• 3D Printing
  • What technological breakthroughs have led to 3D printing being so popular ?

The 3D printing boom is probably derived from the RepRap open source project [1] created in 2005. The goal of the RepRap project is to make a self-replicating machine, which is naturally made into a 3D printer. Many parts of the RepRap printer are printed in 3D, so the production is not difficult. The RepRap community is getting more and more popular, and more and more people are making 3D printers themselves. In 2009, MakerBot began selling the 3D printer DIY set Cupcake CNC, which greatly reduced the difficulty of purchasing originals, and more people started to make their own 3D printers. However, there are not many people mentioned here. Cupcake eventually sold more than 2,600 units [2], and at that time, conservative estimates also accounted for at least 50% of all 3D printers. After that, more and more people started to produce DIY kits, so more and more people assemble 3D printers themselves. In a sense, this is achieving the goal of the RepRap project. On the other hand, the expiration of key 3D printing patents has also contributed to the development of consumer printers. FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) patent US5121329 expired in October 2009 (MakeBot was established in early 2009, perhaps linked to the expiration of this patent), and the number and types of FDM 3D printers have exploded since then. According to 3ders.org's incomplete list of consumer and professional 3D printers, there are currently 245 different models of 3D printers worldwide. [3] Two other 3D printing technologies, SLA (StereoLithography Apparatus) and SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) key patents have expired in recent years, and there will be more different types of 3D printers in the next few years. In fact, in the past two years, SLA 3D printers have become more and more, in 2012 B9Creator and Form 1, 2013 mUVe 1, and this year's M-One, Titan 1 and so on. Another point is the media hype that everyone mentioned. It is worth mentioning that the famous magazine "Economist" published in 2012 the A third industrial revolution and 3D printing: Difference Engine: The PC all over again? At the end of the same year, the new book Makers: The Next Industrial Revolution, which was edited by Chris Anderson, former editor of the famous technology magazine Wired, also made a good effort on 3D printing. At the end of 2012, the 3D printed clips in the Chinese Zodiac (Douban) also played a hype in the Chinese market. Probably also affected by media hype, governments have suddenly increased their investment in 3D printing research. In August 2012, US President Barack Obama announced a $45 million grant to establish the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. [4] In October 2012, the British government announced an investment of £7 million to develop 3D printing technology. [5] In January this year, another 15 million pounds was announced to establish a national 3D printing center. [6] In August 2013, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his National Day speech that he would invest 500 million Singapore dollars, about $400 million to develop new manufacturing technologies, including 3D printing technology. SGD 30 million for the establishment of NTU Additive Manufacturing Centre at Nanyang Technological University