Despite being first developed in the mid-1980s, the 3D printing industry has really picked up pace over recent years with more uses developed and benefits discovered as time progresses. While the technology is still being integrated into various industries, there are a growing number of reasons to get excited about 3D modeling and 3D printing.
Here are five reasons we’re pumped up about the rise and rise of 3D printers:
Prosthetic Body Parts
One of the highlights of 2013’s London 3D Printshow was the prosthetic body parts printed by Fripp Design & Research. The company has developed the technology to engineer replacement body parts, victims of accidents, injury and illness may have lost. These body parts have both aesthetic and functional benefits.
Earlier this year, a patient in Southampton General Hospital was the recipient of a 3D-printed replacement hip. The patient’s hip was crushed in an accident 37 years ago, demonstrating the benefit of the growing industry. Printed to the precise measurements of the patient’s lost hip; the replacement was the first of its kind as the hospital planned five more in the wake of its success.
NASA took to the SXSW Eco in Texas last year to debut their pizza-making 3D printer. The space agency is currently investing a lot of money, research and development into the 3D printing industry, understanding the technology could revolutionise how they stock space stations and settlements with important tools and resources. This technology would also facilitate the pizza party we presume will be organised to celebrate a human landing on Mars for the first time.
Students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a 3D printer capable of producing frozen ice cream, ready to eat.
The fashion world is slowly being infiltrated by 3D printing with Shapeways developing printed wings for Victoria’s Secret models to wear on the runway. Although the more individualistic pieces of clothing favoured by the higher end of the fashion world may not be best suited to the 3D printing process, the technology could help lower the costs of producing clothing en masse.
Furthermore, developing clothing suited to a person’s body size and type may be plausible without the need of a personal tailor – helping those who find standard sizes in the shops unsuitable for their needs.
Smaller 3D printer units are being developed for use within the home with a wide range of functions. From printing simple household items such as extra plates for a picnic to replacement screws for a broken chair – the 3D printer could help remove the necessity to rush out for emergency pieces.
Printerland have started stocking smaller 3D printers for home users with simplistic user functionality and a wide range of operations.
The growth of the 3D printing industry could help remove one of the most excruciating of social situations – pretending to know what you’re looking at when an expecting mother shows you an ultrasound of their unborn child. A 3D printer will allow the excited parents to print out a life-size model of their developing child to show friends and family, rather than imploring them to squint at a small bean-shaped blob on a black and white print.
Japanese 3D printing company Fasotec has already started offering this service to expectant parents – giving them a 3D look at their unborn child.