3D printing is a technology that allows businesses to prototype much more quickly and cheaply than ever before. This video provides an overview of this process and some of the best use cases.
- Welcome to JBK Labs. This is our research and development lab, where we get to experiment with all kinds of new technologies. Now, I'm not showing you everything, because we have some things under the covers right now, that we're not going to disclose just yet. But we experiment with a bunch of interesting stuff, and definitely, near the top of the list, is 3D scanning and printing. I mean, we're in the infancy of this. I call this the Apple 2e phase of 3D scanning and printing. The fundamentals here, is that 3D printing is about laying down...
It's really additive printing. Because if you're laying down one layer at a time. Whether that's a hundred micron layer, or less, or more, until you build an object from the ground up. Now, there's a bunch of different types of 3D printers, and honestly, we could do an hour and a half, just on 3D printing. Because, you can do any type of material. Plastic, some wood, metal, you can even do concrete. And there's some fantastic 3D printing going on, in Dubai and the Philippines and China, with 3D building concrete printing.
It's a amazing stuff. You're talking about dramatically shrinking the number of days required to build a structure. Dramatically increasing the accuracy of buildings. And obviously, disrupting a huge section of the construction industry. Since we're not going to cover all of those topics, I thought I would start with the basics, that you can jump into now. Because I think 3D printing is game time, for construction companies around the world. And anybody interested in the architecture, engineering and construction space. You'll see right here, I've go a Sprout Workstation by HP.
This is one of many ways that you can actually scan an object into 3D. In fact, we can take an object as simple as a mouse, and place it on the scanning pad. And there's a visual array. Now, the interesting stuff is that the visual array that's inside these scanners, is very similar to visual arrays that we're using in virtual reality and visual arrays and sensing arrays that we're using in drones. You'll see a lot of similarity of technologies, that are coming through this. But we can actually place this on the scanner, press a button, and we're not going to do it now for the sake of time.
It'll actually 3D scan this, and produce the 3D model. We can load it on an SD card, and come over to here, to really, my favorite starter 3D printer. The Dreamer by FlashForge.. Now look, this may not look like much, but for plastic 3D printing, which is really the entry-level stuff, where' you're printing PLA plastic. Now, there's a lot of kinds of plastic, but we're going to use PLA in this. It's a fantastic printer, that'll print day and night, for months on end. And it really doesn't have a lot of maintenance issues.
It's about 1199, I believe, on Amazon. And you can even buy some more current versions of the Dreamer by FlashForge. You an also go into Best Buy and get Dremel. That's actually, I think, private labeled by FlashForge. But the fundamental here, is that you have your material that's being extruded up here. This is the plastic. And they're actually feeding this plastic through the back of the machine, into the extruder. The extruder is heating up that plastic, and laying it down one layer at a time, and building up a 3D object.
So, that's really the fundamentals. Now, to support that 3D object, it prints a raft, that's a 3D support structure, that you can then break away and finish. So, whenever you finish 3D printing something, on a device like this, you're going to take it out, break the supports away, and then polish up the 3D printed object. So, just some use cases. Construction companies like to 3D print, let's say, form work. I actually have some form work guys that will 3D print up their form work on plastic, and assemble it like a Lego set, before they go to the job site.
You can also 3D print a mechanical pre-fab units. And you can take your 3D model, print it out, and see how it all fits together, and looks in a small scale, before you go to fabrication. Another 3D printer that I really like, this comes out of Europe. This is the Ultimaker 2. It's a single extruder. So, over here is actually... You can actually do dual extrusion. You can have two types of plastic at the same time, two colors of plastic. The Ultimaker, is a single extruder, but it's a larger build plate. This actually came right off of the 3D printer.
So, this is a little squirrel. And you can see, just the level of detail and accuracy, that we're able to get out of this 3D printer. Now, we did just a little bit of finishing here, to break off the support connectors. But, just a fantastic 3D print. We also print some... We printed some virtual headsets, where you can strap a phone. We actually bought the lenses and the strap, and 3D printed the other components and assembled it. And you can see here, you can even 3D print more complex objects out of these. So, you print each of these components, and then assemble them together.
This dramatically reduces the price of prototyping. That's what it's all about, right? We want to reduce the price of prototyping, and building and modeling things. But, when you get into more advanced materials, like nylon, carbon fiber, even metal, you can actually 3D print tools and parts, and ultimately, buildings. You can also 3D print food. At CES this year, I got to eat 3D printed cookies, and 3D printed candy. And it was pretty darn cool. Next, we're going to go over here to reductive printing. And what you'll see here is actually, what you would call a CNC mill, or a reductive 3D printer.
In this case, we're actually cutting away from an object. Now, this is a much more traditional technology. Now, back in the day, which again was a Wednesday, you'd actually have mills. But they were controlled by hand. Then we... Really, the advent of computers, and I know I started to see this mainstream in the 90's. When you started to see computer-controlled milling coming to your average manufacturing shops. But now, you can actually build these on your own, in your garage. You can go to a website called Instructables.
Instructables has instructions on how you build your own stuff. But you can also buy commercial CNC's, just like this. Now we built this, my R&D team built this. They did a phenomenal job, and they built it with some power supplies, a control unit. The actual computer's just right here, and it sends instructions to these drivers, which relays it down through the wiring into a liquid cool drill head. And then, cut out all kinds of 3D shaped objects. So you can see right here on the board, we've got a sign that we did.
And you can see its final assemble. But, we actually cut this out right here. So, you can print and cut all kinds of shapes out. So again, I really wanted to explore both additive, and reductive 3D printing. That's what we're talking about, is in one case we're building one layer at a time, from the ground up. In the other case, we're taking a solid object, and cutting down. Now, something important, you can imagine, when you start a print like this, you're actually starting with a larger block of wood. Which means, you have an enormous amount of waste. 3D printing, additive 3D printing, as opposed to reductive milling, like this, can consume about 90% less materials.
So, it's really important that you understand, why 3D printing is such a big deal. Because we've been able to cut away from objects for a long time, but we waste a lot of material. When you can liquefy and extrude 3D printed material, into an additive 3D printer, you can significantly reduce the amount of material required, which drops the cost way down. And you can prototype in hours, instead of days.
Follow James Benham—the CEO of JBKnowledge, Inc.—as he explains how construction science and computer science are merging into one joint field of study. James shares essential terms that you need to know to speak intelligently about topics like the cloud and machine learning. Plus, he dives into topics like the Internet of Things, the evolution of drones, and 3D printing. To wrap up the course, he covers IT budgets, staffing, and investing in research and development.
- Learning about the origins of construction technology
- Reviewing essential construction tech terms
- Understanding the Internet of Things
- Reviewing the evolution of drones
- Learning about the 3D printing process
- Investing in IT
- Investing in research and development