Have you ever seen how something was printed in 3D? No? That is something you do not need to be ashamed of, because this may still happen.
Nevertheless, it is clear that 3D printers are the future. The topic of 3D printing is constantly addressed in conferences and there are many areas where 3D printing is becoming more important each day. More and more people have access to 3D printers, thanks to DIY clubs and Maker Spaces such as Wevolver in Amsterdam and because of many service centers, which make it possible to print 3D in your own neighborhood. The assortment of 3D printing materials such as wax, plastic, bronze, silver, and gold offer something for everyone in every price range.
Still, newbies always have the same question: What exactly is 3D printing? Conventional printers write on plain paper with ink or toner. In 3D printing, spatial objects are created. Instead of ink, 3D printers use plastic cords that are melted during the printing process and by that they build new things piece by piece. The other question is: How much does it cost? 3D printers are now available on Amazon for around €600. Nevertheless, higher-quality equipment can also cost more than €2000. The needed plastic filling can cost between €30 and €40 (other materials have a different price range). 3D printers are nowadays used in almost all areas. The different categories include robotics, architecture, design, automotive and fashion. Dita von Teese, for example, was one of the first persons that wore a 3D printed dress.
3D print ensures that we reduce our carbon footprint. If in the future it is possible for all of us to print our own things, it is possible to save the cost of production in factories and the long transport distances all around the globe. Another interesting 3D printing sector is food. 3D printers such as Candy run campaigns on Kickstarter and are financed by tons of people.
The different printers focus on specific food areas such as chocolate, cake, and many more. Nevertheless, the 3D print also has downsides: the devices can also produce dangerous objects – for example weapons. Tinkerers have been created a working gun using a 3D printer!
Despite all of those aspects, one thing is certain: 3D printing is the future. In recent years, the number of 3D printers has risen from a few hundred to a few thousand – and the number is growing. Although 3D printing is not affordable and accessible for everyone at the moment, it will be in future. Just think of home computers in the 1980s. At that time hardly anyone had a computer and in 2014 you are definitely an outsider if you do not own at least one laptop.
Picture 1 retrieved from www.giantfreakinrobot.com, Picture 2 retrieved from www.3dprint.com