3D Printing. Now there’s an exciting, yet often unfathomable advancement in technology. 3D printing has been making waves in the news, and for good reason. It’s an incredible step forward, having practical, real-world effects, and making a positive impact on so many industries. Let’s take a minute or two to lay out just exactly what 3D printing is, why it’s so important, and what the future may hold. An Incredible Process
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the creation of multi-dimensional objects from a wide variety of materials, produced using many layers. Essentially, a digital model is turned into a substantial structure. The printing starts with a CAD file in which images are built in 3 dimensions. This information is than transferred to the printer, and layer by layer, the object is produced.
Truly, this is a revolutionary concept. As researchers have experimented with 3D printing, they’ve been able to craft objects from metals, plastics, and even human cells. One practical application of 3D printing technology might lead to the ability to download files right at home, then, using the correct 3D printer, print out a need item, such as a replacement part for an appliance.
Where is this Being Used?
At the moment, 3D printing is in experimental stages for some of the major things we’ve heard about in the news, such as printing human organs. Currently, some major companies utilise 3D printing to create prototypes of new products. 3D printing is an easy and faster way for these companies to have models of new designs and developments. President and CEO of Autodesk states that the real benefit of 3D printing will be in industrial markets, where this kind of technology could shape the future. He says that for industrial fabrication, 3D printing is a thing of beauty. Bass states that with 3D printing, “shape complexity is free. I can design anything I want to on the computer, and with little to no skill I hit the 'Print' button, and the right thing comes out."
What Will the Future Hold?
There are many possible avenues for the future of 3D printing, depending on its usability in the home or for personal use, as well as its growing popularity and accessibility. In other arenas, the future appears even brighter as there is a huge variety of practical applications for 3D printing.
As 3D printing is new and emerging, no companies are currently the market dominators. This gives rise to many opportunities to take advantage of the opportunity to get a stronghold and find their niche. 3D printing could open up whole new realms of industry.
Certain industries, such as health care, are likely to benefit immensely from 3D printing. Printing which manufactures much needed health care equipment could meet a vital need. This could keep expensive and necessary equipment in top working order, as replacement parts could be produced right in-house. In terms of 3D printing of organs or human tissues, some experiments have been successful, but it is a longer way off to mass-producing these things or making them accessible or affordable at this time.
Whatever the future of 3D printing holds, it is clear that this advent will change the face of technology for years to come.