Also known as additive manufacturing, the 3D printing revolution is all set to alter the dynamics of manufacturing. The 3D printer prints a CAD model or a digital design into a 3D object. In this technology, the computerized design is deposited, joined, and solidified into a three-dimensional object in a layer-by-layer form. The concept of 3D printing is not new, but it exists for nearly 6 decades. Back in the 1980s, the sole purpose of 3D Printers was rapid prototyping. There it was used for the formation of functional and aesthetic prototypes. However, recently the 3D printers have up their game and are now used in industrial processes. Moreover, the world has recognized the utilities of using 3D printers, with big aims and ideas. For instance, Scientists expect colonizing Mars with the help of three-dimensional printing processes.
Back in the 2000s, only a few research institutes and offices had access to 3D printers. The machine consisted of large and expensive tools that were used for rapid prototyping. Then, a professor in Britain had an idea to develop a 3D printer that could print a 3D printer. The idea was appreciated and improved by a lot of technicians and engineers. Following that, many manufacturers built their variants of 3D Printers, and the companies started selling them. Nowadays, a 3D printer is available at a price ranging from $1500 to $5000, depending on performance. To illustrate, companies have adopted 3D printers for printing their internal products. Moreover, 3D printing reduces shipment and transportation costs. Those who are using these printers say that it is cheaper to print the product rather than buying it.
THE COVID SPIKE
The advent of the global pandemic, COVID-19 saw a spike in the usage and demand of 3D printers. Due to strict quarantine and social-distancing policies, world trade saw a full stop. The most important products during this time were the healthcare kits and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). The 3D printing of these items became common in developed countries. These countries flourished their exports in these testing times.
Plastic and ceramic-based 3D printing are already available. The beginners can easily print toys, household items, sports, and pharmaceutical goods. Companies and experts are using this technology to manufacture a wide range of products. from fully functioning bodies to edible sushi to human body parts! 3D printers have advanced more than one would think.
However, with the advent of every new technology, a common question is: what’s next? Will 3D Printers stay or fade away? In the future, 3D printers are expected to reduce industrial waste and increase the speed of production. The restaurants will be able to print food to serve. Doctors will be able to make custom organs that can be replaced after an injury. Clothing stores will send you a design and you can print them at home at your convenience. NASA has started using 3D printers to print rocket parts and space shuttle parts, and it is believed that this technology will help them to colonize Mars.
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