Travancore Analytics

7 Best Techniques which Transform AR 3D Printing

May 23rd, 2024

Category: augmented reality

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Posted by: Team TA

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3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a technology used to create physical objects using a 3D digital model. Unlike traditional subtractive production methods, which can waste up to 90% of the original material, 3D printing does not require a block of material or a mold to manufacture a part. Instead, it stacks and fuses materials in succession. This method is typically fast, with low fixed setup costs, and can create more complex geometries. 3D printing enhances the productivity of numerous industries, including engineering, manufacturing, education, and healthcare. It has revitalized daily operations and procedures with quick customization, easy inventory management, and flexibility. Current limitations of this technology include its inability to speed up the printing process. As a result, one may spend hours on a print only to realize it’s not what they had expected. Here is where AR 3D printing plays a role in the improvement of 3D printing and modeling. It allows designers to sketch their designs in real-life locations and have them printed by robotic arms in seconds.

AR 3D Printing – Revolutionizing Manufacturing

Let us explore 7 ways in which AR enhances 3D printing.

1.) Reduces Unnecessary Printing

3D printing was a boon to the product developers as it significantly improved the speed of prototyping. But increased iteration also increased the usage of the material and consequently its wastage. Augmented Reality came to the rescue in this situation which resulted in the next evolution of product prototyping which will be even more rapid but less physical. Without investing printer time, materials, and other resources into producing early-stage prototypes and parts still in development, AR can manifest a 3D dimensional object in physical space.

For instance, PolySpectra introduced a free online AR 3D printing tool called Massless to support less prototyping thereby reducing material wastage. This results in faster and cheaper prototyping for design, validation, and shopping.

2.) Supports Mass Customization

Augmented reality (AR) enables mass personalization in 3D printing, eliminating the need for mass sampling and extensive inventory stock. It provides clients with a wide range of offerings to choose from. Insights collected from previous data can be used to enhance future projects, improving management control. Mass customization allows companies to reduce warehouse costs and investment in finished products.

Fitz Frames, a glass manufacturing company offers a unique method. Instead of going to a regular store, children and parents use the Fitz Frames app on their iPhones to choose frames. Through the AR feature on the app, they can try different frames virtually, see how they look, and decide on the design and color before buying. 

Producing eyeglasses that people are more likely to wear involves more than just manufacturing frames that look, fit, and perform better than traditional ones. It also means delivering them quicker and more cost-effectively.

3.) Enhances Additive Manufacturing Training

Augmented reality (AR) can effectively be used to teach trainees about 3D printing technology and design principles. Interactive and immersive learning experiences can be more effective than traditional training methods. By combining 3D printing products with augmented reality, the training process becomes more flexible and accessible to individuals who have limited 3D printing experience.

Fraunhofer IAPT has introduced new ways to enhance training programs for additive manufacturing through AR 3D printing technology. Their training modules prepare technicians to perform intricate tasks, such as replacing the recoater blade in a laser powder bed fusion machine. This not only simplifies the entire process but also improves precision and efficiency.

Additionally, Humtown Additive, known for 3D printing sand cores and cavities for casting, has begun using AR technology to streamline its operational processes. Workers can now quickly locate and depowder printed items, significantly speeding up production timelines. As a result, AR 3D printing solutions optimize workflow and improve the working environment for additive manufacturing.

4.) Improves Surgical Precision and Patient Care

By seamlessly integrating AR and 3D printing technologies, it is now possible to quickly visualize accurate 3D models created from patient data. This is achieved by attaching a 3D-printed reference marker to the patient. Experienced users can then develop personalized smartphone apps to translate mental reality solutions into tangible applications, facilitating target localization during surgery and improving patient-physician communication and engagement.

These precise 3D models provide doctors with accurate and crucial insights, leading to informed choices and surgical precision. Patients are also able to learn more about their illness, be prepared, and feel empowered for the successful completion of their treatment.

5.) Streamlines the Building Information Modeling (BIM)

AR provides construction workers with real-time visualization of BIM models by superimposing digital data onto the physical world. This reduces errors and facilitates accurate decision-making when performing tasks on-site. It enables quick changes and improvements, encourages teamwork, and enhances the construction experience for all parties.

Architects, engineers, and contractors can now visualize their plans at the actual construction site. With the ability to swiftly detect collisions and simulate lighting, airflow, and structural stability, designers can act quickly and accurately. All employees have easy access to critical information to minimize errors and accelerate the building process.

6.) Impact on the Manufacturing Industry

Augmented reality has the potential to revolutionize additive manufacturing, making it the most effective method for producing final parts for manufacturers. This integration of the digital and physical realms is a key aspect of the Factory of the Future concept. Streamlining manufacturing with innovations like the Print Pod enhances flexibility beyond traditional methods. Integrating AR technology with the Print Pod simplifies the process, making it more efficient and user-friendly, especially for those new to 3D printing. Augmented reality offers a preview of the final product, reducing uncertainty and improving outcomes.

7.) Conservation of Cultural Heritage

Cultural heritage objects can be discovered, documented, and exhibited using AR 3D printing. Cultural heritage is not limited to architectural or monumental structures. There is also another kind of cultural heritage known as Intangible Cultural Heritage that includes practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills learned from parents to children, and from generation to generation. Traditional dancing, craftsmanship, and storytelling are all forms of ICH. 

AR helps restore CH objects that have deteriorated over time. Specifically, AR helps in determining which restoration method would be the most suitable and provide the best and most realistic reproduction, at the lowest expense and in the shortest time. In the setting of a 3D environment for instance, the artifact would be represented in a 3D model, and an AR application would be developed to help in determining which restoration approach would be most suitable.

Wrapping Up

AR technology greatly enhances the efficiency of 3D printing in various industries and applications. Users can also interact with 3D models and modify them in innovative ways. In addition to creating compact designs and prototypes, AR integration with 3D printing is also applicable in educational settings. 3D printing is becoming more popular, and leading development companies are developing new applications to meet the changing needs of their users.

Stay in touch with us if you’re interested in using AR development services for your 3D printing projects

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