Advances With 3D Printing in the HVAC Industry
Dec 23, 2021
3D printing has been around for a while but has only recently become precise enough and inexpensive enough for it to become more commonplace, both in a variety of different industries and even for individuals to do at home. In many cases, 3D printing is the future of innovation within industries because there’s so much flexibility with what a 3D printer can create. The HVAC industry is no exception.
What Is 3D Printing?
3D printing is similar to regular printing in that it creates a physical representation of a digital file. Instead of an image or words on a piece of paper, in 3D printing, the result is an actual, physical object made of plastic. 3D printing works by printing layer upon layer of the plastic, combining many 2D layers together to form a 3D object. 3D printing is becoming more common due to its increasing precision and lowering costs. Despite this, in the HVAC industry, using standard parts is still less expensive than 3D printing, unless it’s a special project with a large budget.
How Does 3D Printing Work?
The 3D printing process starts with the design stage. Unlike regular 2D printing, which can print from a word processor, web page, or another source, 3D printing requires special software. In this software, you first design the model that the 3D printer will use as a guide for the printing process. Once the design is ready, feed the plastic material into the 3D printer and start the printing process. 3D printing can take a long time, depending on the size and complexity of the item.
How Common Is 3D Printing in the HVAC Industry?
At the moment, 3D printing isn’t playing a huge role in the HVAC industry. This is because, for the most part, parts that need to be replaced are already readily available. Air conditioning units typically have standard-sized ducts, vents, and other parts that can be purchased as-is instead of having to be created especially for a certain project.
It’s not necessary yet for HVAC specialists to add 3D printing to their list of skills. However, 3D printing can offer a lot of options to a project and may play a larger role in the future of the industry.
How Can 3D Printing Help the HVAC Industry?
3D printing adds a lot of options to the HVAC industry. If a project requires a specialized design, 3D printing can quickly and easily print it at a lower cost than having to hire a company to manufacture it. With 3D printing, professionals in the industry can have the freedom to design better options that work more effectively and efficiently. Already, the University of Maryland, alongside the US Department of Energy and 3D Systems, has designed a more efficient heat exchanger via 3D printing.
Want More Home Energy News?
Check out our blog for the latest news monthly.