How is Metal Additive Manufacturing Used in Science and Research Sectors?

In recent years, fiber lasers have revolutionised many industries, in what some are calling the second industrial revolution. Here we explore how additive manufacturing (often also interchangeably called 3D printing) is benefitting the world of Scientists, Researchers and Academics.

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A complex 3D printed part, which was created by the US Department of Energy

Scientific applications

There are numerous scientific applications of 3D printing, here are some examples:

  • Breakthroughs – Scientists as a part of their research can create new scientific breakthroughs using 3D printing technology. For example the 3D printing of chalcogenide glass, earlier this year.
  • Equipment – the creation of open source scientific equipment (often at lower cost)
  • Models – various models can be created, examples include:
    • architecture,
    • health applications – e.g. bones, limbs, organs and even tumours
    • artificial rocks (for drilling testing and experimentation)
  • Tools – printing of tools to use in scientific applications

Research applications

Additive manufacturing is used in many clinical research and academic settings for general research purposes. Here are some examples of applications:

  • Alternative production techniques – manufacturer research departments experiment with additive manufacturing to investigate its use as an alternative production technique
  • Collaboration – by sharing .STL files, researchers can share knowledge quickly with other researchers anywhere in the world
  • Education – 3D printing is used to create models of educational items (e.g. fossils and artefacts) and is classed as an important tool in STEM educational topics
  • Planning – additive manufacturing can be used in planning research (e.g. to plan a surgery)
  • Prototypes – creation of prototypes for use in many industries through rapid prototyping
  • Research laboratories – 3D printing is used in many research laboratories for a large number of purposes
  • Training – the process can be used in many ways to facilitate training of students and researchers

Other suggested reading

For further information about what additive manufacturing is and its capabilities also refer to the following SPI Lasers articles:

SPI Lasers – here for your additive manufacturing needs

Whatever your need for additive manufacturing we can help. Whether it’s for scientific, research or other purposes we have the fiber lasers you need.

View our contact details here and do not hesitate to contact our expert team who are always on standby and available to help.



Image Credit: United States Government Work


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