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CT&D #25. Researching Digital Printing in 3D

What was a topic in digital printing that you wrote on and researched?

I wrote my paper on 3D printing, a unique process of printing that was developed relatively recently, and yet is growing into a gradual common practice. As 3D printing relates to digital printing in the manner of bringing to life a digital based image (as well as how the process was conceived from inkjet printing), I thought of looking into how 3D printing was different in the sense of landmark advancement and significance of evolving printing itself. Right off the bat, I viewed the concept of 3D printing to be a bit self-explanatory; I thought it meant printing via an image to be rendered in pseudo-3D on a piece of paper. Little did I know that 3D printing actually meant 3D printing as in rendering objects physically in three dimensions. 

Basically a 3D printer would have to be loaded with material (like powder, metals, and plastics) where layers would be formed in succession based on whatever shape an image model shows on a monitor. These layers (or cross-sections) are then fused and molded together to make a solid object come to life, all from a print file (for example, a .stl file). The process kind of relates to 3D sculpturing in that the goal is to make a design from physical manipulation (through cutting and slicing) but differs in that sculpting is the process of removing (or subtracting) from a blank slate of material to make a design come out where as 3D printing is just piecing together parts of an object to make a whole product.

What really got me to write a paper on 3D printing was my curiosity in the subject following what would have been an attempt at writing a paper on the eras of digital printing, which I thought was too broad and not too interesting. When I heard back from my instructor regarding my original topic, he mentioned how 3D printing has been on the rise as an innovative application for design creation and how its use was groundbreaking in making 3D objects outside of a typical factory environment. After not a lot of thought, I decided to focus on this interesting topic and I am glad to have done so while learning a whole lot about what I researched. I think 3D printing is the future and its potential will change a lot about how we not only produce products but also challenge the conventional means of making them.

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