3D printing has been around for decades, better known as additive manufacturing like building an object layer by layer. The new thing is that now 3D printing has reached consumer-friendly price points and footprints, new materials and techniques are making new things possible, and the Internet is tying it all together.
Technology has developed to the point where we are rethinking industry. The next industrial revolution is opening up manufacturing to the whole world and where everyone can participate in the process. This democratization idea will not be much different than the journey computers had like from a few, big, centralized mainframes to something we now hold in our hands. Desktop 3D printing manufacturing technology can be done at home, the office, a hospital or a school, bringing manufacturing to non-manufacturers the way PCs brought computing to non-traditional environments. Further, any time there are new products and new properties, that changes the way business operates. If you apply every stage in the supply chain to this new world of 3D printing, the processes are going to change across the board.
While many people only now are hearing about the technology, engineers and designers have been using large and expensive 3D printers for nearly three decades, making rapid prototypes of parts for aerospace, defense and automotive companies. Over the years, however, digital design software has matured, scanners have become ubiquitous and affordable desktop printers have come within reach of self-starting entrepreneurs, schools and home tinkerers. Technologists boisterously proclaim that 3D printing will democratize design and free us from the hegemony of mass manufacturing.
3D printing, long used for rapid prototyping, is being applied in a number of industries today, including aerospace and defense, automotive and healthcare. As accuracy has improved and the size of printed objects has increased, 3D printing services are being used to create such things as topographical models, lighter airplane parts, aerodynamic car bodies and custom prosthetic devices. In the future, it may be possible for the military to print replacement parts right on the battlefield instead of having to rely on limited spares and supply chains.
The real process works in mainly this given process. The process begins when users load their digital design into the Cube, whose software helps them scale their model up or down and automatically adds support structures if they are needed. Supports are made of the same plastic as the machine prints, and they pop off. Then the Cube slices the digital object into microns-thick horizontal layers, creating a blueprint that the print head will follow, moving on x and y axes.
Though 3D has been there for some time now and has been used successfully by some industries such as medical, animation and film industry. The 3D printing technology will take it forward and make for commercially viable and also help people experience the artistic and also aesthetic part of the process.
So, when are you buying your own 3D printer?