3D Printing

FAZ reports on 3D printing processes – 3D ACTIVATION

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FAZ reports on 3D printing

A contribution by the FAZ science editorial team dealt in particular with metal printing

In its issue of January 20, 2019, an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper dealt with the current developments in the field of 3D printing. In it, FAZ science editor Roland Wengenmayr gives an overview of the latest developments in various 3D printing processes, with a particular focus on metal printing.


First of all, Wengenmayr explains that 3D printing is nothing more than a collective term for various additive manufacturing processes. In this context, he also explains the difference between additive and subtractive manufacturing. While in subtractive manufacturing material is removed from a starting material, in additive manufacturing it works the other way around: the planned model is built up piece by piece.

Application examples

The author uses a metal chess piece as an initial example, which could only be produced with this level of detail using 3D printing. Battlements and even a miniature spiral staircase can be seen within the tower.

On the other hand, it seems far more important dentistry as a 3D printing application. Since dentures have to be manufactured individually, dentistry could serve as an ideal technotope for additive manufacturing. A cobalt-chromium alloy (and thus metal printing) has become the norm in dental laboratories.

Another example is the bionization, also known under the name bionics. (We have already reported on this.) It is about copying forms from nature for technical components. These are often so delicate that they cannot be reproduced with conventional manufacturing. At the same time, they are now going a step further by allowing software to calculate the most optimal shape in each case.

Close integration of research and industry

Wengenmayr also praises the close integration of metal 3D printing in Germany basic research and industry. In this country, “a unique research landscape has emerged that is second to none anywhere in the world.” Tobias Caspari, the expert quoted here, says that among the top 5 companies offering metal printing there are definitely 3 German ones.

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One center of German 3D printing research is the Fraunhofer Institute for Additive Production Technologies (IAPT) in Hamburg-Bergedorf. Among other things, there is also a 3D printer the size of a cupboard, which at times became famous through a YouTube video about the 3D printing of the brake caliper of a Bugatti sports car. The special feature of this brake caliper: The metal is only located very precisely where the force paths run when braking. At the same time, this caliper is also a particularly impressive example of 3D printing titanium.

You can read the whole article here.

Read more about press reports on the subject of 3D printing and our own projects in our blog.

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