3D printing is an emerging technology which has transformed product development dramatically. It is also known as additive manufacturing. It joins different layers to make objects from a 3D model.
The rise of 3D printing has opened the door of new possibilities for different industries by providing fast product design with cost reduction. However, it has many dark aspects which make this technology wasteful and hazardous due to its negative economic, social and environmental impact.
This article will elaborate on the top 10 disadvantages of 3D printing.
- High Energy Consumption
Large 3D printers consume high power consumption. According to studies of Lough borough University, the power consumption of an industrial 3D printer is about 50 to 100 times as compared to injection modeling when plastic is melted with lasers and heat. The Environmentally Benign Manufacturing is a group that is especially dedicated to investigating different environmental impacts regarding product manufacturing. A study of this investigation group shows that a direct laser metal deposition consumes almost 100 times more electrical energy as compared to traditional manufacturing. On a large scale, they consume huge energy so therefore, they are really suitable for small scale production runs.
- 3D Printing Technology is Expensive
The equipment and materials of this technology make the printers really expensive. Furthermore, if we talk about industrial-scale printing, they are further expensive and casting in ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars. So all these initial expenses make the technology really high. Different material that is used in 3D printing technology is comparatively expensive than traditional manufacturing technologies.
- Limited Materials
Nowadays, the technology of the 3D printing has been advanced with significant manufacturing breakthrough. However, the material that is used in this technology is still limited. Furthermore, some material is even under development. The most usable material in the 3D printing world is plastic because it is extremely easy to melt and deposit down to form different layers to the final product. On the other hand,plastic varies in strength capacity so sometimes, it cannot be the best option for some components.
There are some companies that offer metals instead of plastic to form different products. However, the final parts of the product are most often not completely dense. Other specialized materials such as glass and metals are being utilized. However, they are not so far commercialized.
- 3D Printers Aren’t that User-friendly
Due to the extensive usage and potential of 3D technology in printing, people are excitedly adopting this technology. These devices sound user-friendly but the reality shows something different. The truth is that these printers use high-voltage energy and become really hot. Your little bit careless lead to some harmful effects.
Moreover, it requires several specialized types of equipment and a part that make the 3D printers really a headache to manage and difficult to use. Some printers have resolution issue and others have Wi-Fi connection problems. It is not a consist problem, continuous improvements have been made so printers are getting better day by day.
- Harmful Emissions
According to a study of Illinois Institute of Technology, 3D printers utilize different enclosed locations such as homes that can potentially produce carcinogenic particles and toxic emissions.Another research study of the same institute shows that 3D desktop computers can emit large amounts of ultraviolet particles and some dangerous volatile organic matters while printing. They were capable to emit about 20 billion ultra-fine particles per minute using PLA filaments, and the ABS emitted 200 billion almost particles per minute. Emitted radiations are the equivalent of burning cigarettes and can remain in the bloodstream or in the lungs with severe health risks including cancer and other vital diseases.
- Too Much Reliance on Plastic
Different popular and cheap 3D printers utilize a plastic filament. Waste generation has been reduced due to the usage of raw plastic but still, these machines leave excessive and unused plastic on the print beds. PLA – a raw material that is used to form different 3D products, is biodegradable but the ABS 3D printers filament is the most usable type of plastic. The byproduct of the plastic becomes the cause of landfills which negatively affects the environment.
Plastic limits different product formation so in the future, 3D printers are tending to rely on other materials such as metal or carbon composites instead of plastic. Although some printers are currently utilizing this technology, it will become common in the future.
- 3D Printers are Slow
3D printers have no limits in mass customization but they become slow when they deal withmany objects. Depending on the quality and size, a printer can take numerous hours or even days to print the object. If you increase product development, the printer will become slow. Companies that customize and make 3D prints for their clients using a variety of products can take up to many weeks for order completion.
- Production of Dangerous Weaponry
It is extremely easy to create different dangerous weapons such as guns, 3D knives, and explosives. Terrorists and criminals can use this technology to make such weaponry. Some organizations have already used this technology for illegal activities such as card readers to steal bank machine data. Furthermore, this technology will become the most cost-effective and user-friendly so the chances of unlicensed weaponry will be increased.
- Copyright Infringements
Another most significant disadvantage of 3D printing is counterfeiting. As it is a common thing, that anyone who has the blueprint of any product can print the object. So the patent violation is getting much more critical. So it is creating severe issues for copyright holders. Therefore, companies that were producing unique products can be significantly affected.
- Manufacturing Job Losses
3D printing technology has become really advance and is capable to create designs and prototypes just in a few hours. It has eliminated several stagesthat were used in subtractive manufacturing so as a result, decrement in the labor cost has been noted.For countries that used to rely on low skill jobs, manufacturing jobs can be decreased dramatically. Therefore, you can consider that robots have much impact here.