Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. A 3D printer is similar to a normal printer, however a normal printer produces ink on paper. 3D printers, on the other hand, layer atoms on top of each other to create, or print, actual 3D objects.
#9 3D Printing Now
The revolution from previous 3D printing methods to what has been developed today, all began when companies like 3D Systems started designing “radically new materials”. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes.
#8 The Dental Industry
3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling. That’s right, the dental industry is one industry that is making use of the revolutionary 3D printer. Dating back as recent as 5 years ago, if you went to a dentist to get a crown for your teeth, you would have bitten into clay to produce a mould of your teeth. Fast-forward to the present and crowns are now made completely using 3D technology.
#7 Point and Click
With the introduction of 3D printing comes the innovation of instant CAD files through laser scanners. Of course, as with most new technologies, this method is a concern to personal property, ownership and copyright. A company called FARO Technologies produces a handheld laser that you can point at an object, and the laser will then create a CAD file of what you’re pointing at in real time. A materials printer usually performs 3D printing processes using digital technology.
#6 3D Printing At Home?
The first working 3D printer was created in 1984 by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp. That’s correct! It is believed that one day in the future, basically every household will own a 3D printer that they will use on a regular basis for all kinds of needs. Don’t worry, you won’t have to be a millionaire to afford one. Six years ago, 3D printers were selling for a huge sum of $100,000! Just imagine replacing your paper and ink printers with one of these amazing machines!
#5 3D Printing And Space
The 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction, aerospace etc. 3D printers are even being developed for space technology! Is there anything they can’t do? NASA has recently contracted a company called Made In Space to develop the first-ever 3D printer for microgravity. Other companies have also been quick to pick up on the new 3D-printing-in-space craze.
#4 Gun Control And 3D Printing
Defense Distributed, a Texas-based group, announced that it had created the world’s first 3D-printed handgun. As expected, the news sent shock waves throughout America, and a debate for the regulation of printed guns was born. Recently, The U.S. State Department sent a letter to Defense Distributed demanding it remove the software for 3D-printed guns from its website.
#3 Helping Developing Countries
Technology experts have stated that 3D printing can help third world countries who are struggling to obtain everyday items that we take for granted. It has been speculated that 3D printing may become a mass market item because open source 3D printing can easily offset their capital costs by enabling consumers to avoid costs associated with purchasing common household objects. The items can be mass-produced quickly using recycled plastic at a cheap rate, therefore allowing developed countries to help out those dealing with poverty.
#2 Print An Organ
If someone requires an organ, it could soon become as easy as just printing one! A materials printer usually performs 3D printing processes using digital technology. Medical experts are excited for what the future holds when it comes to 3D printing, as it could provide the world with much-needed medical advancements, including helping with organ replacements. Bio-printing is a term which means “the production of human organs for transplant”.
#1 The Automotive Industry
Since 3D printing is set to take the manufacturing industries by storm, this also means that the automotive industry will be transformed. 3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling. Already, entire car bodies, fully functional bicycles and even perfectly flyable drone airplanes have all been printed using the technology. The possibilities are endless! Experts have even claimed that 3D printers will allow the replacement of rare parts from antique models of cars.