Just a few decades ago 3D printing technology still seemed like science-fiction. But it kept on developing in various directions, offering more and more possibilities.
The first printers supporting this technology were constructed in the 1990s. Prints that came out of those machines were not exactly perfect, but thanks to the continued work on improvements, the quality has been steadily increasing. 1999 marked a breakthrough in 3D printing in medicine: in the USA a human organ put in a biodegradable scaffold printed by a 3D printer was successfully transplanted. One year later scientists printed a real, working kidney and transplanted it into a rat.
3D printers prove to be useful in different types of engineering. Cutting edge technology makes it possible to create functional prototypes and quickly check how they work and what their properties are. Improvements to the concept are also easy to implement. Time and cost savings will not go unnoticed.
Expectations of the production industry are strictly defined: finding the best solutions while optimizing the costs. Thanks to 3D printing it is possible to create conceptual models or desired parts quickly, easily and at low cost. This allows you to check the performance of particular elements and reduce the cost of high-volume production.
Artists particularly appreciate the potential of 3D printers and use them to create jewellery, masks and other decorations. 3D printing has found its application in many art studios, becoming a technology which allows the artists to create even the most bizarre projects.
Development in all directions
Another milestone was reached in 2008 when a “Darwin” 3D printer was able to print on its own most of the parts needed to complete a copy of itself. In the same year a leg prosthesis was printed from A to Z without the need of assembling any of its elements. In 2011, in Southampton, a printer needed only one week to finish an airplane and in Canada an environmentally friendly car with printed elements of bodywork was presented.
What’s next? The potential of 3D printing is almost infinite. Who could have expected that we would be printing prostheses, spare parts and even food?
The education sector benefits greatly from the advantages offered by 3D prints. Conduct classes on 3D printing techniques, teach how to design with CAD software, develop and improve different kinds of products. The choice of filament should be made on the basis of the print’s purpose and the effect you want to achieve.
Creating models of products using traditional methods may take some time and may not be worth it from the financial point of view. 3D printing is a new technology that allows you to prepare realistic prototypes in a short time and at low cost. It is possible to create even the most complicated shapes easily and make adjustments and improvements to your projects smoothly.
New technologies and the toy industry may seem distant from each other. But the truth is, they go hand in hand. With the use ofa 3D printer you can create many original toys for children, which with traditional methods would take a lot of time and a lot of money. You can use several filaments to make bricks, human or animal figures.