Although it has only been in the public consciousness for a few years, 3D printing actually got its start way back in the 1980s. It had a different and less sexy name (additive manufacturing and was very rudimentary but it set the stage for the 3D printing we know today. The technology uses a digital file and a manufacturing device that lays down successive layers of material to create a 3D version of the digital object.
It seems like the stuff of science fiction, but the science is with us today. As the technology becomes more refined its uses increase dramatically. Today 3D printers like the ones from Konica Minolta Australia are used consistently in a range of industries. Here is how it is changing the world.
3D printing has been used to print entire homes. One was created in Moscow in fewer than 24 hours, showing the power and potential of the technology. Today it is also used to print portions of homes. It is an ideal option to create fast shelters after a disaster and where moving construction materials is difficult or impossible, you can construct the materials on site. In a world where too often people are without shelter 3D printing is proving that home construction can be inexpensive and fast. There is also a rush to use the technology in commercial buildings. The cost savings and speed projected makes this new technology a must try. There are several commercial construction projects underway right now that will demonstrate the power and versatility of 3D printing.
Prosthetic Limbs and Other Body Parts
The prosthetics industry struggles with providing enough high quality artificial limbs to people. Each one has to be designed and created specifically for the person who will use it and with each limb being unique, costs are exorbitant. Because so many military veterans find themselves on long waiting lists for limbs the technology took off in that community. People began to print limbs for vets and both the creativity and construction was so advanced that now an entire industry has been spawned.
The bigger picture is that 3D printing will one day be used to print actual limbs and even organs for people. Imagine needing a new liver or kidney and a healthy one is simply printed for you on the spot. We are actually not too far off from this being a reality.
Manufacturing is an obvious choice for 3D printing. Today nearly every manufacturing process and product is being considered as a 3D printing target. In the meantime nearly all industries are using the tech to create models of their products. Whether it is automotive, aerospace or biotech, 3D printing helps to give fast and cheap sometimes working models of a product. This allows for faster turnarounds and fewer mistakes to the final version of the product. Replacement parts are also a target area for 3D printing. Instead of purchasing a part and having it shipped, the company can have the product made right at the client’s business saving time and shopping costs.
Because you can construct whatever you can imagine, 3D painting is used to create new versions of musical instruments. Whether it is flutes, banjoes or stringed instruments, these new versions of the classical version of the instrument is expanding the sounds available. You can buy these instruments today and make music tomorrow.
3D printing is so amazing because it has the ability to create the widest variety of objects of any product we have ever encountered. 3D printers are now using biological material to make products, and soon you will be able to purchase a 3D printed hamburger. It truly is a new world!