You’ve probably heard of 3D printing. If you know a little about it, you probably associate it with the smell of hot plastic–like those plastic animal figures you’d get from the zoo as a kid. You know that a 3D printer prints three-dimensionally, using plastic. You may be vaguely aware that 3D printing has uses in manufacturing. You may not, however, know that 3D printing can be used to create human organs, or that it has a hundred personal uses at home. 3D printing is steadily changing the face of the future, from improving the cost of manufacturing, to developing the potential to save lives. A fascinating innovation, 3D printing is something you should know more about.
How 3D Printing Works
3D printing is essentially just what it sounds like. There’s a reason it’s called “printing” and not something else since the process is essentially one long series of plastic layers. Rather than printing a single layer of ink onto a sheet of paper, a 3D printer prints one thin slice of plastic at a time. Each slice can be different, depending on the specifications in the design, so by the time it gets to the top, the printer can have created a six-inch dragon, a coffee mug, or a three-inch cog. A simple concept, the possibilities of 3D printing are limitless, and businesses, scientists, and individuals are realizing that for themselves.
Who Uses 3D Printing?
At this point in time, 3D printing is predominantly used by manufacturing companies. As you can imagine, 3D printing has many uses from a business perspective, especially regarding prototypes. A business typically owns their own 3D printer or outsources to a 3D printing service. 3D printers are also used at home. Costly, but well worth it for some, 3D printers can be purchased for use at home, and used for common household items like shower curtain rings, safety razors, or even cookie cutters. Most intriguing of all, 3D printers are also being used by medical researchers, in an attempt to create human organs for transplant.
How 3D Printing Is Being Used For Innovation
3D printing is helping pave the way for hundreds of new ideas and innovations. Since they’re so cost-effective, 3D printed prototypes allow businesses to test not one, but multiple ideas at once, speeding up the production process and saving thousands every year. 3D printing, since designs are stored virtually, also saves companies warehouse space, further cutting costs each year. 3D printing has entrepreneur uses at home, for anyone who wants to design and market 3D printed products.
Most interesting of all, 3D printers are being used to create organs for transplant–not by using plastic, but a mixture of living cells and smart gel. Once the organ is formed, held in place by the smart gel, the gel is washed away, leaving a usable human organ. That’s the idea anyway–and in future years, we can expect 3D printing to not just be saving money, but saving lives.
If you are interested in even more 3D printing-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot to choose from.