3D Printing Ideas That You Can Try Out Today
It’s no secret that 3D printing is poised to take the world by storm in the not-so-distant future. The technological progress achieved in just a few short years gives hope that one day the entire manufacturing industry will be revolutionised, turning every willing person into a designer and unleashing the creativity of the world at large. While we’re not quite there yet, the list of things that can already be brought to life is astounding.
But what exactly is 3D printing and how does it work? The first 3D printer was developed in the early 1990s at MIT, who continue to be at the forefront of the 3D printing revolution today. Using an additive manufacturing technology, 3D printing allows for the creation of 3-dimensional objects from a standard Computer Aided Design file, or CAD for short. Different types of plastic are used as raw materials to be melted and turned into solid objects through successive layering. While not long ago 3D printing was restricted to development labs and big companies, now small businesses and even individual users can get in on the fun. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few 3D printing ideas that are sure to make a splash in the years to come:
1. Bringing apps to life
Nowadays almost everyone has spent time perusing the myriad applications available for smartphones, tablets and laptops. What 3D printing can do is take the colorful characters from such apps and videogames and bring them into real life. Everything from dolls to action figures can be created with relative ease through intuitive and easy-to-use software programs. You can even opt to make an action figure of yourself, through the use of a 3D scanner that can capture an individual’s unique look and turn it into a fun figurine.
2. Designing automobiles
On the more serious side, even something as big as an automobile can be successfully built in this day and age using solely 3D printing methods. While big time car manufacturers have only dipped their toes in the water so far, a small American company named Locals Motors already has a fully functional car out. Called the Strati, this roadster is the world’s first 3D-printed car. With a sturdy frame and an eye-catching design, this prototype is indicative of the marvels that are soon to come.
3. Tools for sprucing up the office
It’s important to note that 3D printing isn’t just for large-scale projects. Indeed, there are plenty of ways to use 3D printers to design objects that can significantly improve the atmosphere and efficiency of a simple office setting. Everything from wall mounted cable keepers to modular desk organisers to snazzy lamps can be designed and created this way. Aside from fostering independence and encouraging self-sustainability, such products are also very easy to customise, allowing users to tinker with them until they fulfill their goals.
4. Jets, robots and beyond
While it may seem inconceivable to people unfamiliar with the technology, 3D printing has evolved in leaps and bounds ever since its conception just a few short decades ago. Already there have been several instances where the technology has proven sufficient for designing highly complex items that in the past would have required the use of industrial machinery. For instance, GE Aviation has successfully managed to created 3D-printed parts for its aircraft engine platform, which are lighter and more durable than what would’ve been achievable through conventional manufacturing. And MIT has recently unveiled the first line of hydraulically-powered robot bodies that require no assembly and use solid and liquid materials at the same time. With further developments on the horizon, it is only a matter of time before commercially-available 3D printers will be able to generate robots in a single step.
As you can see, the time of 3D printing is already upon us. The degree to which this technology is going to change our lives is as of yet hard to predict, but it will undoubtedly be one of the defining technological revolutions of this era. Embracing change may not always be the easiest thing to do, but 3D printing promises to improve and enrich life as we know it, which is why it deserves our full support and attention. Because when it comes to 3D printing, the sky’s the limit.