Technology On The Edge: What is the Future of 3D Printing?

By Ashutosh Jha → Last Updated on Thursday, March 14, 2019
Don't you wish that whenever you wanted something, you could just make it appear? In the last decade, 3D printing technology has made great strides toward making that possible.

What is the Future of 3D Printing
A prediction by Siemens anticipates that 3D printing will be 50% cheaper and up to 400% faster in the next five years.

3D Printing Market
So if that's the case, what is the future of 3D printing?

What is a 3D Printer?

3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is a technology that is able to create a physical object from a digital blueprint.

Printers for individual use are small, and the cheaper models only cost around two hundred dollars. But there are also huge versions (costing hundreds of thousands of dollars) which are capable of printing buildings.

How Does 3D Printing Work?

A 3D printer works by reading the digital blueprint and using a material called filament to print the object from bottom to top, layer by layer.

Filaments are generally made from plastic. More recently, they have also been made of other materials like metal, concrete, and even chocolate.

Some machines use heat to melt/soften the material and wait for one layer to dry before adding the next layer. Some methods use lasers; others cut materials in the desired shape and adhere them together.

Picture it like this: If you printed the same sentence in the same place on the same piece of paper enough times, you would see and feel the ink becoming raised on the paper.

The Future of 3D Printing

The possibilities for 3D printing are virtually endless. Many experts expect 3D printing to become mainly used by big companies. For them, 3D printing future possibilities could increase productivity and lower production costs.

Right now, 3D printing is not exactly cost-effective for mass manufacturing. But there are still many groundbreaking projects in the works.

In the future, we might see 3D printing responsible for huge feats such as reducing world hunger and/or homelessness.

If you have your own project in mind, check out this website for help with 3D printing your designs.

3D Printing Food

Did you ever think it would be possible to simply print a meal when you got hungry?

The technology to do so is closer than you might think. In 2013, NASA funded a 3D printing project that aimed to give astronauts better food alternatives in space.

The alternative, exactly? 3D printed pizza. Pizza is the perfect food to start with because its structure is already layered.

Forbes reported that the same technology could be used to serve the elderly in hospitals or rehabilitation-type facilities.

This would be done by storing powders and oils in single-use, recyclable cartridges, which would effectively reduce food waste.

3D Printing Accessories

While NASA is 3D printing pizzas, Adidas is 3D printing shoes.

Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to 3D print shoes and benefit the environment at the same time. The Parley UltraBOOST Xs are made from reclaimed ocean waste and plastic collected from beaches.

And Adidas isn't the only company taking advantage of 3D printing technology. Formlabs and 3Shape are collaborating to make custom earbuds.

3Shape's in-ear scanner scans an individual's ear in order to produce an earbud that will fit any unique shape. According to Formlabs, "a truly custom-fit earbud can provide long-term wear, comfort, stability, noise reduction and noise cancellation from the environment."

3D Printing in the Medical Field

The future of 3D printing is especially promising in the medical field. Already, there are multiple innovative ways that it is being used in medicine.

One big way that 3D printing is being used is for bioprinting tissues. Living cells, also called bio-ink, are used to print living tissue in a lab. This type of technology could potentially be used to print blood vessels.

3D printers can also be used to create cheaper, customized prosthetics. This makes prosthetics more accessible to everyone, including those in developing areas.

And it doesn't stop there. Facilities are even printing surgical instruments and other medical equipment. Not only is this method cheaper, but it ensures that the tools are sterile.

Additionally, 3D printers can be used to create patient-specific models for physicians to practice on. This allows doctors to get a better idea of what they're looking at before the patient is on the operating table.

Thus, patients will spend less time under anesthesia and hopefully have better surgical outcomes.

3D Printing Homes

Building a house using traditional methods can take months. But a 3D printed house can be completed in just days.

A non-profit called New Story partnered with ICON in 2018 to build the first permitted 3D printed home in America. The optimized version of their printer will have the capability to print a small home in 24 hours for around $4,000.

This new building method could mean a lot for the homeless community. These homes can be constructed quickly, and at a fraction of the cost of average American houses.

But 3D printed homes aren't just for the disadvantaged. 3D printing will leave more room for creativity and architectural freedom when designing houses. Gone will be the days of cookie-cutter housing developments!

Check out this article for the other nine technology trends in the construction industry in 2019.

3D Printing and You

The future of 3D printing affects pretty much everyone. It's improving our environment, it's providing affordable housing, and someday it might even print you an organ.

By using 3D printers to manufacture locally, products can be created on-demand. This will reduce overproduction and pollution from transportation services.

Our future generations may even see personal 3D printers in their homes.

If 3D printing has changed your life, let us know here!

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Ashutosh Jha

Ashutosh Jha is a professional blogger, Blog and IT Consultant. He writes about Blogging, SEO, Making Money, Internet Marketing and Web Design.
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