Additive manufacturing,otherwise commonly known as 3D printing, has made great strides in the course of the last few years.
Today, 3D printing services are making waves across numerous business sectors. From healthcare to automotive, architecture to the food industry, 3D printing addresses numerous commercial challenges and paves the way for the discovery of unlocked opportunities.
The increased adoption of 3D printing services has greatly improved its accessibility. The rapid prototyping process and other applications found in additive manufacturing are resulting in:
- Faster production
- Better quality
- Customization freedom
- Less waste production
- Risk reduction
- Reduced turnaround times
The scope and scale of 3D printing technology are seemingly endless. What can be accomplished today with 3D technology is a far cry from what was available when 3D printing first evolved in the 1980s.
Below, we look at the most interesting applications available through 3D printing today.
1. Ancient artifacts
Artifacts are what scholars and historians use today to enable people to gain a glimpse into the lifestyles and customs of ancient civilizations. 3D printing is currently being leveraged by the Open Heritage Project to increase the accessibility to ancient history.
This project, helmed by Google Arts and Culture, is making use of innovative 3D printed materials to recreate rare artifacts ravaged by time. This project aims to raise awareness of unique ancient objects and landmarks now lost to society.
2. Human tissue and organs
As one of the earliest adopters of 3D printing, healthcare has seen the importance of 3D technology.But its application in hearing aids, personalized prosthetic, and dental implants is just the start. Implantable 3D-printed organs are the next frontier in 3D-integrated healthcare.
Bio printing and tissue engineering are enabling the medical field to reproduce tiny organs known as“organoids.” These organoids can then be used for repairing or replacing damaged organic human tissue or organs.
A recent report suggests that 3D-printed organs maybe commercially viable within the next five years.
The culinary experience has often been described as an art, but 3D printing technology is transforming this art form into a science. 3D food printing is a new culinary wave that revolutionizes how we cook, or rather, printour meals.
By printing with edible ingredients rather than plastic, specialized 3D printers can 3D-print edible dinners such as spaghetti, pizza, and chocolate. This disruptive innovation offers numerous benefits to the culinary world, such as making meat more sustainable and alleviating food shortages.
From rapid prototyping to 3D printed parts, 3D technology is changing the dynamic landscape of the automotive industry. But that is just the start of its contribution to the industry. A new wave of 3D printed cars is now here, and one such car may just find a home in your garage in the near future.
Many automotive giants,from Volkswagen to Porsche, are already experimenting with this innovative process. Smaller enterprises are also experimenting with 3D printed vehicles.
Take the LSEV, for example. Every visible component of this electric car, with the exception of the chassis, seats, and glass, is 3D printed. As a city cruiser, the LSEV has atop speed of 43 mph with a max range of 90 miles. The LSEV is expected to hit the market in late 2019.
Imagine being able to 3D-print your home from scratch. Sounds like a true science fiction story. In reality, 3D printed homes have been erected all across the globe. In places like Russia, the United States, and France, people are finding printable homes to be the future of home ownership.
3D printed homes represent a paradigm shift in the construction industry.
Printable homes are quicker and cheaper to make. They can also be constructed from eco-friendly materials. What’s more, 3D construction produces less waste than traditional construction, improving building sustainability practices.
3D printing is not just relegated to commercial applications. It can also become a fashion statement.
Many footwear manufacturers are turning to 3D technology to create custom, wearable printed shoes. ECCO, Adidas, and Nike are just some of the big names taking a giant leap forward in 3D printed shoe lines.
Recently, Nike athlete Eliud Kipchoge unveiled the first 3D-printed running shoes, complete with 3D-printed uppers, in the 2018 London Marathon. Eliud would end up winning the men’s race with his 3D-printed running shoes.
Personalized medicine is a growing area of treatment in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
Indeed, personalized medicine is quickly becoming the standard for healthcare. 3D-printed medication creates patient-specific pills that contain personalized doses and dissolve more quickly.
The ability top recisely produce medication specifically tailored to the needs of an individual patient will reduce the need for numerous drugs to address multiple health conditions. In the future, 3D printing is expected to manage all the required medication through one personalized tablet.
The future of manufacturing is 3D Printing
The list above is growing evidence that 3D printing is ready for its time in the spotlight.Advancements in the past 30 years have enabled 3D technology to become a commercially viable application in endless industries.
Only time will tell how 3D printing services will evolve in the next 30 years.
Pir Arkam is the Founder at Proto21 3D Printing LLC in the UAE. The company is dedicated to accelerating 3D printing and additive manufacturing adoption by providing rapid prototyping services with free consultation and delivering 3D printing training workshops. Proto21 has a solution for every phase of the product development cycle in all of the major industries