material via a 3D printer. By using an additive manufacturing technique, 3D printing departs radically from conventional subtractive manufacturing processes

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction .. .. . 2 A Brief History of 3D Printing .. . 2 The 3D Printing Process .. 3 3D Printing Technologies .. . 3 Consumer vs. Professional 3D Printing 4 Consumer 3D Printing .. . 4 Features .. .. .. 5 Limitations and Challenges .. . 6 Professional 3D Printing .. 7 Feat ures .. .. .. 7 Applications .. .. .. 8 Limitations and Challenges .. 9 Key Takeaways .. .. . 10 SUMMARY .. .. . 11 1

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Introduction 3D printing is the process of manufact uring three -dimensional objects by depositing successive layers of mate rial via a 3D printer. By using an additive manufacturing technique , 3D printing departs radically f rom conventional subtractive manufa cturing processes. As a result, 3D printing enables fast prototyping, saves material and labor costs, and finds applications in a nu mber of commercial and consumer endeavors. It is, as the Harvard Busin ess Review puts it, a technology that fiwill change the world.fl There are a few key differences be tween consumer and professional 3D printing. This white paper aims to gi ve a brief overview of these two branches of 3D printing. A Brief History of 3D Printi ng Although 3D printing had been a subject of academic deb ate and scientific postulations for years (cons ider Star Trek’s replicators as an example), it wasn™t until 1984 that the first modern 3D printer was developed by Charles Hull. Hull p atented a met hod of 3D printing known as Stereol ithography, which is still used in many commercia l applications today. The first Stereolithogra phy apparatus (SLA) printer was developed by 3D Systems in 1992. Thi s printer used UV light to cure thin layers of photopolyme r deposi ts onto a build tray. With each layer, the build tray moved a fraction o f an inch lower and the process repeated a technique that would become the foundat ion of much of commercial 3D printing. The fi rst commercial Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer went on the market in 1992 as well. With rapidly improving technolo gy, 3D printing became a viable alternative to conventional prototyping processes in comm ercial applications by the mid -1990s. The development of powerful PolyJet and Selective Lase r sintering (SL S) printers further enabled the industry™s growth. However, cost cons traints confined 3D printing to niche industries until the late 2000s. Open -sour ce projects like RepRap, and companies such a s MakerBot have helped bring 3D printing to the masses with a range of affordable, easy -to-use 3D printers. Additive vs. Subtractive Manufacturing Additive manufacturing is the process of “adding” layers of material on top of each other to create an object. It is obverse of conventional subtractive manufacturing processes. A sculptor chiseling away at a block of marble to create a statue, for example, is a subtractive manufacturing process. A painter dropping layers of paint onto a canvas to create a painting, on the other hand, is an additive process. 2

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The 3D Printing Process Regardless of the technologies used, all 3D printers employ the following printing process: 1. Pre -Processing: A digital 3D model of the object to be printed is sliced int o thin layers via 3D printing software. The software calculates the thickness of each layer and prepares the printer for the printing process. The digital model itself can be created by 3D computer graphics software, downloaded as a digital file, or scanne d with a 3D scanner. 2. Printing: Pressing “Print” brings the 3D printer to life. The printer lays down thin layers of build material along with a gel -like support material on a build tray. The build tray moves down with each successive layer of build materi al. Depending on the size and complexity of the printed object, the printing process can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. 3. Post -Processing: Depending on the type of technology used, post -processing might involve washing away the support m aterial, or sanding to achieve a higher resolution. This is a short process that barely takes a few minutes. Some printers automate this final step. 3D P rinting Technologies The most common technologies used in 3D printers are: SLA (Stereolithographic Apparatus) : SLA printers use vats of liquid photopolymers that can be cured by UV light. A beam of UV light traces patterns on a layer of photopolymer, which solidifies and joins the layer below it. This allows for the creation of complex patterns and desi gns at relatively high speeds. FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling): In FDM printers, a thin filament of thermoplastics (i.e., plastics that melt when heated, solidify at room temperature) is fed into a nozzle. The nozzle heats up and melts the plastic, which is then deposited in successive thin layers to build 3D models. The low cost and relative simplicity of the FDM process makes it ideal for use in consumer 3D printers. 3

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SLS (Selective Laser Sintering): In this technology, a high -power laser is used to me lt and fuse powdered plastic, ceramics or metals. The laser traces pre -determined patterns around the powdered material, which fuses together to create 3D objects. If the powdered material in question is a metal, the process is called direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). SLS can work with a range of materials, which makes it suitable for use in low -volume manufacturing and advanced prototypes. PolyJet: PolyJet technology was developed by Israel -based Objet Systems. It borrows elements from SLA and 2D inkjet printing technology. This involves jetting drops of liquid photopolymer on a build tray, which is subsequently cured via UV light. PolyJet technolog y is fast and can be used with a wide range of build materials. Consumer vs. Professional 3D Printing Based on cost, capabilities, and applications, the 3D printing market can be divided into distinct consumer (deskt op) and professional 3D printing. Consumer 3D Printing A nascent sub -section of the broader 3D printing industry, c onsumer or desktop 3D printing, targets hobbyist and amateur home users with small, affordab le and easy -to-use 3D printers. Despite giant strides in the last few years, desktop 3D printing remains a niche hobby. Rapidly improving capabilities and decreasing costs are expected to propel this industry to the mainstream within the next decade. The RepRap project, an open -source initiative laun ched in 2005 to create a printer that could print itself, was one of the first endeavors at developing a f easible desktop 3D printer. The industry was subjected to a major shot in the arm with the launch of the MakerBot in 2009. MakerBot built on concepts and ideas from the RepRap project an d started selling self -Example of a PolyJet 3D Printer 4

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assembled kits by April 2009. The commercial and critical success of MakerBots first printer, the Cupcake CNC, helped spur conversation in favor of desktop 3D printing. Consumers have a number of c hoices for desktop 3D pri nters today, including MakerBot Replicator 2, 3D Systems Cube, FlashForge 3D Printer and Solidoodle, among others. Features Consumer 3D printing aims to replicate the professional 3D printing experience at a smaller scale and price tag. As such, the key featur es of consumer 3D printers are: Price: Desktop 3D printer prices have been falling steadily over the last six years. While high -end printers such as MakerBot Replicator still cost in ex cess of $2,000, a number of cheaper competitors such as MakiBox A6 LT and Pira te3D Buccaneer are available at $200 and $347, respectively. With a number of patents c oncerning SLS expiring in 2014, prices are expected to come down further in the next few ye ars. Filament prices have been coming down as well, with a spool of mater ial costing between $21 to $50. Size: Consumer 3D printers are designed for home use. Consequently, they boast a very small footprint compared to their professional counterparts. The MakerBot Replicator 2X, for instance , measures 19.1 x 12.8 x 20.9 inches, which is barely larger than a standard multi -function office inkjet printer. Technology: Most desktop 3D printers are based on the FDM printing technology. As outlined above, this is a cost -effective, relatively eff icient technology that involves squirting heated plastic from a nozzle. Expect 3D printe rs based on SLS in the next few years as relevant patents expire in 2014. Materials: Consumer 3D printers use thermoplastics s uch as ABS or PLA for printing. Thermoplas tics melt when heated and solidify a t room temperature, making them perfect for the FDM printing process. Standardization: Increasing popularity has led to broad convergence among manufacturers on issues such as resolution, thermoplast ics and filament siz e. Filament size, for example, is now standardized at 1.75 millimeters in diameter and 0.1 millimeters in height. Most 3D printers sold today are capable of printing at standard 100 -micron resolu tion as well. Aesthetics: As desktop 3D printers are designe d for home use, aesthetics and design are major selling points. For example, the Pirate3D Buc caneer borrows design cues from Apple Power Mac G4 Cube, while competitors like MakerBot favor roughe r industrial 5

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Speed: Slow printing speed and frequent printing err ors are major challenges to the wide spread adoption of 3D printing. Accuracy: Although accuracy is gradually improving wit h each generation of desktop 3D printers, it remains sub -par when compared with profes sional 3D printers. This limits the complexity of objects that can be printed. Professional 3D Printing Professional 3D printing (also called advanced additive manufac turing) is the industrial -grade counterpart to consumer 3D printing. It is primarily used for concept modeling, manufacturing tooling, creating functional prototypes and even end -use p arts. Professional printers are significantly more expensive, powerful and efficient than desk top printers. To use a familiar analogy, professional 3D printers are the MS Word to desktop printers Notepad. Features The chief features of professional 3D printers are: Price: Professional 3D printers are used by design firms and hardware manufacturers for making molds and prototypes. Consequently, these printers have to a dhere to very strict quality standards. They must also be capable of printing large objects efficie ntly, all of which contribute to the price tag. A standard p rofessional 3D printer can cost upwards of $100,000. Size: Professional 3D printers vary signifi cantly in size. Mos t printers are the same size as large office copy machines and weigh anywhere from 30 t o 150 kilograms. Typically, the higher the resolution, accuracy, and speed of the printer, the larger the size. Production quality printers tend to be even larger, weighing in at a thousand or more kilograms (3D Systems Phenix PXL, for example, weighs 5,000 kilograms). Technology: Technologies employed range from FDM, SLS , SLA and PolyJet. This differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. Stratasys printers, for instance, primarily employ FDM and PolyJet. 3D Systems, on the other hand, offers printe rs that use DSLM, SLS and SLA technologies. Build Volume: Build volume is a significant consideration in professional 3D printers as it determines the la rgest part that can be built at once. A gain, this varies from model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer. For ex ample, build size for Stratasys Dimension Elite is 8 x 8 x 12 inches. The same for Strat asys Objet1000 is 39.3 x 31.4 x 1119.6 inches. 7

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Mat erials: One of the chief advantages of professio nal printers over their desktop counterparts is the range of materials they can print in . Most manufacturers have their own specially engineered portfolio of proprietary materia ls. The wide range of available materials means end users can select the material that fi ts their printing requirements. This includes thermoplastics (ABS, PC, ULTEM), photo polymers, SLA materials like 3D Systems Accura and SLS materials like CastForm and DuraForm. Software: Power and flexibility rather than ease of use are the chief requirements for professional 3D printing software. Most manufa cturers have their own range of software options. This includes 3D Systems GeoMa gic and Stratasys Objet Studio, CatalsyEX and Insight. Aesthe tics: Aesthetics arent nearly as important for profe ssional 3D printers as they are for desktop printers. Most professional printers offer stan dard industrial design that can blend in perfectly among copiers and 2D printers in a typical office setting. Re solution: Resolution refers to the minimum thickness of the build layer. It is a ke y requirement for professional applications. Professional pr inters can print at resolutions as low as 16 microns (Stratasys Objet1000). High -end production -grade printers ca n event print layers just three micron s thin (3D Systems sPro 60 HD). Applications The range of professional 3D printer applications includes: Concept Modeling: Concept modeling involves bringing early -stage ideas and concepts to life. Concept modeling is widely used in design, enginee ring and architecture firms for testing, proofing and fine -tuning raw designs. Rapid Prototyping: One of the key benefits of professional printers is their ability to make moving parts in different materials. This enables manufacturers to produce fully functional prototypes for testing purposes. Rapid prototyping can dramatically increase productivity and help identify errors early in the design process. Manufacturing Molds: Professional 3D printers enable manufacturers to make molds and casts for tools, fixtures and jigs in -house within hours, dramatically decreasing production time. 8

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Rapid Manufacturing: Decreasing costs and faster production speeds mean that manufacturers can use 3D printers to create end -use parts directly without tooling. Rapid manufacturing can be a viable alternative to assembly -line production in the coming few years if 3D printing technology keeps progressing at the current pace. Professional 3D printers are widely used in aerospace, de fense, medical, consumer goods, automotive and architecture industries. Limitations and Challenges Cost: Mid -range professional 3D printers usually cost in excess of $100,000. Combined with the high cost of proprietary materials, this can be prohibitively expe nsive for small manufacturers and startups. Availability: Huge demand and limited supply have affected the availability of 3D printers. Waiting periods for new printers can often stretch for months. Limited Materials: Compared to traditional manufacturin g, 3D printers can work with a very limited range of materials. Ease of Use: As a new technology, there is a steep learning curve to using 3D printers, which has affected adoption in many industries. Volume: 3D printing cannot compete with conventional m anufacturing on volume and remains confined to low -scale production and prototyping for now. Reduction in upfront and material costs along with better speeds may offset this in the near future. 9

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Key Takeaways Based on the benefits, features and limitati ons outlined above, we can make a comparison between professional and consumer 3D printing: Consumer 3D Printers Professional 3D Printers Price Between $200 and $3,000 $50,000 and above Build Volume Less than 10x10x10 in. Greater than 12x12x12 in. Materials Choice limited to 2 -3 materials Dozens of materials depending on manufacturer Resolution Approx. 100 microns As low as 3 microns in high -end printers Ease of Use Can be used by casual users Requires significant operational training Customization Limited Most printing parameters can be changed Software Easy to use, supports cloud printing, available on multiple devices Complex, requires trained operators, powerful Running Costs Low High: requires both expensive build materials and trained operators Applications Hobbyists and home users Rapid prototyping/manufacturing, manufacturing tooling, concept modeling in diverse industries 10

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