In a competitive market, there is a period after anything popular is developed when a variety of businesses work in reaction to one another engineering increasingly effective iterations of a given innovation. The Windows/Apple rivalry is a great example of this. It has dominated Silicon Valley since personal computers attained widespread public use.
The automotive industry has similarly competitive lines of vehicles. Dodge, Ford, and Chevy are often compared against one another. Well, as you may have noticed, as time goes by, such industries become more refined, and the quality of their products increases exponentially. The first cars hardly went twenty miles an hour, and the first computers were the size of a bus.
Now there are vehicles that can hit 200 MPH or more, and you can fit a computer with greater processing power than all of NASA during the first manned space missions in your pocket—they call this computer a smartphone. When it comes to 3D printing technology, it should be no surprise that we’re witnessing the same phenomenon.
An Expanded Perspective
3D printing technically began in the early eighties, and has two families: additive and subtractive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is the addition of materials into a form defined by computer directives beforehand. Subtractive manufacturing removes matter using cutting implements like lasers.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and are more or less suited to certain tasks. That said, manufacturing of the additive variety has a high level of popularity owing to its efficiency and swift delivery. Prototypes can be commissioned and received in fifteen days’ time. Also, refined parts and moving components can be better assembled this way.
What this essentially means in the long-term is that 3D printing is going to dominate the labor industry—specifically in terms of manufacture. As this technology reaches levels of refinement which diminish the cost of production, it will come to replace human workers that design things by hand.
Some feel this is a negative development, but what they don’t realize is it really constitutes a shift. Instead of building things on an assembly line, people will now be involved in facilitating the smooth operation of machines which do the work more efficiently and quickly. This shift has been underway for decades, and 3D printing is simply a reflection of this expediting trend.
Looking Toward the Future
Unless some world-shaking event totally knocks the 3D printing train from its tracks, this method of developing prototypes and mass production will continue to refine until it hits its zenith, and makes possible increasingly ambitious technology development. Investment in 3D printing tech is likely wise, provided you go with the right company.
If you’re in manufacturing or development of new innovations, working with agencies that provide 3D printing services can seriously reduce associated R&D costs. Designing and producing something internally can take months. Today 3D-printed firearms have become more popular because all that is necessary are the right materials and the blueprint.
Doing so manually, as many third-world country laborers do for underhanded gun-running groups, takes much longer and is much more costly. Now, this is with known gun designs. So, something else to consider is that 3D printing will be a dominant force even outside professional manufacturing markets.
It has additionally jumped into the private sector on both sides of the “legitimacy” fence. Many startups and small businesses have discovered profound uses for 3D printing machines. If you’re in a position to develop anything that may require specific parts or an entirely new prototype, refraining from the exploration of 3D printing solutions is likely to reduce your competitive ability among peers in the marketplace.
Additive manufacturing is one of the most efficient means of 3D printing, and it becomes continuously refined. Publication will no longer be constrained to text and pictorial productions; a new dimension has been added to the term. As plastic injection molding materials are refined, more and more development “fat” is excised from the “meat” of production; making it eminently worth the while of any savvy developer to seek those offering such services.
3D printing is very helpful when it comes to building a prototype of your product as it makes this process very easy and cost-effective. This means you can determine how well the product will sell before you actually have to invest your capital. The prototypes have only some properties of the finished product, not all of them. What prototyping with 3D printing technology provides is the possibility for you to test your product and find possible flaws in the material or design before the production stage starts.
The reality is that the 3D industry is fundamentally centered around 3D printing tech. This transformation has already defined this industry, and it continues to develop with exceptional rapidity. Gordon Moore discovered a pattern in tech development that indicated doubling of computational ability at intervals of about 18 months.
Now that such computation can be applied to 3D development, it is to be expected that this trend will be tangible in a physical sense. It would not be without the bounds of possibility that in 18 years’ time, 3D tech will have reached a point of refinement that even transforms mass construction.
In China, they’re already using such tech to print buildings. Whether or not you have such expansive designs for 3D printing throughout your company, it makes sense to explore this innovation. In the near future, all manufacturing and development may be centered around 3D printing.