Before the year 1440 it was impossible for anyone to imagine that it would be possible to duplicate a page of a book in a matter of seconds but then the first printing press appeared and changed the world forever. From that day on, the very notion of printing things became somewhat of a focus of the modern society and it became a branch of technology that is under constant development.
Today, we live in a world in which every single person has an opportunity to own his or hers own printer, and thus achieve in a matter of seconds, something that was only possible to the wealthiest Renaissance cities centuries ago. Still, the future of printing, or even the notion of printing is not just in the increased practicality, today it has gained a completely new dimension, a “third dimension”.
What is 3D printing?
The answer to this is quite simple. 3D printing or as some call it additive manufacturing is a process of creating a 3D object. Under the coordination by a specific computer, layer after layer is applied in order to make an object of a desired shape. The greatest advantage of 3D printing is the fact that it saves an enormous amount of time as well as the fact that there are no restrictions when it comes to shapes (even some of the most complex geometrical shapes can easily be created). Still, 3D printing is not a uniformed process, since there are various methods through which this can be achieved.
Material jetting or Vat photopolymerisation
For example, one of these methods is material jetting and the reason why we decided to put this as first on our list is because this process is quite similar to the traditional notion of printing. Like in paper printing material is usually applied in tiny droplets through a diameter nozzle. Later on however, through the constant addition of layer-by-layer the intended platform is built. All of this is later hardened by the use of UV light.
Another method is Vat photopolymerisation, which is probably even simpler and more popular than the aforementioned material jetting. The process of 3D printing based on Vat photopolymerisation consists of the machine (3D printer) that has a container filled with photopolymer resin. As in the previous method, the end product is later hardened with the use of 3D light. Still, regardless of method in use, the advantages that the notion of 3D printing brings are indeed great and numerous.
3D printed prosthetics
Because of the incredible precision that 3D printing offers, there has recently come to a significant breakthrough in the fields of prosthetics and implants development. As we already mentioned, this incredible precision allows the prosthetic or implant to precisely match the body-type and size of the patient, achieving a much more favorable result. Regardless of how incredible it may sound to some, there are even some theories that in the near future it will be quite possible to even 3D print fully functional organs.
Another thing that is invaluable to the modern society is the way in which the notion of 3D printing can affect the global industry. As we have already seen so many times, there are no limitations to human creativity and inventiveness, of late we also have the adequate designer tools to express them. All that we lacked were the tools to make these ideas into reality and it is possible that with the existence of 3D prints we finally have even this. Any idea made by a designer (regardless of his or hers line of work) can now be made multiple times faster and this time much more precisely.
As all other useful inventions, the notion of 3D printing came to be not out of boredom or idleness but out of pure necessity. Today with its existence, it has opened many doors we never before knew even existed, and it has a potential to satisfy some of our cravings that we never even realized we had. Future is already here and it is strongly foreshadowed by arrival of the idea of 3D printing.