3D printing is revolutionizing the world, and will be a major turning point in the history of humanity. 3D printing is to manufacturing what the computer was to written language.
The world’s first 3D printer was invented by Charles Hull in 1984. He was the founder and former president of 3D Systems Corporation. His invention involved a “stereolithography apparatus” along with a computer to control it. The first object ever created using this technology was a cube that measured just over one inch on each side.
Truly, this technology has come a long way in just about thirty years! For example, China has become one of the leading countries when it comes to 3D printing. In fact, China’s largest company for producing everything from mobile phones to cars uses 3D printers for many of its parts. Additionally, Chinese companies are now designing and creating their own unique 3D-printed products and services.
In fact, IKEA even collaborated with Chinese companies in order to print out furniture designs using 3D printers! This method makes it possible for people to customize certain furniture that they want using their own designs or drawings. It also saves a lot of money when it comes to producing these objects because it eliminates the costs of shipping them from one place
3d-printing is the latest in a long line of creative destruction, which is to say it will replace some jobs, but also create many new ones.
3D printing is at an inflection point: the technology is rapidly improving and the cost of printers has decreased significantly. So have the materials that can be used to print with; in fact, there are a wide range of printers that use a variety of materials.
The Economist magazine states that “Over the past few years several companies have emerged to take advantage of this new market and are introducing innovative business models to provide you with a 3D printing experience unlike anything you’ve seen before.”
These companies allow people to buy digital designs online and use their own printers to print out objects at home and even in their offices. This means that within a few years everyone will have access to their own personal manufacturing plant.
In addition, eBay now allows people to sell finished items they have printed out on their home machines or other local printers through its website. This means that even though you might not be able to find someone who can print your design for you, you may be able to buy one that is almost identical.
All these developments mean that when it comes to 3D printing, we are only just
3D printing is a method of manufacturing objects from 3 dimensional digital models. The first 3D printers were developed by American companies in the 1980s, but the technology was only used for rapid prototyping in design and engineering applications. The range of materials that can be printed is extensive, including metals and plastics.
As the price of these printers has fallen, their popularity has risen. Now households and small businesses are buying them to create everything from jewellery to toys and food. And social entrepreneurs are using them to print medical supplies in developing countries.
A US company, MakerBot, produces a desktop 3D printer for around £1,000. These printers have been sold worldwide at prices as low as £300. They’re not just liberating people from their dependence on large companies, they’re making us ask fundamental questions about our relationship to stuff and what it means to have a physical object in our lives.
In the 1980s, if you wanted a computer that was not being used for some other purpose, you had to build it yourself. If you wanted to print something, you had to use a fax machine. A small minority of people used e-mail, and no one except the U.S. government used the Internet—and then mostly just to transfer text files back and forth.
The revolution in 3D printing is much more than just another technology story: it’s a story about how the world has changed since then. 3D printing is part of what makes today’s world so different from the world of thirty years ago.
The basic idea behind 3D printing is simple enough: instead of making an object by cutting away material—as with a milling machine or a lathe—you construct it by building up material layer by layer, like a child making a sand castle on the beach. The first time I saw it done was in 1984 at MIT’s Lab for Computer Science by Charles Hull, who was working on his PhD thesis: “Three-dimensional printing of solids,” he called it, but it would come to be known as additive manufacturing. He had designed a computer model of a part he wanted to make, and then built that model out
The digital revolution has already had a huge impact on our daily lives. With the emergence of 3D printing, it’s only going to get bigger.
First of all, a bit of history. The ability to make three-dimensional objects has been around for decades. In the 1980s, industrial designers and architects began using 3D printers to create models of their designs. These objects were crude by today’s standards, but they were able to create shapes that traditional manufacturing would have difficulty with. For example, famous designer Karim Rashid has used 3D printing technology to build chairs with complex shapes that would be impossible to build by conventional methods.
Thingiverse is a website dedicated to sharing 3D print files that can be downloaded and printed at home or in a local library. It was founded in 2008 by then-teenage student Bre Pettis with his school-teacher wife Jennifer. At first it contained only a few dozen free designs, but it now contains thousands of diverse items created by users from around the world, including toys, tools, household goods and even musical instruments. Items have been downloaded over three million times since Thingiverse was created; one of them was even launched into space on board the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft (although it didn’t print correctly in zero gravity).
The internet is full of stories about people who have used 3D printing technology to create unique innovations unavailable through conventional means. These are just
3D printing is in its infancy, but it already has a growing number of uses. It has become a popular way to produce prototypes, models and small-run items for businesses and hobbyists. The technology is also being used to make prosthetic limbs for amputees and other medical appliances. And companies are using the printers to create everything from jewelry to clothing to furniture.
Once 3D printers can output materials that are stronger than plastics, or allow the user to change colors without printing a whole new object, they will be used more widely. The technology’s greatest potential may come in the developing world. Tiny machines could allow people to make things on demand, instead of having to rely on imports made far away. And because designs can be shared online, 3D printers could help spread innovation across borders faster than ever before.