Say you wanted something built (Item X) and you went to a large company that owned the factory that could produce item X; Item X’s manufacturer would need particular knowledge and equipment to produce that special bespoke, which would cost you a lot of money. But now 3D Printing has arrived and we find ourselves on the threshold of a technological and industrial revolution. Now it’s no longer about mass quantity meaning low prices because with a 3D Printer you can make anything: that’s really anything.
Today, Item X would need to go through various stages of assessment, shaping and construction to get to the desired form. This by itself is a costly procedure, especially if it’s for anything vaguely mechanical, and only cost effective if you plan to produce more than 1,000 items. However, if Item X were made in a 3D Printer the costs would be minimal because a digital printer is not limited by specific forms and palettes; much like a conventional printer it uses a number of different materials, from paper to plastics, to put together any shape or creation imaginable. You can see a real example of this at The 3D Printshow in October.
The idea of 3D Printing has been the dream of many a designer for years. The repercussions of such a device on our daily lives would be phenomenal. At these early stages 3D printers have created a violin (an instrument that requires a supreme amount of skill to create), human faces and statues. The idea behind 3D Printing is that a digital copy of the item is fed into the machine, a 3D camera can do it; the object is then textured by laying down successive layers of material. The ability to create an object, however intricate, and not create any waste (from drilling, hollowing and shaping) is amazing.
With this ground-breaking development now with us, we can only look to the future and all its benefits. If 3D Printing can make a violin then surely it can make a bone for someone or even a fully working heart, artificial organs that are perfect and precise replicas of what they’re replacing rather than industry standards. Already medical science is benefiting from this technology and for all those pessimists who consider this a fad or believe it will ruin the future of the industrial sector, they need to look at the wasteful technology we have currently and the cleaner future that will come with a 3D Printer future.
For information on the new technologies available by 3D Printing check out The 3D Printshow being held in London in October.