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3D Printing and Structures

            The use of 3D printing is "no longer a novelty" (" Bridge to the Future," 2015, para. 8). This technology has been evolving from just creating miniature 3D models to now creating much greater structures, such as a "five-story apartment building" ("A bride to the future," 2015, para. 10). 3D printing is becoming a practical reality that will only become more useful as the years pass due to the technological and equipment advancement through futuristic conceptualization. Currently, 3D printing is being used throughout the world to make construction more efficient. Some processes in creating 3D structures will allow this advancement, but there are also pros and cons to its application. .
             The Economist explains common processes in 3D printing, such as selective laser melting, industrial robots building upwards, and the pros of 3D printing, such as the greater flexibility in design and construction time. A common method of 3D printing is called selective laser melting, which basically takes place inside the machine; it spreads metallic powder over the base and uses a high-powered laser to fuse particles together in the shape required for the first layer ("A bridge to the future," 2015, para. 3). After the first layer, the robot will repeat these steps "until the object emerges" (A bridge to the future," 2015, para. 3). MX3D (a 3D printing company) systems employ an industrial robot to build structures additively. These robots will start building structures upwards in one go, rather than assembling parts together ("A bridge to the future," 2015, para. 5). These robots' arms are going to be fitted with specially developed welding heads; this allows them to add one drop of weld on top of another to create the structure. This allows the robots to print additively, as well as print their own support structures as they go.

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