What is 3D Printing?

3D Printing

Today, 3D printing is exploding around the world and being used in a wide variety of applications. For people and businesses, creating 3D models represents a breakthrough in manufacturing, allowing for prototypes to be quickly developed to demonstrate the potential of new parts and devices that may have immense commercial potential.
For the consumer, 3D printing represents a new way to create objects simply and quickly for a wide variety of purposes. From the artist creating a 3D physical representation of an object to children making a new toy, the possibilities of 3D printing seem endless.
However, one of the more interesting aspects about this form of printing is just how long it has been around before being “discovered” by most people just a few years ago.


What is 3D Printing?

Essentially, 3D or three dimensional printing is the process of creating a three-dimensional object of any shape from a mold in a digital format. Using an “additive” process, 3D printing uses successive layers of materials that are placed down in order and using different shapes. This form of printing is not like traditional machining techniques which rely on using additional methods to shape or remove some of the material, such as by drilling or cutting for example.

The History of 3D Printing

The first 3D printer was created by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Inc. back in 1984. Over the next fifteen years, the 3D printer was used only for industrial purposes because of the size and expense of the machine itself. However, by the turn of the 21st century new technology allowed the 3D printer to shrink in size and use less expensive materials which opened the door for public use.
By 2010, 3D printers had exploded across the consumer marker and are now used in far greater capacities than ever before. Before, creating 3D models from the printer was only helpful in certain applications. Today, 3D printing has expanded to new frontiers in manufacturing, science, medicine and many other fields.

The Potential of 3D Printing

The number of businesses and industries that benefit from 3D printing and the creation of 3D models are simply breathtaking. We see reports in the news on how 3D printing is changing people’s lives, but the sheer scope and potential has yet to be fully realized.
Medicine: Currently, 3D printing is seen as a way to potentially create human tissue replacement from the old cells of the body, representing a real breakthrough in how people could have skin and organs replaced. Such advances include the dental, biotech and medicines as well.
Industrial: Creating 3D models can be used for prototypes and even manufacturing depending on what the product will be. Construction, automotive, aerospace and other industries benefit greatly as well.
Manufacturing: Already, prototypes are being created using 3D printing to make all sorts of items for fashion, eyewear, education, culinary, footwear and more. The possibilities are simply endless.
Despite the number of uses that 3D printing has now, we have only scratched the surface when it comes to the possibilities of this device. 3D models can become a way of life in the future, having many products created right in our own home. There is little doubt that this represents one of the biggest breakthrough in recent years when it comes to all types of industries.