How many of you remember the dot matrix printers of 1980s?
Nobody could have thought then, that we will have 3D printers to print anything from consumer goods to military/space equipment.
Simply put 3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing. 3D printers work like inkjet printers, but instead of ink they build 3D objects by adding layer upon layer of the material.
Today 3D printing uses variety of materials like Sugar, Nylon, human cells, metallic powder etc. to print anything.
- Medical : Bionic ear, Skin grafts, prosthetic limbs
- Military : weapon and arms manufacturing
- Engineering : various spare parts, cell phone displays, fuel injectors
- Manufacturing : items can be printed as required, JIT inventory
- Food : Edible object printing
Today there are 3D printing service website like Shapeways, Ponoko and Sculpteo that can very inexpensively print and deliver an object from a digital file that you simply upload to their website. You can even sell your 3D designs on their website.
MakerBot's Thingiverse is a thriving design community for discovering, making, and sharing 3D printable things.
Argos, a leading Digital retailer is working to improve customer experience with 3D printed customisable jewelry.
3D printing, artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, sensor technology and nanotechnology are examples that are radically going to change the way we do business.
Research is going on for 4D printing in which 3D printed objects can change the shape or colors dynamically, as shown in the movie Transformers.
With new materials being introduced, 3D printing can drastically impact our life. Some products may save our lives, others may extend lives and some brings ease to our daily activities!!