What Is 3D Printing And What Can Be Achieved With It?
If you think that these 3D printers are somewhat like the Star Trek replicators, then you might be right in some ways but don’t get too excited. They are not exactly like that. but there is a lot in common between those Star Trek replicators and the 3D printers.
For most of us, 3D printers might actually be out of reach, though there may be some at your local community, colleges or vocational schools. To completely understand what can be achieved with 3D printing, you need to take a step backwards. So, here we go.
What Exactly Is This 3D Printing Thing?
According to the definition, 3D printing is a way to create an actual physical object (that takes volume) from its digital model. The reason it is called 3D printing is because of the process it takes to complete the job is similar to regular normal everyday printing.
3D printers spray materials out of nozzles adding layers from the bottom to the top of the desired object. The process is identical to printing each and every layer of that material, and hence the name “3D Printing”.
This might be shocking to you, but 3D printers have been around for a long time.
So why is it so famous now?
Well, previously these 3D printers were a lot larger in size compared to now, yet with the improvement in technology (just like what happened with computers) they were able to reduce in size and in cost. It is also a lot easier to get hold of a 3D modelling software than it was before, like the free Autodesk 123D, hence it is now seeing more and more use in different applications.
3D printers are extremely popular among people who want to create their own specialized designs, and who like to tinker, aka the DIY people.
What Can We Do With These Printers?
Well, almost anything.
Yes, that’s true. You pretty much can do almost anything with these 3D printers. Its like having all the power in your hands. All you have to do, is think of making use of that power in real life, and you’re on your way.
Ranging from aerospace to automotive industries, 3D printers have been used for almost anything and everything (except printing “good” food. People are working on that though, which is kind of cool, because cooking and I don’t get along. Sorry cooking if you’re reading this). 3D Printing has allowed for cheap modeling and concepts allowing for great flexibility. This has been done for the past 25 years.
Now that those printers can be used in your office or home, the possibilities are endless.
While there are questions to be asked about 3D printing firearms and other complex potentially harmful materials which tend to appear in the mainstream media from time to time, that’s not the only thing that you can do with these printers but like most things you get both good and bad with it.
There is actually growing communities of different artists, businesses and other individuals that are always keen to explore the vast possibilities of the 3D printing. Below is a taste of what other people have been able to achieve with these printers that will get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to do some tinkering.
Prosthetic Arms for Children
We saw this when the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton made a prosthetic arm for a Sudanese bomb blast victim. That was just one piece of the story that gave inspiration to other people to made such arms all over the world.
A 4 year old kid was suffering from arthrogryposis, a rare condition restricting joint movement, was able to use her 3D printed artificial arm to lift toys and hug loved ones.
This is not an actual concept car that you can drive. It is a very small version that you can 3D print at your home. Honda provided these designs on their websites to their fans to customize the car according to their desire. Check it out here: Honda’s 3D Printed Cars.
3D printing is still an interesting topic for automobile manufacturers for printing prototypes. We won’t be surprised if we start seeing actual cars being 3D printed for actual usage.
3D printed crime scenes are just a nudge away from getting into a Courtroom near you. But if you’re in New Mexico, this might be something that the police might already be using.
They use a 3D Scanner to scan the crime scene area to compliment the standard photography.
Ranging from edible bikinis to clothes for daily wear, these have become a common thing.
All you have to do, is design the clothes that you want to wear, and just wait until it is 3D printed. Designers and some cloth manufacturing companies use 3D printers.
At the end of the day, you are simply limited by your own creativity and imagination. There are literally so many things you can do with 3D printers right now.
So how about you jump on board the 3D Printing bandwagon and show us your creative side.