Why Is 3D Printing Useful? 7 Uses of 3D Printing
3D printing has grown from a novelty to something that has already started to change the world. As the technology improves and the cost of printers decreases, big business has started to take an interest. 3D printing is set to revolutionize the mass production processes of everything from toys to equipment for space exploration.
Do you know exactly why is 3D printing useful? Here are the seven uses of 3D printing:
1. 3D printing customisation
3D printing is extremely useful when it comes to customization. It used to be the case that we all needed to have the same generic mass produced products anytime a dye or mould was needed. This is no longer the case. It is possible to easily create a customized product to order at a fraction of the cost of what it used to before 3D printing was so commonplace.
Through the use of online software anyone can design a new phone case, jewelry, or gaming miniature to order. 3D printing is useful because it gives us the ability to purchase something unique, personalized and custom designed.
2. 3D printing speed
The increasing speeds of 3D printing has made this process more and more useful. In the past, 3D printers are often considered to be slow and cumbersome. The first few models certainly fitted this exact description.
The newer models can work a lot faster, but the real time saving comes from the ability to go from a design on a computer screen to a working prototype in a matter of hours. There is no longer the wait to manufacture the dyes needed to cast the design or a sculptor to work on the prototype. Once the design has been created production can begin almost right away.
The ease at which this can be done has another benefit as well. Prototypes are no longer laborious and expensive to make. You can have a number of them created for a group presentation and even send the design to another 3D printer on the other side of the planet electronically to be produced elsewhere.
3. Uses of 3D printing in science
Nowadays, it is possible for 3D modelling to take scans of microscopic compounds and bacteria and scale them up into larger 3D printed models. This can allow for a new level of study and also be used as an education tool.
The use of 3D printing has also been popular with when it comes to surgical applications. The ability for doctors to then have a model of a tumour that needs to be removed from inside a patient’s brain can allow for a much greater understanding of the size and angle of approach that they need to take. This has the power to be used across the whole medical field and has the potential to save many lives.
There is also the potential to 3D print replacement body parts and organs from organic material. This would transform the healthcare industry and eliminate all waitlists for organ transplants.
4. Uses of 3D printing in the food industry
This has the potential to be controversial topic. 3D printing of foods can be a strange concept but it poses some interesting questions about the future of the agricultural industry.
Everything from pizza to astronaut food is being 3D printed and there seems to be no limit to how this technology could be applied to food manufacturing in the future. Another side benefit to this is that you would be able to control what ingredients are used and measure the calorie content exactly.
5. 3D printed tools and parts
When working in remote areas of the planet it can often be frustrating to learn that an essential piece of equipment needs to be shut down for a period of time until a replacement part can be shipped. For astronauts the possibility of a shipment of a part could be implausible, expensive and potentially impossible.
How can 3D printing prove to be useful? Instead of packing dozens of spare parts to cater for every possible eventuality, a 3D printer can simply call up the designs and print any part that you need. It would also be possible for a design team to create an upgraded version that could be installed by the crew on location.
6. 3D printed shoes
Imagine that you could have a shoe that fits perfectly to every contour of your foot. With the use of 3D printing, you can now have a scan of your foot turned into the perfect shoe. You would also be able to add any customization that you would want.
Aside from comfort and aesthetics, there is a practical reason for this. Orthopedic shoes could be printed to order and give even better results than generic models.
7. 3D printed gifts
Novelty gifts are all the rage, with custom artwork and children’s storybooks being popular examples. You can now have your own head 3D printed onto a bobblehead or other toy. Not only is this a lot of fun, but it can also be a really memorable gift.