Additive Manufacturing: A Tool for Better Education

Additive Manufacturing: A Tool for Better Education

Hridayjit Kalita (Birla Institute of Technology Mesra, India), Divya Zindani (National Institute of Technology Silchar, India) and Kaushik Kumar (Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9167-2.ch003
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Additive manufacturing (AM) is the most advanced recently trending manufacturing technique that employs 3D printers to create 3D objects by layer upon layer fabrication from the base to the top. The required trajectory of the fabricating tool to create the layer can be well programmed by CAD software available in the market. The 3D CAD model in the computer can be manipulated and customized for different design needs of the product. These manipulations in model and quick fabrication process make the system a flexible and an effective one. This chapter discusses the AM application in educational system by describing the individual AM processes, their limitations, advantages, feasibility in general conditions, and planning for future generations to get accustomed to this technology from the early education in schools to the specialized education in universities. The technology enables students to convert 2D objects into 3D on the CAD software and feel them physically by 3D printing. AM also enables teachers to demonstrate their ideas easily to students.
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The traditional methods of manufacturing required separate processes of casting, machining, joining, which consumed a lot of energy, labour power and time. Moreover, a lot of material is wasted in shaping the workpiece into its desired shape [ASTM, 2010; Kruth et al., 1998; Levy et al., 2003]. There is no flexibility in design change and dimensional errors are common. The arrangements of the equipment for the above-mentioned processes cannot be relocated (due to bulk equipment) to a new facility with ease and lots of hazards can be associated with the relocation such as noise hazards [Jaymes, 2012; Niosh, 2011]. Precautionary guidelines must be tight and safety clothing must be worn by every working personnel.

Additive manufacturing (AM) is the process of replicating a given CAD 3D model into a physical model by sequentially generating layers one above the other [ASTM, 2010] based on the cross-sectional area of the slice that has been cut across the 3D CAD model. It can be considered the “3rd industrial revolution” and recently gained tremendous popularity [Lolur & Dawes, 2014]. AM can eliminate all the above mentioned drawbacks of traditional manufacturing by shifting the manufacturing technique to an additive one [Huang et al., 2012] rather than the subtractive one as used in the traditional approach. This facilitates AM manufacturing process to fabricate solid objects having complex and sharp features [Levy et al., 2003; Kruth et al., 1998; ASTM, 2010] at minimum utilization of raw material [Huang et al., 2012]. It also implies that the material quantity to be used for a given 3D CAD solid model to be physically built, can be decided right in their designing phase and the same amount of material can be pre-ordered for production. The flexibility in design change during production adds up to feature for customized production [Huang et al., 2012]. In spite of all these advantages, AM processes lags behind in the strength of their components, fatigue resistance and material limitations. ABS and PLA are the major materials used for 3DP and since ABS extrusion emits an unpleasant odour resulting in requirement of proper ventilation and isolated space, 3DP integrated libraries (as will be explained in the below sections) adopt PLA which emit a pleasant sweet fragrance [Bharti et al., 2015].

Also known as the rapid prototyping [Kruth et al., 1998] and rapid manufacturing [Levy et al., 2003], the AM technology, integration with the educational system has been studied across various domains like architecture [Celani, 2012; Paio et al.; 2012, Oxman, 2010], computing [Eisenberg, 2013; Ishengoma & Mtaho, 2014], engineering [Stier & Brown, 2000; Chong et al., 2018], library studies [Niaki & Nonino, 2017; Wei et al., 2017; Huang et al., 2013; Seuring & Muller, 2008], science [Horowitz & Schultz, 2014; Cook et al., 2015; Loy, 2014; McGahern et al., 2015; McMenamin et al., 2014; Horejsi, 2014], medicine [Oxman, 2010; Ishengoma & Mtaho, 2014] and technology [Schelly et al., 2015; Buehler et al, 2016; Buehler et al., 2014]. The need for this integration can be realised with the growing difference in adoption rate of AM technology and human skills to the industrial advancement and there is a chance that humans may lag behind on this technology and skills associated with it [Simpson et al., 2017; Despeisse et al., 2017; U.A.M.S. Group, 2016; Snyder et al., 2014; A.M., 2017].

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