materials and applications — as well as measured thoughts on where Green Fire is applying this technology to build the Villages for the Children of the Landfill.
What really is 3D printing, who generally uses 3D printers and what for?
3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
Green Fire is the only reclamation company in the world providing autonomous villages from landfill waste made with reclaimed landfill material and 3D printing.
Green Fires Villages technology uses only our purified safe materials. They are weather resistant, non-corrosive, 100% non-toxic, fire resistant, and produce no emissions and last a very long time. We use these material to build prefabricated Componentized low cost housing units.
These rugged structures are made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer modular components which are durable, flexible and waterproof. With endless design possibilities, these structures can be assembled quickly and easily, with minimal cost to create a safe and clean living environment in harmony with nature.
The term 3D printing covers a host of processes and technologies that offer a full spectrum of capabilities for the production of parts and products in different materials. Essentially, what all of the processes and technologies have in common is the manner in which production is carried out — layer by layer in an additive process — which is in contrast to traditional methods of production involving subtractive methods or molding/casting processes.
Applications of 3D printing are emerging almost by the day, and, as this technology continues to penetrate more widely and deeply across industrial, maker and consumer sectors, this is only set to increase.
We are only just beginning to see the true potential of 3D printing
Introduction – What is 3D printing?
Technology has affected recent human history probably more than any other field. Think of a light bulb, steam engine or, more latterly, cars and airplanes, not to mention the rise of the world wide web. These technologies have made our lives better in many ways, opened up new avenues and possibilities, but usually it takes time, sometimes even decades, before the truly disruptive nature of the technology becomes apparent.
What really is this 3D printing that some have claimed will put an end to traditional manufacturing as we know it, revolutionize design and impose geopolitical, economic, social, demographic, environmental and security implications to our every day lives?
The most basic, differentiating principle behind 3D printing is that it is an additive manufacturing process. And this is indeed the key because 3D printing is a radically different manufacturing method based on advanced technology that builds up parts, additively, in layers at the sub mm scale. This is fundamentally different from any other existing traditional manufacturing techniques.
For many applications traditional design and production processes impose a number of unacceptable constraints, including the expensive tooling, fixtures, and the need for assembly for complex parts. In addition, the subtractive manufacturing processes, such as machining, can result in up to 90% of the original block of material being wasted.
In contrast, 3D printing is a process for creating objects directly, by adding material layer by layer in a variety of ways, depending on the technology used. Simplifying the ideology behind 3D printing, for anyone that is still trying to understand the concept (and there are many), it could be likened to the process of building something with Lego blocks automatically.
3D printing is an enabling technology that encourages and drives innovation with unprecedented design freedom while being a tool-less process that reduces prohibitive costs and lead times. Components can be designed specifically to avoid assembly requirements with intricate geometry and complex features created at no extra cost.
3D printing is also emerging as an energy-efficient technology that can provide environmental efficiencies in terms of both the manufacturing process itself, utilizing up to 90% of reclaimed landfill materials..
In recent years, 3D printing has gone beyond being an industrial prototyping and manufacturing process as the technology has become more accessible to small companies and even individuals. Once the domain of huge, multi-national corporations due to the scale and economics of owning a 3D printer, smaller (less capable) 3D printers can now be acquired for under $1000.
This has opened up the technology to a much wider audience, and as the exponential adoption rate continues apace on all fronts, more and more systems, materials, applications, services and ancillaries are emerging.