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State Of Purpose: Mechanical Engineer Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

Ever since I was little I have always been interested in how things work, and I have always thought about how I could build them work better. As an example, I lived in Japan for two years while I was in first and second grade. I went to a small public school and loved to ski with my friends, we probably went skiing at least once a week during the winter. When I was skiing I would always be fascinated by the ski lifts and spend a good deal of time staring at them to try and figure out how they worked. And eventually I did. That is just one example of my everyday life. I want to have a career in what I already love doing -- learning how machines work and making my own. The first time I ...view middle of the document...

A 3D printer is a machine that takes a raw material, which is almost any kind of plastic, and turns it into a finished product without the need for machining or a mold. 3D printers make things that are as strong and sturdy as any other process, so you can use them right out of the printer. It is a fast, cheap and strong way for making prototypes, which could be mass produced later. It all starts with a computer program taking a 3D file which is a CAD (computer-aided design) file, occasionally in the format of .stl, of something like an iPhone case. First, it slices it up into hundreds of layers, and then it sends that to the printer through a USB cable, although some commercial 3D printers are wireless. Then the printer proceeds to lay down one layer of the iPhone case, another on top of it and so on, until a finished iPhone case or other product is made. It is a totally automated process. There are tons of different kinds of 3D printers, some use UV cured resin and a laser, some use powdered plastic and a laser, and a few specific printers can even print in metal. The one I made uses plastic filament similar to weedeater wire and pushes it through a heated nozzle like a hot glue gun. Then it lays down a bunch of lines of melted plastic next to each other to build the solid layers of the "iPhone case". A 3D printer can print in mixed colors if the plastic coming in is mixed or if you have more than one extruder, one for each color. 3D printing can be used for artwork, hobbies, prototyping, jewelry, replacement parts and making other printers! Yes, you can actually print the parts to build another 3D printer. A typical desktop 3D printer is about the size of a microwave oven or a little larger, mine is about eighteen inches square. ...

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