Mar.25, 2013

Climate expert says 3D printing saves time and energy. Using 50% less energy and 90% less material than traditional manufacturing, 3D printing has been called as disruptive and revolutionary technology for its ability to make almost anything. "3D printing could slash the carbon footprint of manufacturing and provide nifty solutions for a disaster-prone world." says ClimateDesk. Is 3D printing the secret weapon against climate change?


Posted in 3D Printer Technology


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JD90 wrote at 4/2/2013 1:30:41 PM:

Something else missing in the idea of disaster relief is there has to be a drawing file for the part in question. You're in a disaster zone, the time is precious, I don't know if it is well served drawing a replacement part and waiting for a part to finish vs. just ordering it and shipping it overnight. Bringing in a selective laser sintering machine might not be practical either, to make metal replacement parts.

Moser wrote at 3/28/2013 7:36:35 PM:

This climate expert clearly has no knowledge on manufacturing methods. 3d printing is slow and expensive for mass production. It's good for prototyping. 3d printing is nothing new... The machines just got a bit cheaper

Jeff wrote at 3/27/2013 3:01:21 PM:

The big advantage in a disaster situation is that you don't know what you might need till the time comes. If you have a water pump, and it breaks down, you don't need 100 replacement parts - you need 1. But you won't know which one, or even that you need it at all, until it breaks. Remember that we are not only talking about hobbiest level 3d printers. When you are looking at setting up a disaster response team, or equipment to be used after a disaster, you could consider a fairly large printer that work with more durable materials. Energy consumption is harder to figure. For a printed parts vs an injected moded part, you are both starting with pellets. One goes to a filiment and is melted twice as JD90 mentioned. The other is made and stored somewhere, then has to be shipped. And for replacement parts you have to ship at least one of everything where as printing you only print the one(s) you need. Moving up to ones that work in metal, you have to refine the metal into base stock either way 9powder or wire for a printer, blocks, bars or sheets for machining. But while for prinitn you only need one size of material, for machining you can't make a parts bigger than your base material so, due to waste, you need many sizes of base material. All of that figures in.

Jelle wrote at 3/25/2013 10:15:15 PM:

Yeah, those medical centres, you see them popping up like mushrooms after a disaster... A 3D printed part can have a much lower carbon footprint, because it replaces a part that had been produced 12 months ago, had been packaged, shipped to somewhere, lay in a warehouse for a long time and then was shipped out to the final customer. A 3D printer part can be sent as a digital file, the resources it is made from can be made or recycled locally. Yes the final production time is longer, but you do not need the whole transport chain and warehousing stages, so your footprint is smaller. injection molding on the spot might produce a large amount of the same parts quicker, but you still need the mould to do that, and you cannot make other parts than you have moulds for.

JD90 wrote at 3/25/2013 4:34:32 PM:

I don't know about the carbon footprint, injection molding of parts on the size made by a hobbyist 3D printer would take a few seconds per part. The filament is processed twice, melting from pellets to filament, then extruded out the printer nozzle. Injection molders just do that in once go. On supplying parts after a disaster, it might help source parts pretty quickly, I don't know. But a printer might take an hour or so to make a part, assuming there isn't a failure in the part printing, so maybe a dozen parts the day before an air shipment can arrive. Then there's the question of needing power when it might be better directed towards medical centers.

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