“Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands and thus undermines economies of scale. It may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did.” – The Economist, February 10, 2011
With advancements in printing technology, specifically 3D printing, creating three dimensional objects has become easier than ever before. 3D printing works by creating successive layers of material from a digital file and printing and compiling them with a materials printer. The technology has also made it possible to print different parts and assemblies of an element and add them together in a single build process.
In this post we look at the current state and potential uses of 3D printing.
3D Printing in Industry
During the last decade, 3D printing technology has been applied in many industries, such as aerospace, architecture, industrial design, medical, civil engineering and jewelry. Many engineers believe that 3D printing technology still has growth potential and in the near future, it is likely to be the guiding force behind all printing related services.
Clearly Engineering is the industry that concerns us the most with 3D Printing technology, but let’s take a look at this and a few other industries utilising this ever-growing technology:
- Engineering – Creating a model is a prerequisite for most engineering projects. Before 3D printing it was a matter of huge investment in terms of time and money. It required assembling different components and compiling them together through trail and error. However, with the use of a 3D printer, engineers now can create a three-dimensional prototype of a product in a cost-effective and time-saving manner.
- Medicine – Sometimes surgeons need to practice a complicated surgical procedure prior to their actual performance in theatre. In such cases, 3D printing technology can be quite effective in reproducing a model of bone grafts of the patient.
- Education – Modern colleges and universities stress learning through illustrations. 3D printing makes learning easy as well as inspiring for students. Here again, 3D printing can be quite effective for creating exact visual aids conveniently and cost effectively.
- Architecture – Architects need to make a three-dimensional model of any project at the planning stage. They can create an accurate mockup of the design quickly and conveniently through the use of 3D printers.
- Paleontology and Archaeology – Archeology often requires studying precious one of a kind ancient artifacts. Creating several 3D replicas of these relics is important in order to allow several scientists to research the same project at the same time. Applications of 3D printing technology can be useful in the reproduction of replicas as well.
We can also find applications of 3D printing technology in advertising and marketing, forensic pathology, and other fields.
How do you feel this new emerging technology is going to impact our industry? Let us know in the comments below.