It seems like 3D printing is everywhere nowadays, and with good reason. 3D printing is quite literally changing the world, one industry at a time. From entertainment to medical needs, 3D printing has unlimited potential, most of which hasn’t been unlocked yet.
Not only does 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, make it easier and more cost-effective to create products for consumers, but it’s also one of the most promising technologies of today. In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 of the unexpected ways 3D printing is changing every industry.
1. Construction is Less Expensive
In the past, building materials were costly. Homes and commercial buildings were a costly undertaking, and this drove up housing costs. Today, there are more affordable options. Building new homes has never been more affordable, and this is an important development in a world where housing is becoming more expensive.
3D printing is used not only to make construction less harmful to the environment, but it also saves time and money. Materials can be printed, as needed, at the site of the construction project. This means there are fewer transportation costs, and it’s much easier to recycle goods that aren’t needed. This technology is already being used in China where low-cost homes are being built quickly for only $5000. Building technology with 3D printing has unlimited potential.
2. Medical Technology
Of course, one of the most exciting ways 3D printing is being used is with medical technology. While we can’t quite print organs yet, we can print prosthetics. In the past, prosthetics were costly. They needed to be customized, and this would be a long, expensive process that left patients waiting for the medical equipment they need.
Today, 3D printing offers an affordable solution. 3D printing allows prosthetics to be built quickly and to custom specifications. More importantly, this technology can be used in parts of the world where medical equipment isn’t always easy or affordable to come by. By creating more affordable, attainable prosthetics, this technology is more accessible to everyone.
3. Printable Food
Who wouldn’t want to print yummy food on demand? While it might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, it’s actually becoming reality. Printable food is not only possible, but it’s already happening. Some 3D printers are already being used to print chocolates, candies, and pizza. Yum!
So how will this technology be used? While it’s unlikely it will gain in popularity in regular restaurants, it’s especially valuable in areas where fresh food isn’t easy to come by. For instance, these food printers are very useful for astronauts in space who have limited food access.
4. Reduce Manufacturing Waste
3D printing and manufacturing go hand-in-hand. This is the most well-known application of additive manufacturing, and it’s changing the way companies produce products. While some of the perks include customizable prototypes and quick turnaround time, the real bonus is the way 3D printing protects the environment. (source: https://www.3erp.com/services/)
Plastic is a huge problem for our world today. Too much plastic and material wastes are polluting our oceans and lands. With additive manufacturing, there’s significantly less waste. 3D printing machines use only what’s needed, and the rest can be recycled for future products.
5. Share Art with the Public
Finally, 3D printing is also making it easier for the general public to interact with fine art in a new way. We’ve all been to art museums where the work is hidden away behind glass. Some of the particularly delicate pieces are likely not shown to the public at all.
These walls are being broken down thanks to 3D printing. By offering realistic scans of these works, the public can interact with them closely in a new way. These will look and feel identical to the original, though there’s no risk of them being destroyed. Ultimately, this is an effective and unique educational opportunity. The Smithsonian is already offering scans for 3D printers which are being used in classrooms across the globe.
We have a lot more to learn about 3D printing, but it’s already clear this technology has made a lasting impact. Thanks to this innovation, we now have improvements across industries. These range from making pizza in space to printing medical equipment.
How is your industry impacted by 3D printing? It’s only a matter of time before 3D printing is the new normal across the board. What will you think of next?