3D printing is the innovative technology that has had a considerable impact on engineering, the design of products and showing great promise in the field of medicine. 3D printing allows the rapid conversion of digital information from models into physical objects.
Conventional manufacturing is also known as subtractive manufacturing as it involves removal of various materials, and it leads to excessive wasting of products, but in 3D printing, it is known as additive manufacturing, as it uses various methods of constructing objects layer by layer. In all cases of 3D printing currently, the object to be printed is created initially using a software package known as computer-aided design(CAD) and then exported into a file to be finally printed using a 3D printer.
The exported file splits the 3D object into a series of the layers-the object is then printed layer by layer.
The basic component of 3D printing technologies is the hardware, software and imaging and then the materials used for the finished product.
Limitations and Challenges with 3D printing
Despite 3D printing offering great potential for its various application in medicine, there are significant hurdles that need to be overcome before it can be used in mainstream medicine. One of the most important issues is the limited customization capability of the current 3D printers, Speed of printing and processing speed. Another major issue is the cost of the 3D printers and the materials required to develop a 3D model. Quality controls and the ability for reproducibility across all the 3D printers is another major hurdle.