3D printers have been around for more than 25 years now. But higher costs, big chunky machines and complex technology did not allow the 3D printers to come in mainstream. However, the recent leaps in technology have placed 3D Printing technology within the reach of global masses.
The year 2014 is touted as the year of 3D printers. The recently concluded CES 2014 exceedingly publicized the fact that 3D printers have arrived in a big way. With companies embracing the technology like never before, making it financially viable and user-friendly, it has accentuated the fact that 3D printing technology has opened a new world of possibility.
The evolved technology today manages to create an object from a detailed 3D file on a computer wherein it gets develop in layer-by-layer with a wide range of available materials. The technology enables a machine to produce and develop projects of any shape or size, right on the spot. Today’s technology not just uses plastic but has enabled the use of various other materials like ceramic, gold, titanium and several more.
The technology has evolved from the stage where it was just used for manufacturing prototypes, but with the new-found progress, the technology is used to manufacture the final products. Let’s see how 3D Printing is slowly changing the world around us.
The emotional story of a teenage bomb victim getting a new prosthetic arm which was created by a 3D printer at a mere cost of £60 has touched many hearts. It just goes on to show how technology will change the medical world. Chinese researchers have been successfully able to print human organs which use living cells instead of plastics. Though still in the development stage, it has already opened doors to potential medical applications.
Fast food giant, McDonalds is already working on an idea, to use in-store 3D printers for printing their famous Happy meal toys. The technology will lower the cost of manufacturing toys by at least 10 times. Not only this, technology will change the way children will play with their toys. Children will be able to customize their toys in the comfort of their home by downloading 3D design files.
3D printing has arrived big time in Fashion industry. With fashion houses like Victoria Secret and reality shows like ‘Project Runway’ embracing the 3D printing, the day is not far when we will be printing our own clothes at home. Imagine this, clothes which are custom-made for the specific body type.
The jewelry industry is also not left far behind. It’s possible to instantly produce beautiful pieces which could previously have required expensive machinery and complex methodology.
Food products using liquid or powder form can be easily be printed. The days are not far when we will be able to create entire dish made from scrap through 3D printing. Chocolate giant, Hershey has already partnered with a major 3D printing firm for customizing their chocolates.
Defense devices are much more complex and they are produced in relatively fewer units. Here, 3d Printers are the perfect solace cause unlike other manufacturing activities where low volumes can hike the prices; 3D printing can economically produce low volume batches. The first fully 3D-printed gun, named ‘Liberator’ has already been successfully produced.
The technology will help to manufacture an entire car at a very low cost. Innovative developers have already developed a first prototype of a fully functioning 3D printed car called Urbee 2. Major car companies like Bentley are already in the process to test prototypes for developing complex machinery parts which will in turn help to shorten the manufacturing cycle and lower the cost.
Customization will be the in thing with 3D printing. The companies like Nokia have released design files that will let the customers make their own cases. With commercial 3D printers making way into the mainstream, it will be possible to get every item tailor-made for oneself. Intricate, multicolored objects will be made in a jiffy to suits one desires and whims.
The 3D technology though is in its early stages, it sure has ushered the world in a new era. 3D printing will make its way into everyday life more and more.