Understanding ATAL TINKERING LABS: Package 2 -3D Printing
Imagine a world where you can get almost anything manufactured exactly on your personal specifications and get it delivered at your doorstep within an hour. Imagine a world where you do not need to go to the nearby shop to repair your broken coffee mug; you can do it on your own. Imagine a world where entrepreneurs can prototype designs faster and cheaper. Well, all of this explains the need for 3D printing. Which is only one aspect of one one of the biggest steps taken by the government of India towards revolutionizing Indian education– ATAL TINKERING LAB.
So lets focus on one crucial element in these Atal tinkering labs known as 3D printing which is fairly new to the market. Right from innovative manufacturing and design to reduced costs and higher efficiency in terms of speed, 3D printing technology has many advantages. Just as personal computers became a hotbed of innovation in the early 1970s, 3D printing technology has ushered that renaissance today. Most products that we use today either involve 3D printing currently or will soon be involving 3D printing technology at the design stage be it shoes, electronics or even building designs.
Walt Disney company is using 3D printing technology at a large scale to design interactive toys for kids of the future; the latest being toys with eyes directly 3D printed into them so that they are capable of displaying human emotions which is certainly a giant leap in the toy industry. Foods such as chocolates and sugars are also being used as a medium of 3D printing. The technology is making its greatest impact in high end manufacturing.
Rolls Royce has made the largest ever 3D printed component for one of its jet engines and has been using the technology to repair components for the past five years. 3D printing aids in innovative design and can be used to develop components and structures that can’t be made in any other method. The technology can also combine components, thus reducing the number of parts. This optimisation of design using 3D printing technology has a definite advantage in the aerospace sector where expensive metals are used. The technology has also found its use in the domain of medicine where it provides tailored cutting and placement opportunities of human organs for a surgeon conducting an operation.
Personalised designing as per the customer in the auto sector is another area where the technology finds its utility. Customers will be willing to pay a premium for personalisation in the luxury car segment. 3D printing technology will certainly bring down inventory costs and manufacturing costs across industries. The technology is also suitable for entrepreneurs who can prototype designs faster and cheaper. 3D printing is also being introduced in the school curriculum across nations for the skill development of children and to make them understand the difficult concepts of STEM (Science, Maths, Engineering and Design) using innovative classroom learning.
The Safety Aspect
The Atal Tinkering labs are here to stay but there have been a few concerns regarding its safety off late,and 3D printing is one concern. It has been found that the 3D printing process releases toxic fumes composed of volatile organic compounds into the air. Therefore, proper ventilation systems would be required in industrial settings in order to use 3D printing technology. The workers must wear protective gear to minimise exposure to the toxic fumes. In homes and schools as well, the 3D printers should be operated in a well-ventilated area so that its side effects which include nausea and headache can be minimised. In China, buildings constructed through 3D printing technology have been found as safe. Ford has been testing cars made with 3D printing technology and no major safety issues have arisen. If precautions are taken in advance, 3D printing is a safe technology which can help us reap enormous benefits.