What is 3D Printing?
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Kevin T. Weaver
Residential Faculty - Manufacturing
If it was built or manufactured, it was designed and drafted first. The Electrical-Mechanical Drafting program at MCC prepares students for careers as designers and drafters. Engineers, architects, and many other professions and industries use the skills and techniques taught in the Drafting program.
3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes.
- More on the process here
In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
3D printing is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing which is cutting out / hollowing out a piece of metal or plastic with a milling machine.
3D printing enables you to produce complex (functional) shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.
What Does a 3D Printer Do?
With additive manufacturing (i.e., 3D printing), mechanical design changes can be prototyped and tested immediately. Computers can write essays. Robots can fly aircraft and respond to what they “see” or to new instructions from a remote human operator. Cars will be able to detect traffic problems through networks and adapt without human intervention.
- More on 3D Printing
The benefits/advantages of 3D printing include:
- Speed. One of the main advantages of additive manufacturing is the speed at which parts can be produced compared to traditional manufacturing methods.
- Single step manufacture
- Complexity and design freedom
- Ease of access
What is Drafting?
Drafting is everything! If it was built or manufactured, it was designed and drafted first. Drafting is drawing and creating a three dimensional rendering on a two dimensional surface.
The Electrical-Mechanical Drafting program at MCC prepares students for careers as designers and drafters. Drafting and design engineering can teach students how to create plans and designs that can be followed by construction workers, architects and manufacturers.
What Do Drafters Do?
Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings. Most workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.
There are many types of drafters including:
- Find out more about types of drafters
Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. These workers may specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial. They may also specialize by the materials used, such as steel, wood, or reinforced concrete.
Civil drafters prepare topographical maps used in construction and civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and flood-control projects.
Electrical drafters prepare wiring diagrams that construction workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, electrical distribution systems, and residential and commercial buildings.
Electronics drafters produce wiring diagrams, assembly diagrams for circuit boards, and layout drawings used in manufacturing and in installing and repairing electronic devices and components.
Mechanical drafters prepare layouts that show the details for a wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices, such as medical equipment. These layouts indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements needed for assembly. Mechanical drafters sometimes create production molds.