There’s no doubt about it: 3D printing is one of the biggest technological breakthroughs in the world. If you’ve watched the show Westworld, you know exactly how powerful this technology can be. As futuristic as it seems, the ability to create anything out of literally nothing is truly possible today and paves the way for massive changes in almost every manufacturing industry.
Today’s post discusses the ways in which 3D printing is changing the development of new technology. From freedom of design to dynamic adaptability, we’ll take a look at the many different benefits offered to the tech sphere by this unique process.
First thing’s first… what is 3D printing?
In the past, we’ve covered the basics of buying a 3D printer and how they work, but it’s worth clarifying how they work for the purpose of this post. At its core, 3D printing refers to the process of building an object layer by layer. Unlike a standard 2D printer, these devices print three-dimensional material until a full-size model is complete.
There are all sorts of materials you can use to print with in 3D. Here are just a few:
- ABS – A low-cost material that can withstand high temperatures; great for printing tough, durable parts
- Filaments – Flexible filaments (commonly referred to as TPE or TPU) are known for being highly flexible, allowing the material to easily bend and stretch
- PLA – Popular for its ease of use, low cost, and dimensional accuracy
- Nylon – Offers resistance to impact and abrasion due to its tough material
- PVA – Known for its ability to dissolve in water; often used as support material for complex 3D prints
These examples merely scratch the list of materials you can use with a 3D printer. Other options include metal-filled, wood-filled, and carbon-filled filaments that help designers achieve the look and feel of their intended object.
But what does 3D printing opportunities hold for the future with respect to new technology?
Expanding the horizon of possibilities
Although the technology is still in its infancy, 3D printing has brought massive changes to industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, electronics, and more. In fact, it’s predicted to become a $30 billion market as early as 2022. Why? Because an industrial 3D printer allows companies to design highly-specified parts with no extra cost in wasted material.
A 3D printer completely changes the way products are made thanks to its capability for hyper-personalization and fast production time. Essentially, if you can draw it, you can print it! Think of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks and the thousands of inventions contained within its pages. Could you imagine the possibilities if he could simply print them into existence?! The world would be filled with flying machines and humanoid robots much earlier in history—and who’s to say how they might have improved and evolved since then?
The only limit to technological development is imagination
As 3D printing trends pick up speed, we’re witnessing incredible transformation across all sorts of industries. Gaming and animation has become far more immersive; 3D modeling within television and film reduces production costs; 3D printed organs have saved thousands of lives.
There are thousands upon thousands of items that you can make with a 3D printer, including everything from a hand-made camera lens to building blocks for toys. The complexity of the object depends on the size of the printer and the materials used.
Currently, 3D printers tend to be very large and expensive, but with the development of technology, they’re bound to become more affordable and accessible in time. As they make their way into homes, offices, and schools, it’s truly inspiring to think of the many different ways a 3D printer has the potential to change daily lives.
It could be used to create Braille picture books for blind students, desks or storage systems for work, and beautifully-designed artwork for the home. As we head towards 2020, we can’t help but marvel at the many and diverse capabilities this powerful technology provides.
Want to learn more? There is plenty of information out there about 3D printing! From its effect on healthcare, to gaming, to the best apps and 3D printers on the market. Good luck with all your printing endeavours!