3D printing: Its history, applications and future prospects

Cloud 3D Print

Many of us are of the view that 3d printing just magically came into the scene out of nowhere and became popular at once. While there are many reasons associated with this sudden rise in the popularity of the 3d printing business, it should be noted that 3d printing in and of itself is not a new phenomenon. In this article, we’ll take a look at why 3d printing has become so widespread now and what are its prime uses and charms. If you want to quickly have a grasp over the wider 3d printing phenomenon, you’ve come to the right place.

3d printing is in purely technical terms, an additive manufacturing technique. The technique itself originated in 1984. But in the first two decades, 3d printing largely remained restricted to industrial-scale manufacturing. The main reasons were that the technology still didn’t mature and was still very costly. In the early 2000s however, technologists started to conceive the idea of a home desktop-based 3d printer and it was only a matter of time before 3d printing stepped out of the realm of mega industrial sheds and entered offices and homes.

With the passage of time and further advancements in additive manufacturing, companies began to emerge that were producing 3d printers with ever-decreasing costs and novel features. The result of this trend was that the 3d printers that would once easily cost $10,000 are now available for anywhere between $500 to $1000! This drastic decrease in price enabled a whole new consumer base to afford 3d printers and not only launch new businesses but also take 3d printing as a hobby!

Now when 3d printers of varying prices and capabilities are available to anyone around the globe, there’s a whole new list of possibilities as to what can be achieved with this technology. Firstly, 3d printing is actually really cool and fascinating. Who wouldn’t be fascinated at the sight of a complete 3d model coming into being of nowhere? Today, many designers produce trendy fashion items, jewelry and a host of interior design items just by conceiving an idea and 3d printing it in real-time! Entire businesses have sprung that produce 3d printed sports goods and toys. One can simply not imagine just the variety of toys, interior design and decoration items that can be created with this technology in your own room! That’s why it is said that 3d printing has completely transformed manufacturing i.e shifted it from mega industries to the apartment of every creative thinker.

The 3d printing phenomenon has also revolutionized the way industries operate and compete. Industries that are moving toward large scale adoption of 3d printing report that they have gained a significant competitive edge with shorter production runs and a reduced time to market. The R&D sector has also immensely benefited from the technique. Production, prototyping and proof of concept are some of the main areas where the R&D sector is benefitting from 3d printing. The utilities of this technique extend to the medical and health sector as well. Where medical schools had to purchase cadavers for the students in the past, now they can instantly 3d print body parts of interest and make them available for students. Furthermore, prosthetic limbs are also been manufactured at a low cost thus enabling more and more patients to afford them.

In short, innovators and engineers are working day and night to make 3d printing more mainstream by adding new features and materials that can be made use of. It is safe to assume that we are merely scratching the surface and the future with 3d printing holds endless possibilities.

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