3D printing has been around for three decades, but only in the last few years has the technology become a serious contender for displacing conventional manufacturing methods now that it can achieve material strength that rivals legacy offerings and can deliver parts in a fraction of the time. With additive manufacturing – the most common type of 3D printing – a printer adds successive layers of material only where needed, layer upon layer, until the three-dimensional object is created. “Until we’re all 3D printing at home with our upcycled household trash, we’re still transporting something,” Faludi said. Fortify makes the 3D printing machines that sit in a manufacturing environment, as well as the materials used in printing. 3D printing still has a long journey to circularity when it comes to the raw materials it uses. Until we’re all 3D printing at home with our upcycled household trash, we’re still transporting something. While the theoretical environmental advantages of 3D printing are clear, little work has been done to quantify the actual benefits of specific processes or materials.
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